The prologue sets the audiences expectations of violence

The prologue sets the audiences expectations of violence very highly; a strong quotation to illustrate this, ‘from ancient grudge to ancient mutiny’ meaning an old rage will become new rage again. The word ‘mutiny’ means riot, so violence has got to be involved just from that, right? The section ‘doth with their death bury their parents strife, the fearful passage of their death- marked love, and the continuance of their parents’ rage, which but their children’s end nought could remove’, exhibits that Romeo and Juliet’s love is marked with death, and the continuance of their love would make their parents’ angry – nothing but Romeo and Juliet’s death could stop the feud.Consequently from the prologue we can clearly see that the audience’s expectations of violence would unambiguously be high – it also generates the reader’s very first expectations of the play almost immediately as the reader has begun to read the play. Another clever technique used by Shakespeare because there would be a lot of time in the play to twist and turn things before leading to the culmination – death. After the prologue we are left in a sense of insecurity and curiosity, it sets the tone and whets the reader’s appetite for the rest of the play as well as the oncoming action, which engages the viewer. Of course they would most definitely want to read on as the plot uncovers.Prejudice leads to escalating violence, as the prejudice between the Capulet’s and Montague’s led to increasing violence. It build’s tension and eventually leads to someone’s death. A clever technique, but it’s not all that simple because there were twists and turns, and a huge amount of unpredictability that was ever-present to whet our appetite before a character’s death. Shakespeare has included violence and death in his play to encompass a contrasting genre to love and romance. Moreover the violence adds to the drama of the play, the audience want to see the outcome of the violence involved; hence engaging the viewer.As a result of the violence it makes the audience do or feel any of these elements sub-consciously: take sides, feel pity for characters, get excited or become curious or frightened. As I stated before the violence generates tension and a sense of danger, this immediately brings the action to life. Bear in mind that as the audience we are privy to all of the action – the characters are not; this is dramatic irony. Shakespeare uses dramatic irony by telling us significant and important things, which would ultimately change the course of the play. This builds tension because we would know anything that would evoke violence, which other characters wouldn’t.In Verona, the feud between the Capulet’s and Montague’s reigns supreme, and rules seemingly over love, over justice, in an almost unfair manner, as ‘civil blood makes civil hands unclean’ (prologue). The image of violence being so unfair exists prominently in the deaths of so many of the cast. We see the two obvious images of the tragic death brought on by violence, in the two lovers Romeo and Juliet.Their young, pure lives are brought to a despicable end through the violence around them. Had this whole bloody feud between the Capulet’s and Montague’s never of been so great, then they would have been able to marry in peace and happiness, instead of doing all that they could, but only to end up dead together in Juliet’s tomb. Quite an unfair notion. This image along with the death of Romeo’s friend Mercutio helps to convey the idea that violence is an unfair, powerful aspect of their world. When Romeo convinces Mercutio to not confront Tybalt, then Mercutio pays the price with his death – an ambush from his sly opponent.Therefore, what seemed as a positive outcome turns into a great loss for both sides of the feud, which comes across as unfair to whomever looks upon the situation. Then to take revenge upon Tybalt, Romeo runs him through and slays him – to only avenge his friend. Afterward, he is banished from the city for that deed, even though it was Tybalt who had started the whole quarrel. What’s done is done, yet Romeo has suffered greatly from something that was not entirely his fault. These instances all show how violence is shown as a very unfair image, and a very rotten one at that.The play Romeo and Juliet takes place, most generally in the cities of Verona and Mantua, Italy. Verona is the home of the Capulet and Montague families. A majority of the action in the play takes place out-of-doors in Verona, from the fruitful Capulet orchard to the violence of the tomb area, where the lovers take their lives. The vision of the world suggested by the setting is social, in spite of the political connotations that arise when the lovers are told that they are to hate each other because of their names.Violence arises from this and it involves Romeo and Juliet struggles against social institutions that either explicitly or implicitly oppose the existence of their love. Public violence and riots take places as a result of this. Such structures range from the concrete to the abstract: families and power in the father; law and the desire for order; religion; and the social importance placed on masculine honour. The importance of honour for example time and again results in violence, and brawls that disturb public peace. Though they do not work in concert, each of these societal institutions in some way present obstacles for Romeo and Juliet, violence being one of them.The enmity between their families, coupled with the emphasis placed on loyalty and honour create a profound conflict for Romeo and Juliet, who must rebel against their heritages. This resulting in escalating violence and eventually leading to someone’s death. The law and social powers brings violence into the equation, which the blind passion of love cannot comply. The maintenance of masculine honour forces Romeo to commit actions he would prefer to avoid. But the social emphasis placed on masculine honour is so profound the Romeo cannot simply ignore them. Their love is seemingly shadowed by violence; the constant violence is preventing their love to continue.

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