Examine how prejudice is expressed in "Romeo and Juliet."I'm having trouble finding quotes to support the prejudice between the two families.  Can anyone help?

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clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A simple answer to your question is that prejudice is expressed through physical fighting.  The family fued between the Montagues and Capulets is one of the most primary instances of prejudice.  Though the reasons for the hatred go unexplained, there is evidence of it in every scene.  To start, I encourage you to review any of the fight scenes which would provide physical evidence of how much the families hate each other.  The very opening scene of the play is an exchange of insults between the servants which leads to a brawl.

Other evidence of expressed prejudice is in how the characters speak of their enemies with such disdain.  When Juliet realizes Romeo's identity her reaction is "My only love sprung from my only hate..."  Romeo and Juliet's fear of revealing their love for one another to their parents and the secrecy with which they engage in a romance is further evidence.  The famous Act 2 Scene 2 balcony scene reiterates that if Romeo is even seen on the Capulet's property he will be killed.

When Romeo kills Tybalt, Juliet's internal conflict in Act 3 Scene 2 displays how strong the prejudice runs that she is torn between choosing her family or her lover.  She does not even take a moment to fully consider the circumstances.  Instead, she reacts emotionally and irrationally.

 

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Romeo and Juliet

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