Examine the way Shakespeare presents conflict in act 3, scene 1 of “Romeo and Juliet”. In your response make references to other parts of the play.
not”. Mercutio uses a pun to what Benvolio said, “By my head, here comes the Capulets”. Whereas Tybalt in this scene is very tolerant of Mercutio as his extreme dislike is only towards Romeo. There is conflict through language between Mercutio and Tybalt and when Tybalt states, “thou consort’st with Romeo”, Mercutio deliberately misunderstands his meaning of the verb consort to the noun consort. ”Consort! What, dost thou make us minstrels? …hear nothing his wedding with Juliet in 2:6. “No better term than this – thou art a villain”. Tybalt addresses Romeo as a ‘villain’ meaning peasant which is a great insult to a man of noble birth like Romeo. But Romeo refuses to get angered by Tybalt’s verbal attack because of his .
Mercutio, who is aggravated by Romeo’s responses, imagines Romeo as a coward. “O calm, dishonourable, vile submission!” Shakespeare implies the adjective ‘vile’ to expose how despicable it is considered by Mercutio of Romeo not fighting back for himself. Mercutio wants to fight Tybalt and he corroborates to Mercutio’s invitation by saying, “I am for you”. Romeo and Benvolio make an effort to stop the confrontation but Mercutio is wounded. He knows that the wound would get him killed and he repeats the phrase “A plague o’ both your houses!” to emphasise the cause of his death and blames both families for it. This highlights how a petty conflict can have some serious and painful consequences, so much so that Mercutio curses the two families.
A look at the structure of a play reveals how it has been put together. The most important structural device in “Romeo and Juliet” is juxtaposition for contrast. Shakespeare repeatedly puts two different people or actions or words side by side to heighten the differences between them. Shakespeare uses foil characters to point out the differences between them. One example of this is ...
Romeo is confused and doesn’t know what will occur when his friend Mercutio dies. His soliloquy conveys how love has softened him, “Thy beauty hath made me effeminate”. Romeo relates this clash to the theme of fate and predicts that there would be more row following this fatal one, “This day’s black fate on mo days doth depend; this but begins the woe others must end”. But when Tybalt comes back it gets Romeo incredibly angry and revenge takes over him completely. “And fire-ey’d fury be my conduct now!” This is when Romeo loses all reason to be calm and composed which amazingly contrasts his character at the beginning of 3:1 when he was avoiding conflict.
The tension in 3:1 has gradually increased and has reached its peak and that is when Romeo challenges Tybalt and wants either Tybalt or himself to join the dead Mercutio, “Staying for thine to keep him company: Either thou, or I, or both, must go with him”. Tybalt accepts his challenge and they fight but Tybalt is destroyed. In reality, both Romeo and Tybalt are alike in characters as their battle was stimulated by revenge. Romeo himself is not proud of what he has done as Benvolio states, “Stand not amaz’d” looking at Tybalt Romeo is banished from Verona, “Immediately we do exile him hence”. Shakespeare totally changes the story of love and romance and twists it by creating a fatal conflict in 3:1 which would then unexpectedly change the future events, surprising and shocking the audience, leading to tragedy and the death of the star-crossed lovers in 5:3.