How do To Kill a Mockingbird and Romeo and Juliet convey the authors' messages?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Throughout the novel To Kill a Mockingbird and the play Romeo and Juliet, both authors, Harper Lee and William Shakespeare, explore the themes of revenge. The destructive nature of revenge is one of the common themes examined throughout both works of art.

In To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee portrays how the antagonist, Bob Ewell, does not forgive Atticus for his role in exposing the truth during the trial of Tom Robinson. Bob Ewell is malevolent and seeks revenge by attempting to murder Jem and Scout. Fortunately, Boo Radley saves the children by defending them against Bob Ewell's attack. Boo ends up stabbing Bob Ewell, and Jem only breaks his arm during the scuffle. Through Bob Ewell's character, Lee depicts the destructive nature of revenge.

William Shakespeare also examines the destructive nature of revenge throughout his play Romeo and Juliet. Tybalt seeks to get revenge on Romeo for showing up at Lord Capulet's ball. Mercutio comes to Romeo's aid and attempts to defend him against Tybalt but is accidentally killed. Romeo then seeks revenge for the death of Mercutio and kills Tybalt, which makes Romeo a fugitive. Both Tybalt and Romeo make fateful decisions to take revenge. Shakespeare examines the destructive nature of revenge through Tybalt and Mercutio's deaths, which negatively impact Romeo.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The author’s message is the point an author is trying to make with a story.  These two stories do have some things in common.  Both of them are about injustices.  In each case, the author seeks to explore how injustice affects a character.  The characters fight back, and neither willingly accepts the injustice.  The authors’ message is that it is our responsibility to change things we know are wrong.

In To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout experiences racism for the first time.  Although she grew up in the South, she really had no concept of class or race.  The Tom Robinson trial really opened her eyes.  Yet Scout did not accept racism as a fact of life.  She will grow up to treat people based on their character, not their race or other outward qualities (like scariness, in Boo’s case).  She learns not to judge others, and accept others’ judgements.

Romeo and Juliet might seem like a completely different message at first glance.  Consider Juliet, like Scout, as a sheltered young girl.  She has grown up, like Scout, surrounded by hate.  She knows that her family, the Capulets, hates the Montegue family.  This does not mean anything to her until she meets and falls in love with Romeo.  She decides to run away with him.  She refuses to accept the status quo, and ultimately she contributes to change.  Her death ends the feud.


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To Kill a Mockingbird

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