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Romeo and Juliet"See what a scourge is laid upon your hate" To what extent is Romeo and...

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beth-renney | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 27, 2009 at 3:15 AM via web

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Romeo and Juliet

"See what a scourge is laid upon your hate"

To what extent is Romeo and Juliet a play about hate more than love?

What does everyone think? Do you agree?

6 Answers | Add Yours

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted November 27, 2009 at 7:23 AM (Answer #2)

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Obviously, hate is the fulcrum on which the play was developed. It was the Montague's and Capulet's enmity towards each other that opened the play, and it was brought even more in focus at the party when Tybalt wants to kill  Romeo. Beyond that it is hate which ignites the fight between Romeo and Tybalt resulting in Tybalt's death, and forcing Romeo into hiding. Had this not been the case perhaps he and Juliet would have come forward with their affair, but as it was they kept it hidden and eventually this secrecy led to the death of both. Thus the story is more about hate than love.

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lynn30k | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted November 27, 2009 at 11:41 AM (Answer #3)

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It is also possible that the hate drove Romeo and Juliet's love much further than it would have gone without it. They are attracted to each other, but it is unclear how much more compelling the "forbidden" aspect made it to them. They are, after all, adolescents. The fact they can't have it makes it far more exciting than it otherwise would be.

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sfwriter | College Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted November 27, 2009 at 4:34 PM (Answer #4)

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I think it can be argued that the framework of the play (the "frame story" which is the feud between the Montagues and the Capulets) is definitely about hate.  This larger plot, separate from the love of Juliet and Romeo, sorts most of the characters of the play (Mercutio and the Prince excepted) into one of the two camps.  Everyone is either a Montague or a Capulet, and has to take sides. 

I agree with Poster 2, in that the plot hinges, entirely, on the hate between the families.  Certainly the tragic ending would not have occurred if there had not been the feud between the two families.  The hate is what drives almost all of the events in this play.

But the memorable part of this play, at least to me, is the love between Juliet and "her Romeo".  There is enough space allocated to it, and the poetry devoted to it is of such good quality, that that is the compelling part of the play.  There are other loves in the play (they are secondary, of course, but there is love between Mercutio, Benvolio, and Romeo, and between Juliet and the Nurse) but the interesting and thrilling love is between Juliet and Romeo.  It feels more to me, and this is just my interpretation, that it is a story about love amidst hate.  That the frame story -- the state of affairs in Verona -- is one of hate, but there is this bright spot of love in it.  While we start the play with the realization of division -- of everyone being in one of the two camps -- we end the play (albeit in death) in a union of the two lovers. That's the story for me, but I do actually think that you could look at it either way.

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tthusing | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted November 27, 2009 at 5:23 PM (Answer #5)

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I think that it can be argued that the play isn't about love at all.  When you look at the relationship between Romeo and Juliet, it can be argued that it isn't love at all.  They fall into lust, they have instant attraction, maybe even something close to love, but it isn't true love.  Even in a very different time, it is entirely unbelievable that a 14 year old girl and an 18 year old boy would fall instantly in love with each other.   Similarly, I think the secrecy that Juliet and Romeo perpetrate against their families are a form of hate shown to their families, too.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 28, 2009 at 6:08 AM (Answer #6)

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Certainly, the violence that results in the course of the work would testify that violence is a part of this love story.  There is a level of intense hatred that shrouds the play.  It's real interesting to see how others perceive this play, and I think that I am of the mindset that the violent actions that are in the play and the fact that, like the previous posts, I am not fully convinced that this is a play of real love as much as infatuation, I would probably sense that the play is more about violence than about love.

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted November 28, 2009 at 7:41 AM (Answer #7)

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It is also possible that the hate drove Romeo and Juliet's love much further than it would have gone without it. They are attracted to each other, but it is unclear how much more compelling the "forbidden" aspect made it to them. They are, after all, adolescents. The fact they can't have it makes it far more exciting than it otherwise would be.

Excellent point about the evolution of the love affair. Clearly Romeo is portrayed as a man of changing emotions. Only the morning of the party, he was professing undying love for Rosaline. In fact the priest called him on it. So one does have to wonder how much was "love" and how much was defiance of society, parents, and etc.

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