Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
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Power and Control is the main theme in Shakespeare’s play, Romeo & Juliet. Power is presented by fate, love and parental control.
Shakespeare clearly demonstrates that Lord Capulet is a very protective father. This is because in Act 1 scene 2 Capulet says “ hopeful lady of my earth” In this quote Shakespeare shows that Capulet is a loving and protective father because children died easily and the words ‘hopeful lady’ means that Juliet was his only hope , Juliet was very precious for him because she was his only child. Also in that quote Shakespeare used flattering language. Lord Capulet was a responsible and protective father which the audience in those times found as a typical father, however throughout the play Capulet gives Juliet freedom to choose who she wants to marry which wasn’t considered as normal in those days. “My child is yet a stranger in the world” This could suggest that he does not feel ready about Juliet being married. The word ‘stranger’ shows that she’s naïve and inexperienced. And that she hasn’t been long enough in the ‘world’.
Shakespeare shows that Lord Capulet has the ultimate power and control in his household. His power and control is shown trough his relationship between his wife, daughter and others members of his family. In act 1 scene 5 Capulet is presented as a kind and friendly man by starting his sentence “ Welcome , gentlemans” But as he goes along Shakespeare shows that he can be manipulative not only over his family. “Ladies that have their toes unplagu’d with corns will walk a bout you.” This quote maybe is suggesting that he’s manipulating woman. Also throughout the scene he says “Am I the master here, or you? Go to.” The language used here is dominant. Shakespeare uses rhetorical question to show that Lord Capulet has control to tell people what to do and authority over his family, also he’s foreshadowing the disasters that are soon to come. He uses imperative words. Paris asked Capulet to marry Juliet, not Juliet herself which was found normal for the audience, however it gives a small bit of evidence to support that he, being Juliet’s father had power over Juliet’s own decisions.
Juliet changes more than any other character throughout the play. In act 1 scene 3 Juliet says “But no more deep will I endart mine eyes Than your consent gives strength to make it fly” Juliet is being obedient by saying that she’ll do what her parents tell her to do. The word ‘consent’ suggests that she need her parent’s permission to do what she wants. But when she meets Romeo, she become more confident regarding the path of her life. Act 3 scene 5, Capulet tells her that she is to marry Paris, but instead of doing what he said she goes against her father’s will, “I will not marry yet. And when I do, I swear it shall be Romeo” This shows Juliet transformation throughout the play, she changes from an innocent obedient girl into a brave confident girl, this is because she confesses her love for Romeo to her parents.
Lord Capulet expected Juliet to be happy with the match with Paris because Juliet obeys him, and in those days fathers picked their daughter’s husband and they couldn’t disagree with it; they should be happy and thankful. Also Paris was rich, he was related to the Prince and good looking. “Not proud you have, but thankful that you have” In this quote Shakespeare uses flattering language. As the play goes on Juliet makes a number of important decisions, she falls in love with the enemy of her family, gets married, would be an embarrassment to her family, and finally kills herself, this wasn’t expected from a girl in those times, the audience might have been shocked with her acts in the play because the society expected daughter to obey their parents.
Destiny is the most powerful theme of the play. This is because destiny controls the end result in Romeo and Juliet’s ill-fated union. This is evidence from the line “A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life” Shakespeare mentioned that Romeo and Juliet were ‘star-cross’d they’re destiny to die. He foreshadows Juliet and Romeo’s death. The prologue points out that Romeo and Juliet have fate against them. Is says that their love is “death-marked” and they have no control over what happens. Juliet tells Romeo of her vision of him dead at the bottom of a tomb. This is foreshadowing to the already destined event these two lovers will soon face. Before Romeo enters the house of the Capulets, he speaks about an unknown danger “hanging in the stars”.
The word ‘star’ might suggest that events expected to occur being written in the ‘stars’, and explains how life is predetermined by fate. He says that he defies fate, by saying that he defies what is written in the stars. In act 5 scene 3 Romeo says “Shall I believe That unsubstantial Death is amorous,” Shakespeare used Oxymoron by saying ‘Death is amorous’ to create an dramatic effect. Romeo refuses to accept that Juliet is dead. What Romeo does not realize is that he has no control over is destiny. No matter how angry or motivated he is to change what is written in the stars, he cannot. It is already predetermined.
Overall I feel that power and control of Capulet was critical in the development of the play because he certified to carry the feud between the Capulets and Montagues. However I think fate was the most important theme because it controls the end result in Romeo and Juliet’s ill-fated union, and no one can change destiny. From the beginning of the play Shakespeare uses foreshadowing to emphasise how important fate is. If it wasn’t for destiny Romeo and Juliet wouldn’t have met, married and therefore wouldn’t have settled the dispute between the Capulets and Montagues.
