Romeo and Juliet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet book cover
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What is the major conflict in Romeo and Juliet? Possible answers are: Juliet's parents are forcing her to marry Paris. The families of Romeo and Juliet have been feuding for years. Romeo loves Rosaline who loves Paris who loves Juliet.

The major conflict in Romeo and Juliet is not between the two main characters, but between their families, the Montagues and the Capulets. All of the other problems in the plot stem from this feud, and the two lovers must keep their love a secret and go to great lengths to fight the greater forces against them. In the end, the families are able to make peace, but it came at a great price.

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Heather Garey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In my opinion, the major conflict in Romeo and Juliet is the feud between the Montagues and the Capulets. Evidence for this theory is given in the prologue to the play.

"Two households, both alike in dignity
(In fair Verona, where we lay our scene),
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life,
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Doth with their death bury their parents' strife.
The fearful passage of their death-marked love
And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Which, but their children’s end, naught could remove."
The conflict is described as ancient, and the play opens with a new mutiny born of this ancient grudge. The prologue suggests that their love is doomed from the start by Romeo and Juliet's parents' anger, which nothing could stop, except for the deaths of their children.

 The events of the play begin with a brawl in the town center between servants of the house of Montague and Capulet. The prince threatens both families with the punishment of death if the streets are disturbed in this way again.

The conflict between Tybalt and Romeo comes from the feud between these two families. Tybalt is insulted that Romeo and his friends come uninvited to a party thrown by the Capulets. He entices Romeo to fight, but Romeo refuses. Romeo's quick-tempered friend Mercutio doesn't resist fighting, and Mercutio is tragically killed when Romeo tries to stop the fight.

In response to his friend's death, Romeo seeks revenge and kills Tybalt. This results in his banishment from Verona. Romeo and Juliet have already secretly married at this point, so the friar concocts a plan to fake Juliet's death so that she can escape with Romeo because the two are inconsolable. This plan would have worked, but...

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William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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rose21waverley | Student

Montagues vs Capulets

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