Themes and Examples in Romeo and Juliet

Theme: The Juxtaposition of Hate and Love Act 1 Scene 1: The Capulets and Montagues fight in Verona’s market-place; Romeo tells Benvolio of his unrequited love for Rosaline.
Theme: The Changeability of Romeo’s love Act 1 Scene 5: Forgetting Rosaline, Romeo falls in love with Juliet at first sight.
Theme: The impulsiveness of love. Two lovers give up everything on impulse. Act 2 Scene 2: In Juliet’s orchard the two lovers agree to marry.
Theme: Blind, meaningless hatred in the name of family loyalty and revenge Act 3 Scene 1: Tybalt fatally wounds Mercutio under the newly-wed Romeo’s arm.
Theme: The effect of hatred on love causes lovers to hide and deceive Act 3 Scene 5: Romeo and Juliet prepare to part after their wedding night.
Theme: Parents’ decisions determine children’s fate The Prologue: The Chorus describes the parents’ ‘ancient grudge’ which is the catalyst for the death of their children.
Theme: The power of the father to determine his child’s fate Act 1 Scene 1: Lord Capulet approves Paris’s request to ask Juliet to marry him.
Theme: Chance and choice. Does the Universe decide the fate of the lovers? The Prologue: The Chorus describes the lovers as ‘star-crossed’.
Theme: Foreshadowing of an ominous fate Act 1 Scene 4: As he goes to the Capulets’ ball, Romeo tells of a dream he has had.
Theme: Free Will vs Fate. Did Romeo’s hamartia cause his downfall, or was it “fortune”? Act 3 Scene 3: Romeo happens upon the sword fight between Tybalt and Mercutio; his intervention results in Mercutio’s death for which he kills Tybalt and calls himself ‘fortune’s fool’.
Theme: The Power and Finality of Death to cause reflection and change Act 5 Scene 3: “all are punished!” the Prince says at the end. Romeo and Juliet have killed themselves and their families reconcile in grief.
Theme: The longevity of a patient love vs impatience Act 2 Scene 6: The Friar marries Romeo and Juliet but warns them to “love moderately” or meet “violent ends”

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