Examine the way Browning reveals power and control In My last Duchess
My last Duchess is about the imbalance of power and control between man and women. On the surface the poem is about a dominant possessive duke who killed her wife because she was too easily admired by others and blushed
The Duke holds a sort of ownership over his wife. “My last Duchess” The title itself revels that the speaker, the Duke, is very possessive. The word ‘my’ suggests that the Duke is very dominant and controlling. Browning used the voice of a possessive narrator, this might be because to show how completely he ruled over her. The quote “The curtain drawn for you, but I “shows that he’s possessive and powerful. The pronoun ‘I’ suggests self-importance. Nobody is allowed to touch the curtain but him. Furthermore, the Duke is presented as a controlling person; the evidence for this is “since none puts by’ The Duchess could be covered up giving him complete control thru the opening and closing of the curtain. Now he controls who sees the picture, but he cannot control time and mortality.
The narrator is presented as a commanding, powerful and jealous. At the beginner of the poem the narrator, the duke, is giving the ambassador of his second wife a tour of his artworks in his house. We can see this in the quote “Will’t please you sit and look at her?” Really a command rather than a question. Throughout the poem the narrator uses the pronoun ‘My’ to show how dominant and possessive the Duke is. “My gift” This quote he used an arrogant tone, and the word ‘my’ again shows ownership. Moreover on the poem we can he is cold and powerful, the evidence for this is “I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together.” This quote might be telling us that the Duke is vague, and that he ‘gave commands’ or orders to kill the Duchess. And foreshadows the Duchess death. He’s jealous that he can’t even bring himself to talk to her about her behaviour – murder is the only solution he can come up with. His jealousy isn’t just about romantic attention; it’s about any kind of attention. We know he is self-obsessed because of his repeated use of ‘I’.
The narrator presents the Duchess as a happy, cheerful and flirtatious. which has displeased him. As the ambassador looks at the portrait of his late duchess he says “Of joy into the Duchess’ cheek” The Duchess blushed easily. We could see this furthermore on the verses 23-24: “she liked whate’er She looked on”. He’s jealous of the attention his wife shows to other, he’s jealous of every smile and every blush that she gives. He claims she flirted with everyone and did not appreciate his “gift of nine-hundred-years- old name.” He describes her cheek as having a “spot/ Of joy” in it, perhaps a slight blush of pleasure ‘joy’. On the verse 14 he says “her husband’s presence only,” This suggests that it wasn’t just “her husband’s presence” that made her smiled and blush in this way, although the Duke seems to believe that it should have been the only thing that would.
From the beginner of the poem we might conclude that his wife was no longer alive. The evidence for this is “as if she were alive.” We immediately begin to suspect that the duchess is no longer alive, but left enough uncertainly to capture our attention as readers. “That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall” In these lines, we are given our first hint that the duchess wasn’t that important to the duke, suggesting that his late wife was nothing more than her external appearance. The word “last” is the evidence that she was dead. As his monologue continues, the reader realizes that the Duke in fact caused the Duchess’s early end, when her behaviour escalated, he “gave commands;” In the verses 46-47 he says “There she stands As if alive.” This is another evidence that the Duchess is no longer alive, Browning uses juxtaposition to create an effect on the reader.
We might conclude that he had his wife killed because the final image of the expensive bronze statue , a metaphor “Taming a sea-horse , thought a rarity,” The Duchess is being tamed by someone powerful , the Duke , which killed her because of jealousy, and to show that he had power and control to do anything that pleased him. We never got to hear her point of view. Did she really disrespect his “nine-hundred-years-old name” as he claimed she did?
What is your response to the pieces of literature you have read? Make links between the ways the writers have considered and presented the theme.
You will be hearing from us shortly , The conscript , Hawk roosting and My last duchess are all poems about power and control which we can link with the play Romeo and Juliet.
Romeo and Juliet is a play about love, conflict, power and control. At the start of the play there’s a fight between the Montagues and the Capulets, which later in the play results Romeo and Juliet’s early death. Whereas ‘My last Duchess’ is about jealousy, selfishness, power and control, which also ends with death. In ‘Romeo and Juliet’ power is presented in fate, love and parental control. As ‘My last Duchess’ power is presented between man and women. Both of the poem and play uses commanding language and an imperative. In ‘Romeo and Juliet’ power and control can have an effect in individuals, similar to the Duchess. Both of the play and poem we can see that power and control corrupts the end result of the main characters. This has an impact on the reader because we can realise that power and control has a devastating consequence.
