What point was Shakespeare trying to make in Romeo and Juliet? 

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mercut1469 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet relatively early in his career as he was establishing himself in London, so he was obviously aiming at writing a crowd pleaser which would bring in large audiences. After all, Shakespeare was not only a great artist but also a businessman who became quite wealthy during his lifetime. For this play he chose a story which was well known to Elizabethan audiences who would have already known most of the details of the love affair between the two youngsters from the Arthur Brooke poem.

Besides commercial success Shakespeare was also attempting to make artistic and philosophical points. Artistically, he was literally reinventing the English language and Elizabethan audiences delighted in his word play which included lofty metaphors and personifications about love:

It is the East, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief
That thou, her maid, art far more fair than she.
Act II, Scene 2

And biting, often sexually fused jokes:

’Tis no less, I tell you, for the bawdy hand of
the dial is now upon the prick of noon.
Act II, Scene 4
Shakespeare also presents a philosophy of man in the play. In Act II, Scene 3, as he works in his garden, Friar Lawrence notes that the flowers and weeds he picks have the ability to provide both medicine and poison:
Within the infant rind of this weak flower
Poison hath residence and medicine power:
He goes on to say that men are the same way. They have the capacity for great love but also the ability to behave maliciously:
Two such opposèd kings encamp them still
In man as well as herbs—grace and rude will
This philosophy plays out as seemingly good people get caught up in destructive behavior. Mercutio fights Tybalt over a supposed insult. Romeo kills Tybalt in revenge. Lord Capulet berates his daughter when she disagrees with him. Romeo kills Paris for no good reason at all other than his self-destructive urges. Even Friar Lawrence and the Prince, who seem the wisest individuals in the play, cannot keep men from destroying themselves over an "ancient grudge" which Shakespeare never even explains. 
kimmiedjo | Student

The point is to show that hate is a very powerful emotion, but even more powerful is love. Two families had hated each other for generations and possibly forgotten the reason they hated each other, but when two members of the youngest generation risked everything, including their lives, for love, it overcame the hate.

The author states during a fight of the family, "Here's much to do with hate, but more with love." This could be the whole summation of the play.  When the two in love, took their lives just so they could be together for love, they ultimately took the hate of generations with them.

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Romeo and Juliet

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