Shakespeare's most famous play, Romeo and Juliet combines the contrasting
elements of humor and sorrow, bawdiness and civil strife, and innocent love
and ignorant hate to rouse an amazing depth of mixed tenderness and tension.
Although a Chorus begins the play by notifying the audience that these near-perfect
lovers will in the end take their own lives, an irrational sense of hope remains
that somehow they might escape their destiny. But the pride-hardened hatred
between the feuding families leads the play to its inevitable tragic end.
Moreover, though the drama is one of ultimate reconciliation, ironically,
both families lose their only children - neither family line will be carried
on. In a sense Shakespeare is suggesting that war and hate lead, not to victory
for either side, but to spiritual annihilation.
Shakespeare writes in a formal manner. While the play was meant to be performed
and spoken, Shakespeare writes the dialogue in a poetic manner. He often includes
metaphors and imagery in his dialogues. However, the poetic speech often seems
forced and difficult to understand.
While not being as flowery as poems, it is much too flowery for everyday
speech and often difficult to understand. In fact, most of the sayings of
the characters seem much more educated than the characters themselves, and
seem often out of character.
The vocabulary and writing style suggests that Shakespeare was highly educated
in the English language. The words are carefully placed to fit an iambic pentameter
Imagery is used frequently throughout the play. There are few images that
recur throughout the play, but there are a few memorable ones in each particular
scene. For example, at the party, Romeo and Juliet speak of saints worshipping
at a temple. Romeo at the balcony speaks of images of the sun and the moon.
Shakespeares tone is tragic when dealing with the fate of the two lovers.
He does this by hinting through the expressions of love, how happy this marriage
might have become. The tragedy is in the fault of the families and their feud.
Shakespeares tone toward the feud is that he dislikes it thinking it
childish. He shows this through the admonitions of the Prince.
On a different note, when Romeo and Juliet get together, the tone changes
and becomes very romantic. The imagery during these scenes adds to the emotions
and feelings of love.