How does Shakespeare Portray conflict in Romeo and Juliet?
Conflict is the colliding between two or more things that do not agree with each other. There can be conflict between different things such as, physical conflict which is the most obvious. A less obvious example is the conflict William Shakespeare portrays in his play Romeo and Juliet. He uses conflict in so much detail that one would only have to look at the play; the length of the lines would stand out. Shakespeare shows Romeos emotions before and after meeting Juliet.
Before Romeo meets Juliet he thinks he is in love, yet he is actually depressed. When Romeos friends try to raise his spirits by trying to get him to go to the Capulet party, he complains that he is, Under loves heavy burden. The metaphor of love being a heavy burden is ironic because love should not feel so negative. This reveals how clueless Romeo is about love. It shows that he has little experience with relationships and it is lust making him feel this way. Physically, heavy burden could also show the audience how exposed and venerable his feelings actually are.
On the other hand, when Romeo has met Juliet he begins to talk in religious metaphors rather than only talking about sorrow and regret. Here Romeo refers to his lips as, My lips, two blushing pilgrims ready stand. This is still a physical reference although; he uses religious terms to describe his lips. This gives them a heavenly quality, almost like they dont belong on Earth. As he describes his lips as pilgrims shows that they are on a journey, this could be seen as a joke. The fact that Romeo is making an effort to be cheerful, shows that he is happier and was in love rather than in lust.
Another example of conflict is between Princes language in act 1.1 compared to act 3.1. Prince uses direct and forceful language, he is enraged and annoyed, If you ever disturb the streets again, your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace. We know that Prince is angry as he is telling the quarrellers orders, he is trying to enforce the rules to make sure they will not do it again. The imperative verb pay is forceful and an instruction, again he is trying to show that he is the boss and he can make one do anything he would like them to. Although, Prince is serious about his punishment the word peace portrays that Prince also has a merciful side. It portrays that he is trying to do what is best for his kingdom.
However in Act 3.1, Prince tends to use much more questions and seems puzzled and confused. Who now the price of his dear blood doth owe? Prince is angry as they had gone against his orders, he seems more powerless and gives less orders. He asks questions almost as if he is confused and doesnt know where he is. However, as he is asking direct questions which show that he still has authority. He is also making threats which show that he is angry and upset. In a post modern view we would think that the fact that he is threatening to kill someone is extreme where as in the Elizabethan era it would be much more common for sentences of death.
This contrasts with Capulet; in this scene he doesnt say anything. This portrays that he is grieving over his nephews death and has nothing to say. Capulet was so shocked that he could have been dumbstruck, meaning he couldnt say anything as he was lost for words. Then again, he may have been deep in thought trying to piece together the conflict between Romeo and Tybalt.
In Act 1.1 Capulet seemed lively and excited but with the death of Tybalt he does not say anything. He seems solemn and confused. Give me my long sword ho! Shakespeare uses explanation mark which shows that he is excited and ready to go. The word ho also emphasises the fact that he is eager to fight. He also uses the word long before sword, this could show that he is quite boastful and likes to show off.
Overall, I believe Shakespeare uses language throughout the play with all of the characters. With Romeo I have recognised that he is a very emotional person. He is not afraid to express his feelings. He also does not realise this yet the audience does, there is a lot of dramatic irony. Prince is a different character altogether, his emotions are not as direct and as straight forward as Romeos. We have to look at the way the text is written and the language that is used. We can tell that Prince is not as excited or as happy in both scenes is because he gives fewer directions and has less authority. Shakespeare uses it in a both original and imaginative way. Sometimes the conflicts are obvious and sometimes one has to look in between the lines. Shakespeare always has a form of conflict in one way or another whether it is between language, mood, man or more.