In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, in what respect does love initiate hate but also manage to conquer hate with regard to Juliet?  

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booboosmoosh's profile pic

booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, we see love initiate hate, but also love manages to conquer hate when Juliet has to face the death of Tybalt at Romeo's hand.

In Act Three, scene one, Tybalt and Mercutio are trading insults and then thrusts of their swords as the hot-headed Tybalt pushes all the right buttons and Mercutio begins to fight with him. Romeo arrives on the scene. He has been transported by joy in his marriage to Juliet. Tybalt wants to fight him, but Romeo declares only love for Tybalt. When Romeo steps between the two fighting men, Tybalt takes a cheap shot under Romeo's arm, delivering a fatal blow to Mercutio, and then runs off.

Mercutio knows he will die from this wound, and curses both houses—Capulet and Montague. After Mercutio is carried off, Benvolio returns to report his death. Romeo is so enraged by Tybalt's unscrupulous behavior, and devastated by the loss of his friend, that when Tybalt returns, Romeo engages him in battle and Tybalt falls dead. Romeo has killed one of his in-laws.

In Act Three, scene two, Juliet is anxiously waiting for the time to pass so that she and Romeo can celebrate their wedding night. The Nurse arrives and reports "death" to Juliet. There is confusion at first as to who is dead: at one point Juliet believes that both her cousin Tybalt and her new husband have died. Once the Nurse clarifies her speech, Juliet's first response for the man she loves is hatred for his murder of Tybalt. She calls him names and laments how someone so beautiful could have such ugliness inside.

At one point, Juliet uses a metaphor comparing Romeo to a handsome "palace" with deceit inside, to a beautifully bound book containing "vile" contents. Juliet asks:

Was ever book containing such vile matter
So fairly bound? O, that deceit should dwell
In such a gorgeous palace! (III.ii.86-88)

Then the Nurse complains of all men, saying they are dishonest, liars, deceivers, their promises mean nothing and they cannot be trusted, especially Romeo.

There's no trust,
No faith, no honesty in men; all perjur'd,(90)
All forsworn, all naught...
Shame come to Romeo! (III.ii.89-94)

Hearing this, Juliet that quickly has changed her mind and scolds the Nurse. Juliet chides:

Blister'd be thy tongue
For such a wish! He was not born to shame. (lines 95-96)

The Nurse asks Juliet how she can defend the man who killed her cousin.

Juliet spends some time chastising herself for her faithlessness to Romeo, while asking how he could have killed Tybalt. She quickly reasons that had he not killed Tybalt, her hot-headed cousin would surely have murdered her husband instead.

But wherefore, villain, didst thou kill my cousin?
That villain cousin would have kill'd my husband. (lines 105-106)

In other words, Juliet's love of Tybalt initiates hate against her love for Romeo when she first hears that he has killed her cousin. However, her great love for Romeo allows Juliet to conquer her ill-feelings toward him, knowing that had Romeo not killed Tybalt, her cousin would certainly have taken the life of her "three hours'" husband.

lsumner's profile pic

lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Juliet loves Romeo more than she loves herself, and for that reason she could hate the fact that he has that kind of hold on her.

Love conquers any bit of hatred that Juliet may possess. In the end, she cannot live without her Romeo. Love conquers more than hate. Love conquers death. In death, Juliet will be with her Romeo afterall.

Death cannot keep them apart. Love is the victor. There is nothing stronger than the love Juliet has for her Romeo. She loves him more than life.

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