Why do the montagues and the capulets hate each other?

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sciftw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Shakespeare never explains why the Capulets and Montagues hate each other and are constantly fighting.  

A reader can make a few educated guesses though.  The reader does know the feud has been going on for a very long time, and the reader knows that the feud is well known to the public. The reader also knows that both the Capulets and Montagues are wealthy and influential families in Verona.  Those facts lead me to suspect that the feud originated over some kind of economic dealings that went badly.  It makes sense that because both families are rich, they would each be upset over losing money or being out competed for more wealth.  It could be a political deal that went sour too. If both families are wealthy and influential, it makes sense that they are active in politics and city government as well.  Perhaps one family took advantage of a political ally in a way that hurt the other family. 

Or maybe it was a forbidden love between two star crossed lovers of long ago.  

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