Romeo and Juliet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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How are the themes of love and hate presented in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet?

Hate is presented in Romeo and Juliet as a force that thwarts the love between Romeo and Juliet. The play pits the death and destruction of the feud between the Montagues and Capulets against the creative force of Romeo and Juliet's love. In the end, love transcends hate, as the death of the two young lovers ends the feud between their families.

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The play pits the hatred of the Montague and Capulet families against the love of Romeo and Juliet.

The love the two young people feel for each other is shown as a creative force in which each sees and affirms the best in the other. It drives them to want to marry and spend their lives together. Their love for each other transcends the hate they are supposed to feel as members of feuding families.

The hatred between their two families, in contrast, brings distrust and death. Tybalt's rage at Romeo for flirting with Juliet at the Capulet party leads him to try to provoke a fight with Romeo just as Romeo has married Juliet. This results in Mercutio fighting Tybalt, who kills him, and Romeo, in turn, killing Tybalt.

The themes of love and hate, then, come together as a stunned Juliet realizes her beloved cousin Tybalt has been killed by her beloved husband Romeo. At first, she can hardly refrain from cursing and hating Romeo, calling him a vile person dwelling in a beautiful body:

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