What does the dagger symbolize in Romeo and Juliet?

The dagger in Romeo and Juliet symbolizes the violent feud between the Capulets and Montagues, which ultimately leads to the death of both Romeo and Juliet. It is also symbolic of the relationship between love and death, as Juliet uses Romeo's dagger to kill herself. 

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The dagger Juliet uses to kill herself with at the end of Romeo and Juliet is a symbol of the relationship between love and death. However, more specifically, it also a fitting symbol of the feud that lies behind the suicide of this young couple.

Daggers and swords are both, broadly speaking, weapons of defense and death. From the beginning of the play, the rival Montague and Capulet houses are challenging and killing each other with swords.

Because of the feud, sword fighting and violence spill into the streets of Verona, causing the Prince to have to intervene. Sword fighting, based on nothing more that a feud whose origins seem to be long forgotten, kills Mercutio and Tybalt.

Ironically, Romeo's love for Juliet is what causes him to intervene between Mercutio and Tybalt, leading to Mercutio's death and Romeo's murder of Tybalt.

Romeo and Juliet have spoken throughout the play of the irony that they are in love despite the bitter hatred between their two families. It is therefore symbolically...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 952 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on March 4, 2020
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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on March 19, 2020