Lord Capulet and the Duke have a lot of similarities. Both of them has power and control, but it is viewed in a different perspective. Capulet wanted the best for his daughter that’s why he used his power and accidentally caused her death. As in ‘My last Duchess’ the duke wanted to kill his wife because of jealousy and to show that he’s won’t let anyone disrespect him or unpleased him , and that the only way to show his power was to kill her. Shakespeare also presents the theme of power and control between Lord Capulet and members of his family. Act 1 scene 5 Shakespeare presents Capulet’s power within his relationship between Tybalt, he says “Am I the master here, or you?” Shakespeare might have used rhetorical question to show his power and commanding word. He uses the pronoun ‘I’ to show that he’s the one who controls what happens. Browning also uses the pronoun ‘I’ frequently, this might be because to show how self-obsessed, selfish, powerful and narcissistic he is. “Will’t please you sit and look at her?” This is really a commanding rather than a question which we can link with Lord Capulet being powerful and using rhetorical question.
Romeo and Juliet and ‘Hawk roosting’ both seem to be about power and control. ‘Hawk roosting’ is about a dominant hawk that feels superior. The poem shows the world as seen from a hawk’s point of view. The hawk seems very determined and powerful, the evidence for this is “I sit in the top of the wood” This can be taken two ways , literally he is positioned at the top of the wood, but also metaphorically he is at the top of the tree- at the top of the food chain. Shakespeare also presents the theme of power and control , but the difference is that he presents power and determination within Capulet. “Am I the master here, or you?”
The language used here is dominant, also Shakespeare uses a rhetorical question to shows that Lord Capulet has power and authority to tell people what to do, similar to hawk roosting “I am going to keep things like this” here Browning shows that the Hawk is powerful and determinate, and that no one can challenge him and he has power to do anything without needing permission from anyone. Both of the poem and play use the pronoun ‘I’ repeatedly which suggests self-importance and power. The techniques used in these quotes are dominant language, rhetorical questions and an imperative. The impact on the reader is that both the play and the poem show how people use their power to control.
Friar Lawrence and the doctors in the poem ‘The conscript’ have some similarities. Shakespeare presents the power of religion within Friar Lawrence. Whereas in ‘the conscript’ power is shown by the doctors secularly. At the very beginning of the poem, the reader can realise that is about unsympathetic doctors. “Indifferent, flippant, earnest, but all bored” Here the poet is describing the doctors, from the word ‘bored’ we can deduce that the doctors are not doing their job properly., which this wasn’t expected from a doctor. Friar Lawrence uses his religious power to make serious decisions such as suggesting the idea that Juliet could fake her death to be unrestricted and be with Romeo afterwards. ‘The Conscript’ uses the image of Jesus “With arms outstretched and drooping thorn-crowned head”
Although ‘My last Duchess’ and Hawk Roosting differ in form, there are similar links that can be drawn between them. They both concern power and control and how a character’s is formed by their self-importance, and what they are prepared to do to achieve their aims. In both poems, the poet might be showing us how people use their power and their effects. Because both of the poems are written in the first person we gain a great insight into the speaker’s confidence. In ‘My last Duchess’ we can guess that the Duke is cold and vain, the evidence for this is “I gave commands;” Similarly to ‘The hawk’ he says “I kill where I please because it is all mine” here also shows that the hawk is cold and vain. Moreover both of poems use repeatedly the pronoun ‘I’ which suggests self-importance and selfishness.
In the poem ‘You’ll be hearing from us shortly” we can see how people in high position use their power, “That is the way You have always spoken, is it?” Here we might guess that the candidate has to agree with what the interviewer asks him, which this makes a rhetorical question. Similarly to Lord Capulet, Shakespeare uses rhetorical question to show his power over people, also we can compare this to the poem ‘My last Duchess’ how the duke is commanding and also uses rhetorical question. The interviewer tone we can describe as contemptuous and condescending. The use of the word ‘we’ emphasis the exclusion of the candidate. How the poem is laid out and considering the words on the right hand side like ‘Ah’ it makes the reader feel that the candidate is struggling for word to answer the interviewer which links to the idea that the candidate has no time to answer and has to agree with him. This also links to the Prince in Romeo and Juliet, because the society in those times had to agree with him and this shows power and control that the prince had over Verona.
Overall I believe that power has fatal consequences. Comparable to Romeo and Juliet, in that era daughters were to obey their parents, the fact that Capulet had power and control over Juliet effected her life path , same as the poem ‘My last Duchess’ which also shows that women were controlled by their parents or husbands. Similar to ‘The conscript’ which shows how people use their power over people.