Old Vs Young - Tragedy Essay

This essay has a total of 1960 words and 8 pages.

Old Vs Young - Tragedy

The older generation of people in the play can be contrasted with the two young lovers.
The lovers portray themselves as rash and impulsive who are filled deeply with emotions.
Their elders, on the other hand, have experienced more in life and are probably wiser,
thus they see things from a different angle. This leads to the elders not understanding
the feelings of Romeo and Juliet, hence causing conflicts, misunderstandings and pain to
arise. The older generation in this play refer to Romeo and Juliet's parents, the Nurse
and Friar Lawrence.

I do agree that the older generation did play a major role in their children's destiny
through their foolishness and good intentions, but not all blame is credited to them
because Romeo and Juliet did contribute to their own tragedy. Fate also 'thwarted our

Montague and his wife show themselves to be caring and loving parents. After the fight on
the streets of Verona, Benvolio is conversing with Montague and his wife about Romeo. Lady
Montague knows her son has been troubled lately so she is glad 'he was not at this fray'.
Montague has observed his son's distress, 'deep sighs', 'heavy son' and wants to relieve
his despair, 'as willingly give cure as know'. From here, we can detect the good
intentions of Romeo's parents, thus we know that whatever choice Romeo makes, they would
have rendered their utmost support to him.

Older people are often thought to be wiser. Capulet admits that it is easy for 'men so old
as we to keep the peace' which shows that the feud between their families can be resolved.
However, it is clear that no effort has been put into ending their quarrel. This
highlights the idiocy of the two men which leads to the tragedy because the young lovers
could be happily married when the feud ended.

Capulet has good intentions when he finds a suitable match for his daughter. Paris is a
handsome and gracious gentleman. It can be said though, that Capulet is acting out of pure
selfishness because he knows Paris is a relative of the Prince which is why he, later in
the play, insists that Juliet marry Paris. Lady Capulet is absurd in her description of
Paris, 'a flower', 'to beautify him only lacks a cover'. Her attitude towards marriage and
love is so artificial and she seems more interested in the wealth and nobility of Paris.

At Capulet's ball, we can contrast pure and innocent love with the violence and hatred of
Tybalt. Capulet, as a gracious host, praises Romeo 'virtuous and well-governed youth' and
asks Tybalt to 'endure' him. This is a well-intentioned act by Capulet but it arouses the
anger of Tybalt 'convert to bitterest gall'. Tybalt later issues a challenge to Romeo and
it results in the death of Mercutio, Tybalt and the banishment of Romeo.

When Romeo informs Friar Lawrence of his love for Juliet, the latter is wise and says that
'young men's love.. lies not in their hearts, but in their eyes'. He knows Romeo was
merely infatuated with Rosaline 'she knew well thy love did read by rote, that could not
spell'. However, he agrees to conduct the marriage rituals for Romeo and Juliet. He is
contradicting himself. He has his doubts that Romeo had genuine love for Juliet but
because he thought the feud between the Montagues and Capulets could be resolved through
this match 'this alliance may... turn your households' rancour to pure love', he went
ahead with it. He knows the risk that is involved and even has premonitions 'they stumble
that run fast'. This is a rather silly act of the Friar. Given his knowledge and wisdom,
we would have expected him to urge Romeo to wait and hope the feud would end soon than to
carry out this plan which was devised by two young lovers who probably do not know the
consequences of this grave act.

On the day of the wedding, the Friar and Romeo share a conversation which is ominously
prophetic while they are waiting for Juliet to arrive. Friar Lawrence hopes that fate will
be kind to their marriage 'after-hours with sorrow chide us not' to which Romeo replies
'love-devouring death do what he dare' because all he wants is for Juliet to be his wife.
The Friar has doubts that the marriage would be trouble-free 'violent delights have
violent ends... die, like fire and powder' but yet he simply advises Romeo to 'love

After the fight where Mercutio and Tybalt are slain, Benvolio relates the entire episode
to the Prince, the Montagues, Capulets and the citizens of Verona. Lady Capulet accuses
Benvolio of lying 'affection makes him false, he speaks not true' and herself lies that
Tybalt had to fight against 'twenty of them'. She asks the Prince not to let Romeo off
'Romeo must not live', not knowing that he is now her son-in-law. Montague pleads for
mercy on behalf of Romeo 'his fault concludes but what the law should end ┬ĘC the life of
Tybalt', that he was just carrying out on Tybalt the punishment the law would have passed
on him. In response to that, the Prince immediately banishes Romeo for acting on his own
accord. Though Montague was trying to intercede for Romeo, it turned out that the Prince
did not accept the plea and the banishment leads to the tragedy. The Prince has had enough
of the disturbances to the peace of Verona and it is of no fault of his in his decision
that Romeo can never enter the city anymore although it results in the death of the young

In the Friar's cell, Romeo is waiting for him to deliver 'the Prince's doom'. Friar
Lawrence gives Romeo a portentous hint 'Affliction is enamoured of thy parts, and thou art
wedded to calamity'. Romeo associates his banishment with death 'purgatory, torture, hell
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