It is definitely realistic to believe that the long standing feud between the Montagues and Capulets will finally end after the events of Act V, Scene 3. In a very short period of time the families go through several tragedies, including the loss of a wife, a son, a friend, a daughter, a cousin and a potential son-in-law. There are three main reasons why the feud will end.
Above all, sheer grief will hold Lord Montague and Lord Capulet to their truce which is spoken in the final lines of the play. Lord Capulet has lost his daughter who was his only living offspring. Although he speaks to her harshly after she refuses to marry Count Paris, the audience has evidence to believe that he truly loved her. In the opening Act, he tells Paris that he will only consent to the marriage if Juliet falls in love with the Count. In Scene 2 he says,
But woo her, gentle Paris, get her heart;My will to her consent is but a part.And, she agreed, within her scope of choiceLies my consent and fair according voice.
Capulet reinforces the idea that he adores his daughter after she is discovered to be supposedly dead in Act IV, Scene 5
. Capulet grieves:
Despised, distressèd, hated, martyred, killed!Uncomfortable time, why cam’st thou nowTo murder, murder our solemnity?O child! O child! My soul and not my child!Dead art thou! Alack, my child is dead,And with my child my joys are burièd.
Lord Montague also experiences tremendous grief as he loses not only his son, but also his wife. He obviously loved his son. He is distraught over Romeo
's depression in Act I as he asks Benvolio
to discover what is causing Romeo's condition. In the end, his wife dies from despair over Romeo's banishment. In Act V, Scene 3 he says,
Alas, my liege, my wife is dead tonight.Grief of my son’s exile hath stopped her breath.What further woe conspires against mine age?
Another reason the feud will end is that the major personalities that stoked the fire of the conflict are now dead, and those that want peace are still alive. Tybalt consistently challenged the Montagues in the street. In the opening scene he calls Benvolio a coward and threatens him:
What, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds?Turn thee, Benvolio; look upon thy death.
Benvolio, the peace maker, remains to help enforce the peace between the families. He attempted to thwart street violence twice in the play. In Act I he asks Tybalt to help him dissuade the servants from brawling:
I do but keep the peace. Put up thy sword,Or manage it to part these men with me.
I pray thee, good Mercutio, let’s retire.The day is hot, the Capels are abroad, And if we...
meet we shall not ’scape a brawl,For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.
The volatile Mercutio also dies, along with his arrogance and quick temper. If he had remained calm in Act III, Scene 1, Romeo and Juliet
might still be alive. His haughty nature helped sustain the feud.
The fact that Lord Capulet survives also bodes well for the sustainability of the peace. A few times in the play he expresses his regret over the feud. When he is talking with Paris in Act I, Scene 2
, he suggests that if it were up to him and Lord Montague, the feud would be over:
But Montague is bound as well as I,In penalty alike, and ’tis not hard, I think,For men so old as we to keep the peace.
Later, he also speaks well of Romeo when Tybalt discovers the Montague at the party in Act I, Scene 5
. He says of Romeo,
Content thee, gentle coz. Let him alone.He bears him like a portly gentleman,And, to say truth, Verona brags of himTo be a virtuous and well-governed youth.
A final reason the peace will succeed is the power of the Prince
. He expresses the idea that he has not enforced the law well enough. Moreover, two of his relatives, Mercutio and Count Paris, have lost their lives in the dispute. In Act V, Scene 3 he shames Capulet and Montague and suggests that the tragedy
needs to end. He says,
Where be these enemies?—Capulet, Montague,See what a scourge is laid upon your hate,That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love,And I, for winking at your discords too,Have lost a brace of kinsmen. All are punished.