The Theme of Death in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

Works of literary merit usually have different themes, and Romeo and Juliet is one of them. Romeo and Juliet is still the most tragic love story to ever be written. How death hurts society in the story Romeo and Juliet is the most important theme because of the tension between the two families ends up being the ultimate downfall. In the story Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet truly loved each other, but they could have avoided a tragic death if their parents would not have been fighting with each other. Romeo and Juliet could have avoided this disaster if their families would have gotten along with each other. William Shakespeare develops the theme of death in Romeo and Juliet by using characterization, and even the settings.

Throughout the whole play William Shakespeare uses several questions about life, and the biggest one would have to be how death hurts society. After Romeo and Juliet meet, Romeo goes to Juliet’s balcony to confess his love for her and how they should get married despite the feud between their two families. This happens in act 2, scene 2. Romeo and Juliet know that they cannot be seen in public because it will affect the feud between their families, and the city of Verona. This is when Friar Lawrence comes to secretly marry Romeo and his love Juliet without their families knowing, and without causing a bigger feud between the families. At the end of the play, Romeo and Juliet decide to commit suicide. They know that their families will not let them be together. Romeo and Juliet did this to show that their love was so strong, that they would rather be dead than alive with a family feud that would not let them be together. Romeo and Juliet’s parents are devastated to find their children dead. This tragedy leads to the end of the family feud because the Capulets and Montagues realized that the fighting between them led to the death of their children, and that it was not necessary for them to keep fighting over things that were ignorant. In this story, Romeo and Juliet, it seems as if Shakespeare was trying to express the views for an audience that had a family feud during this time period, and he was trying to prove that it wasn’t necessary to have a feud because tomorrow that person might be gone.

A recurring theme in the work of Romeo and Juliet is the theme of death. Through the whole play of Romeo and Juliet, there are a total of six deaths including Romeo’s mother. Throughout the whole play, Shakespeare uses the theme of death to keep the play moving along. Shakespeare also uses this theme at the end of the play when Romeo sees Juliet laying in a coffin, and she appears to be dead. Romeo then kills himself, then Juliet wakes up and kills herself because she sees Romeo dead beside her. William Shakespeare uses the theme of death to cause a problem between the two lovers and to show their families how much Romeo and Juliet truly love each other.

Characterization is another way that Shakespeare uses to convey the theme about death of the play in Romeo and Juliet to help label details about different characters or scenes throughout the play. Romeo and Juliet are the two most important characters throughout the entire book. Romeo is the son of Lord Montague and Lady Montague, and the people of the cities of Verona think of Romeo as very immature. Romeo and his family are part of a violent feud with with the Capulets, but Romeo does not want to be involved with the violence between the two families. Juliet happens to be a Capulet, she is the daughter of Capulet and Lady Capulet. Juliet is a thirteen year old girl who comes from a nobel family, and she does not yet understand the way of her family. Juliet believes that the feud between her parents and the montagues is pointless and wants no part of it. Friar Lawrence is also someone who is big character in the book. Friar Lawrence is a good friend of Romeo, and he supports the two lovers and plan to secretly marry them thinking it will bring peace to Verona, and end the feud between the two families. Shakespeare needs an authoritative character to settle the family feud so he uses Friar Lawrence.

Another literary element that Shakespeare uses to convey the theme about death is the different settings that he uses all the way through the play. The play starts out with the setting set in the streets of Verona during the 1,300, where a fight breaks out between the Capulets and the Montagues. This setting shows how the families fighting is leading to death in the society because they are in the streets with weapons and bloodstained hands. Another setting in the play is when Juliet is not around romeo she is usually at home. Another is where Romeo is, and he is usually with his friends outside. This is just one of the many things that show how Romeo and Juliet’s lives are completely different from each others. When Romeo and Juliet begin talking to each other Romeo is outside and Juliet is inside. Romeo and Juliet talking to each other is what eventually leads them to their deaths. The setting of where Romeo and Juliet died and was found dead by their families was at the graveyard. Several things happen in this setting, and Romeo and Juliet were not the only two that died in the scenes at the graveyard. This all happens in act 5, scene 3.

The question addressed by Romeo and Juliet can be relevant to what I have experienced in my life. The theme of how death hurts society is something that I’ve had to deal with before in my life. Especially someone my age, I’ve had to be a friend to someone whose loved one has committed suicide. I have seen if someone passes away how it affects people that were close to them. Like Romeo and Juliet’s family was devastated when they found out that their children had committed suicide because of their families would not let them be together. Teenagesr believe that their first real boyfriend or girlfriend truly loved them, and when they break up they think it is going to be the end of the world, and they don’t know how to handle it just like Romeo and Juliet. In today’s world there are several things that show and say things about people committing suicide for example music, television shows, and even books. There hundreds of songs that have to do with suicide and some songs are titled with the suicide prevention number. There are also a number of television shows that have to do with suicide like Thirteen Reasons Why being one of them. A book about suicide is No Time to Say Goodbye by Carla Fine.

William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, was not just for show, it had a deeper meaning than that. The story showed that death was not only hurting themselves and their family, but they were also hurting the people of Verona. Shakespeare proves the theme of death throughout the entire play by using characterization, and the several different settings. Shakespeare concludes this story by having Romeo and Juliet kill themselves. They did this to show that their love was so strong, that they will rather be dead than alive with a family feud that will not let them be together. This work most definitely contains literary merit. This play can be analyzed even deeper, and can also be broken down into literary elements. Which is something a work needs to be considered a literary merit. There are so many different themes that someone could have chose from Romeo and Juliet, because the play has several different literary elements. The play has several lessons that almost every young adult going through a death of someone they were close to or even a breakup can relate to.

Work Cited

Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet. Barron’s, 1985, pp. 6-280.

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