How is conflict evident in act III, scene I?i am having trouble answering this question. i have thought about the different types of conflict etc but need help for more ideas? please, thank you...

How is conflict evident in act III, scene I?

i am having trouble answering this question. i have thought about the different types of conflict etc but need help for more ideas? please, thank you <3 x

Expert Answers
tmcquade eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Many types of conflict are evident in this scene, including man vs. man, man vs. self, man vs. society, and man vs. the environment.

The man vs. man, or "family vs. family" conflict created by the longstanding feud hovers over the entire scene.  Just an hour before this scene opens, unbeknownst to the other actors in this scene, Romeo and Juliet were secretly married.  We learn from the conversation between Benvolio and Mercutio that Tybalt, still angry about Romeo crashing the Capulet party the night before, has sent Romeo a challenge to a duel (though Romeo has not yet seen the challenge since he has not been home).  This sets up the main man. vs. man conflict.

We also learn from Benvolio that it is a very hot day, and he fears the hot weather (man. vs. environment) will lead to hot tempers,.  Thus, he urges Mercutio to go with him inside to get off the streets.

Mercutio, already in a hot temper, refuses to do so, and when they encounter Tybalt, a "war of words" begins.  Soon, Romeo appears, and when he refuses to take up Tybalt's challenge but instead says he loves Tybalt, Mercutio only gets more angry.  He steps in to take up the challenge, creating a new man vs. man conflict between him and Tybalt.  Romeo, in trying to break up the fight, actually ends up making it possible for Tybalt to fatally injure Mercutio, and Mercutio curses both families (man. vs. society) before he dies.

Now, Romeo's man vs. self conflict kicks him.  He believes that Juliet's love has made him "effeminate" and caused him to avoid this fight which should have been his, and now his good friend is dead.  The man vs. man conflict between Romeo and Tybalt now kicks into full force as Romeo tracks him down, fights Tybalts, and slays him.

Now, Romeo is caught up in a new man. vs. society conflict, for the Prince expressly has forbidden such fights in Verona's streets and threatened death to any perpetrators.  Romeo runs away, hoping to save his own life.

The man vs. man/family vs. family conflict ends the scene as Lady Capulet and Lord Montague argue for their own interests with the Prince - Lady Capulet calling for Romeo's death, and Lord Montague arguing for mercy and pointing out that Romeo was just seeing justice done by killing Tybalt, who had killed Mercutio (the Prince's nephew). 

The Prince faces his own man vs. self conflict here, having to decide whether to act on his earlier threat to execute anyone fighting in Verona's street or to issue a lesser punishment.  He ends the argument by banishing Romeo from Verona, setting up the future events of the play.

Read the study guide:
Romeo and Juliet

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