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In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, what is revealed about conflict in the lines...

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morgansmith72 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted March 12, 2012 at 11:46 PM via web

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In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, what is revealed about conflict in the lines (III.iii.29-33) ?

Friar Laurence: This is dear mercy, and thou seest it not. (29)

Romeo: 'Tis torture, and not mercy. Heaven is here, (30)

Where Juliet lives; and every cat and dog
And little mouse, every unworthy thing,
Live here in heaven and may look on her;(33)

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 17, 2012 at 12:46 AM (Answer #1)

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One conflict revealed in these lines is man vs. society. Romeo is not the one who is responsible for the feud, his parents are. Hence, Romeo is not the one who is ultimately responsible for Tybalt's death. Tybalt's uncle is more responsible for Tybalt's death than Romeo because he is the one that taught Tybalt to hate so strongly. Likewise, Tybalt is also more responsible for his own death, because he allowed his hatred and his temper to get out of control. Regardless, Romeo is the only one at this point who is being directly punished, because he was the one at this point holding the sword. Therefore, Romeo is being subjected to the laws of society governed by the Prince as punishment for something that is not ultimately his fault.

Another conflict shown in these lines is man vs. self. In this passage, Romeo is wrestling with conflicting emotions. Even though the punishment for fighting has been decreed to be the death penalty, the Prince has granted Romeo mercy because he sees that Tybalt's death was not ultimately Romeo's fault. As Friar Laurence points out, Romeo should be rejoicing and considering his banishment a "mercy," and Friar Laurence is shocked that Romeo is being so ungrateful and blind towards his blessing. We see this in Friar Laurence's line, "This is dear mercy, and thou seest it not" (29). But even though it is more rational for Romeo to be rejoicing that he is still alive and not dead, Romeo insists that the sentence is "torture, and not mercy" (30). Romeo further states that,

Heaven is here,
Where Juliet lives; and every cat and dog
And little mouse, every unworthy thing,
Live here in heaven and may look on her. (31-33)

Though it is more rational for Romeo right now to feel relieved and less rational for him to be moaning because he can't--at this precise moment--be where Juliet lives, Romeo is experiencing this conflict within himself. It is a conflict between his rational self and his emotional self.

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