Hate Is Louder: Romeo And Juliet

1841 words - 8 pages

Many people claim that love and hate are the same thing, while others say that the two emotions are complete opposites. William Shakespeare explored the two emotions in his play Romeo and Juliet. In the play, Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet are teens who grew up in families that have been feuding longer than either family can remember. However, the two meet out of unforeseen circumstances, and fall irrevocably in “love”. They woo, and within twenty-four hours they are married. Things seem to be going well until Romeo is provoked into killing Juliet’s cousin, Tybalt, and gets himself banished. Juliet is also promised to marry Paris, an eligible bachelor, while she is still mourning Romeo’s banishment. She decides to see one of the two people who know of her and Romeo’s marriage, Friar Laurence, to whom she says that if she cannot find a way out of being alone she will kill herself. The Friar gives her a potion to sleep for forty-two hours and appear dead to help her. The plan is that Romeo is supposed to be there when she wakes up, but Romeo hears that she is dead and kills himself at her feet. She then awakes and kills herself as well, ending the whole brutal affair. The reader is then left to wonder if what they have just experienced is a tragedy of young love or a lesson on the power of hate, a question for which Shakespeare leaves a blurry but definite answer. After a deeper look into the text, it becomes clearly evident that hate has far more power over the characters than their “love” ever could.
The characters in Romeo and Juliet are fully aware of the power of hate and act on the knowledge. They recognize that hatred and anger are much more powerful motivators than love and kindness. For example, when trying to motivate Romeo to return home with them, his friends Benvolio and Mercutio try to anger him. Mercutio mocks his unrequited love for Rosaline, saying, “I conjure thee by Rosaline’s bright eyes / By her high forehead and her scarlet lip, / By her fine foot, straight leg, and quivering thigh, / and the demesnes that there adjacent lie, / That in thy likeness thou appear to us!” (II.i.17-21). He knows that if he can get Romeo angry, or in other words to momentarily hate him, Romeo will be motivated to come and take out his anger. In another aspect, when asked by Romeo to perform a marriage ceremony between he and Juliet, the Friar agrees not for love, but, “To turn your households’ rancor” (II.iii.92). The Friar has hatred for the families’ hatred, and wishes it to go away, thus motivated by it. Even Friar Laurence, a man of God, is as motivated by hate as anyone. Prince Escalus, the ruler of Verona, is motivated by his hate of violence in the making of an ultimatum that he lays out after a major fight. He declared, “Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word... Have thrice disturbed the quiet of our streets... If ever you disturb our streets again, / Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace” (I.i.95,97,102-103). The Prince...

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