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To What Extent Is Romeo And Juliet A Tragedy?

Essay By: WorldOfMutiny

Part of my coursework I had to do. See if you think a 14 year old is as good as A.C Bradley!

Submitted:Nov 29, 2008    Reads: 3,304    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   

The varied opinions and views proposed by multiple writers and journalists somewhat confuses the public who have a general interest in Shakespeares work- and to what extent it's known as a " Tragedy". A tragedy is a disastrous; hurtful event to a person or character in a certain situation. But a tragedy can also be described as a tragic play including literature; often involving the heroic rise and fall of a main character; often resulting in death or depression. But- can we really say Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy?. Well; the answer I personally believe is yes, and no. To the extent of both Romeo and Juliet experiencing excruciating pain and sorrow- from the feud of their families; to the fact that the audience is led to believe their love will not last long enough for them to really benefit from it. However; there is the aspect of hope protruding from the two- as we, the audience, and them, as the characters- know that their love is true to them to the very end. But as the prologue stated " A pair of star crossed lovers"; this could only mean the two are destined to die soaked in their love for each other- and the hate for the feud between their families. But surely enough- the death of both characters resulting in the feud ending between their families is a good thing, as well as bad?. Yes it is. In my opinion; good comes out of the situation to a certain extent of the fact the feud is ended. But; like many plays, Shakespeare has ended the life of both characters so the negativity oozes out of the play- not only to keep the audience guessing, but to continually emphasise on the dramatic irony Shakespeare aims for.

So that is that question answered. But a few more questions remain- has Shakespeare portrayed his plays as tragedies; when really, they are nothing more than mere morals disguised by antithesis and other advanced literature techniques - to improvise and add dramatic irony to the plays?. Well- the answer is no. Many writers; including myself believe that Shakespeares play are in fact tragedies; because his characters experience pain to a meaningful extent that the audience can easily relate to. A.C Bradley emphasises this; to the extent of his own views prejudicially playing a part in the audiences views- and easily influencing the audience to coming round to his point of view: and to the fact that Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy- but only to a certain extent as good comes out of the situation in the end. Bradley believes that Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy because both characters feel pain to the extent they both come off the worst in the end. But I believe his analytical views are biased as they influence the audience to come round to his side of thinking. Shakespeare has not portrayed his plays as tragedies. They are indeed classified as love tragedies; something Bradley missed.

But only one more question remains. Romeo And Juliet is a tale of love; intertwined with hate and dejected with hope. So why is it portrayed as a tragedy?. This could be due to the fact that inexplicable harm is inflicted upon the characters; or multiple people are too easily influenced by writers like Bradley. After all, they do play a huge part in society and media; and have the power to change peoples views. But the argument still remains. Why say Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy- if it isn't?. This could be multiple reasons. Some may argue it contains more devastation than love; so they have a tendency to come around to seeing it that way. Some may argue love over powers the devastation and hence they say this is a love story. But in conclusion; I would class this play as a tragic love story, destined to end in devastation. Something William aimed for amongst his audience. And characters.


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