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Is Romeo and Juliet a tragedy?support your answer (tell me why!!)

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crazzichic15 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 3, 2008 at 7:41 AM via web

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Is Romeo and Juliet a tragedy?

support your answer (tell me why!!)

8 Answers | Add Yours

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sagesource | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted May 3, 2008 at 8:00 AM (Answer #1)

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Yes, one supposes, but.... in a qualified sense. It isn't a tragedy in the sense that King Lear is.

Up to the death of Mercutio, it almost seems as if Romeo and Juliet is going to be another family comedy, possibly with a highly contrived but happy ending -- another As You Like It. Many scholars thus see Romeo and Juliet as transitional between comedy and tragedy, particularly since the forces crushing the protagonists are external rather than internal. Neither Romeo nor Juliet has a "tragic flaw" in the way that Othello has his jealousy or Macbeth his ambition, for instance. They are inexperienced and hasty, but their ruin comes from inexorable forces beyond them, not from something in themselves. This lessens the impact of the play if considered purely from the angle of tragedy.

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gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 3, 2008 at 8:01 AM (Answer #2)

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Yes. It is a tragedy. A classical tragedy arises from the particular character in a specific situation, and, especially, from that character's tragic flaw, which leads to his destruction. In this case, both Romeo and Juliet have an intense love for one another, driving them to be together (the character part), but they are in a situation where they cannot be. In another situation, no problem. In this one, their families and their fates (and timing, as when the Act V action occurs) end up causing the deaths of two innocent teenagers, and extinguish an extreme love. I call that tragic.

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pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 3, 2008 at 10:24 AM (Answer #3)

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Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy, the young lovers are victims of miscommunication and bad timing as well as feuding families that stand in the way of their love and happiness.

Ultimately, tragically, they are reunited in death, the only way that they can be together under the current family conditions.

Sadly, with the sacrifice of the two young people, the battling families decide to end their feud.  So, yes the play is a tragedy, and also a triumph for the love of Romeo and Juliet serves to heal the wound that separates the Montagues and the Capulets, and love triumphs even in death.

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jakegabe28 | High School Teacher | eNoter

Posted August 10, 2008 at 2:07 AM (Answer #4)

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A tragedy is a play that ends with one or more of the main characters dead.  Even if there is some comic relief in the play, if a main character dies, it is a tragedy.  

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jess111 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 23, 2008 at 12:45 PM (Answer #5)

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of course it is a tragedy have you ever seen the play two forbiden teenagers fall in love and die

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flameon | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 1, 2008 at 11:03 AM (Answer #6)

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I think "Romeo and Juliet" is not a true tragedy, it also contains some comedy, because at first Romeo loves Juliet ,it is a romantic thing, that is not darkness and sad. Although at last they two are died. Maybe the tragedy comes when Mecutio was killed, but we cannot called it a true  tragedy. It can be a tragicomdies. That is a suitable type of play it truely is.  

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breautiful23 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 3, 2008 at 10:23 AM (Answer #7)

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OMG!!! ROMEO AND JULIET IS A BEAUTIFUL ROMANTIC TRAGEDY ABOUT HOW TWO YOUNG PEOPLE FALL IN LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT BUT HAD TO KEEP IT ON THE DOWN LOW BECAUSE THEIR FAMILIES HATE EACH-OTHER AND TRIED SO HARD TO MAKE IT WORK. SO ROMEO AND JULIET SECRETLY GOT MARRIED BY THE FRIAR. BUT WAIT!!! YES, MORE DRAMA!! JULIET'S FATHER A.K.A. CAPULET IS GOING TO ARRANGE JULIET TO MARRY A COUNT. BUT SHE COULDN'T REFUSE BECAUSE NO BODY KNOWS BOUT HER AND HER BOO ROMEO. SO WHEN ROMEO FINDS OUT ABOUT HOW SHE WILL BE GETTING MARRIED THEY PLAN TO RUN AWAY TOGETHER BUT IT ISN'T GONNA BE EASY BECAUSE THEY DO THIS BY FAKING JULIE-TS MARRIAGE BY DRINKING A POTION THAT THE FRIAR GIVES HER THAT WILL MAKE IT SEEM LIKE YOUR DEAD BUT YOU WILL ACTUALLY BE IN A DEEP DEEP SLEEP.  ROMEO WILL GO TO JULIET'S TOMB TO FIND JULIET WAIT TILL SHE WAKES THEN THEY WILL GO AWAY TOGETHER. BUT NOOOO! HOLD ON BUD THERE IS MORE DRAMA! ROMEO DID NOT GET THE MEMO ABOUT HOW THIS PLAN WAS GONNA TAKE PLACE. SO WHEN HE GOES TO THE TOMB HE THINKS THAT SHE IS DEAD AND KILLS HIMSELF RIGHT NEXT TO HER AND THEN SHE WAKES UP HE DEAD SO SHE KILLS HERSELF WITH HIS KNIFE. AND DONE THEY ARE GONE BUT THERE IS WAY MORE-TO THE STORY THAN JUST TWO YOUNG PEOPLE BEING IN LOVE IT IS ABOUT CONFLICT BETWEEN THE TWO FAMILIES MONTAGUE AND CAPULET'S IF YOU ACTUALLY SIT AND READ THIS SHAKESPEARE GENIUS YOU WILL KNOW HOW THIS REALLY IS A ROMANTIC BEAUTIFUL TRAGEDY FULL OF FUNNY ACTION....SO READ AND FIND OUT!!!!!!!

WELCOME

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johnvarnom | College Teacher | eNoter

Posted November 13, 2011 at 1:52 AM (Answer #8)

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Essentially, it is is not. Romeo and Juliet is better described as a rom-com with no jokes worth mentioning. The 'tragedy' concerns that worst of dramatic constructions, the deus ex machina, in this case the utterly implausible existence of a potion which convincingly imitates death. There is no such potion. But early adolescents being what they are - impressionable, gullible and stupid - the potion's effects are mistaken. And of course, if one's pubescent lover seems to have died, what else would you do but stab yourself?

It is vital to distinguish between 'tragic' events and tragedies. The former may be very sad: a car containing the world's best-adjusted family - mother and father still deeply in love, siblings the best of pals, lovable labrador puppy, parrot, goldfish etc, all of whom perish when car's brakes fail on precipitous cliff-side road - whilst the latter are very different: the wretched protagonists of King Lear, for example, whose personalities pre-destine their doom.

In other words, car accidents and their like are serendipitous, whilst tragedies are inexorable.

 

 

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