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Romeo and Juliet Research Papers

Research papers on Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare show the problem of the play is that the two lovers, Romeo and Juliet, are the offspring of noble, feuding, Veronese houses. In your research paper, tell how Romeo, of the House of Montague, and Juliet, a Capulet, meet at a Capulet banquet which Romeo attends disguised. After the famous “balcony scene” the two are secretly married. Your research paper can focus on a variety of elements of the play, such as the following:

  • Assess whether the ending has any justice in it
  • Give a character sketch of either Romeo or Juliet
  • Explore the psychological aspects of the suicide pact
Romeo and Juliet

The Romeo and Juliet research paper should then report that Romeo is banished from Verona because, after Tybalt of the Capulets kills his best friend, Mercutio, Romeo kills Tybalt. Juliet’s father, unaware of the marriage pushes her to marry another. Friar Lawrence devises a stratagem whereby Juliet will, as a result of drinking a potion, appear to be dead for over a day and a half. The friar sends a message to Romeo that tells of this device, but it does not reach Romeo. The climax of the Romeo and Juliet research paper should discuss how, thinking Juliet dead, Romeo takes poison (after killing Juliet’s would-be husband) in the presence of what he thinks is Juliet’s corpse and dies. She awakens, sees his body, and kills herself. All of this causes the two houses to reconcile.

There are several elements to the play, Romeo and Juliet that offer a dualistic reading. In taking certain portions of the play in the correct ways, one can see a play that is both tragedy and comedy. One can “experience the swash-buckling action and investigate the parent/child conflict, sexuality, friendship and suicide”.

Even before the play was re-penned by William Shakespeare, nearly five hundred years ago, the tale of Romeo and Juliet was regarded as one of the more important and entertaining tragedies ever written. “First published in 1562, [Arthur] Brooke” wrote a long-form poem called The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet”. Though Shakespeare adopted the play, and re-wrote it to suit his own style and intent, the play never lost its tragic label. However, there are several aspects of the play that could reclassify it as, instead of a tragedy, a comedy. What would change if the play was viewed differently? And, would this rose, truly smell as sweet under a different classification?

To the adolescent, the most important, and powerful thing in life is love. It is the power of love that drives the two young lovers in this play to, firstly, forsake their families, and then commit a double suicide. This romantic view is littered throughout modern art – such as movies and music. The concepts to most adults of “adolescent suicide is horrifying and a little unreal”. Therefore, it would be difficult for most adults to accept a comedic reading of Romeo and Juliet. However, to the eyes of fellow young lovers, this tale could be seen as the very definition of modern teen angst.

To begin, one must first find the difference between the two concepts. Firstly, the idea of tragedy comes from the originators of modern performance, the Greeks. For the Greeks, tragedy has meant “some aspect of man’s concrete involvement with evil and with his effort to comprehend and to deal with it”. In the world of Romeo and Juliet, the evil which the hero, Romeo, must face, comes from the “ancient grudge” (I. Prologue) that his family shares with the Capulets. This grudge creates the strife that hinders the relationship between Romeo and Juliet, and therefore sets the scene for the lovers to hide their love.

So then, what makes Romeo and Juliet a tragedy? There are obvious examples throughout the play as to why this label had been given, and remains used to this day. One way that a play may be seen as a tragedy, as Nevo wrote, is “by way of intrusive morality in the interpretation of the spectator”. This means that, while the audience watches the play, it uses its own ideals of law, order, and society to judge the actions of its characters. The actions of Romeo are seen by the audience as falling against the contemporary ideals of right and wrong.  Romeo is a character who longed for a chaste girl, accepted an invitation to a party under false pretences, allowed for his love of Rosaline to be completely forgotten at the sight of Juliet, and who, in a moment of extreme rage and wanton revenge, slays the cousin of his new bride.

The hero’s evil that is confronted, and therefore defining the tragedy, is embodied within Romeo himself. It is through his own actions, as one can pull from the text, that his relationship with Juliet is doomed. It is Romeo’s haste to the crypt of the Capulets that causes him to miss the message from the friar – which explained his and Juliet’s planned feigning of her death. Despite the asking of Balthazar for Romeo to “have patience”, (V.1) he rushes to the apothecary and sets into motion his own plan for suicide. It can also be said that Romeo’s haste for death kills Juliet – therefore involving him in her death and causing Romeo to lose the story-long battle against the evil that he, himself, embodied. George Branam wrote in his 1984 article regarding Romeo and Juliet that it was “Romeo’s impetuosity that prevented the reunion which might have otherwise have occurred”.

There also comes the smaller plot elements that add to the definition of tragedy. The death of Mercutio, in act 3 scene 1, creates the opportunity for Romeo to be sent on the path that would ultimately lead to his death. “The unexpected, almost accidental death of Mercutio”, (BEST) makes the turn in the play to a plot point that is easily seen as tragic. Tybalt slaying Mercutio causes Romeo to seek revenge. Though done in a moment of extreme haste and duress, Romeo kills Tybalt none-the-less – which leads to his banishment from Verona.

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