Romeo and Juliet: Conflict in Act 1 Scene 1

317 Words2 Pages
In an opening full of stirring action that is sure to capture the audience’s attention and designed partly for that purpose, Shakespeare provides all the background information needed to understand the play . In the brawl, he portrays all of the characteristics of the Capulets and Montagues. He further provides excellent characterization of Benvolio as thoughtful and fearful of the law. Tybalt as a hothead, and Romeo as distracted and lovelorn. While showing the deep and long-standing hatred between the Montagues and Capulets. At the same time, Shakespeare provides some of the major themes of the play. The opening of Romeo and Juliet is a mixture of economy, descriptive power, and excitement. The first brawl, introduces the important theme of masculine honor.In Verona, a man must defend his honor whenever it is transgressed against, whether verbally or physically. This concept of masculine honor exists through every layer of society in Verona, from the servants on up to the noblemen. It animates Samson and Gregory as much as it does Tybalt. It is significant that the fight between the Montagues and Capulets erupts first among the servants. Readers of the play generally focus on the two great noble families, as they should. But do not overlook Shakespeare’s inclusion of servants in the story: the perspectives of servants in Romeo and Juliet are often used to comment on the actions of their masters, and therefore, society. The things servants say often change the way we can look at the play, showing that while the Montagues and Capulets are gloriously tragic, they are also supremely privileged and stupid, since only the stupid would bring death upon themselves when there is no need for it. The everyday cares of the lower classes display the difficulty of their lives; a difficulty that the Capulets and Montagues would not have to face were they not so blinded by
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