Theme: How true love ultimately triumphs

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is set in an intense atmosphere of hatred between two families. The lovers are victims of the sin of their families and in the end it is their death and suffering which overcomes the hatred between the families. This drama tells us that true love ultimately triumphs and survives over and destroys hate because the deaths of the lovers end the feud between the families.

We are first introduced to this important theme in the Prologue. At first, the prologue tells us about the feud between the families; “From ancient grudge break to new mutiny…fatal loins of these two foes”. However; during the prologue, the subjects shift to the “star-cross’d lovers” who kill themselves to end the feud between the families; “Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife…the continuance of their parents’ rage, which but their children’s end nought could remove”.

The hate between the two families is apparent and affect the whole of Verona. Because the feud has accelerated to such an extent, the Prince threatens to put to death all those who do violence again; “Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace…Have thrice disturb’d the quiet of our streets…If ever you disturb our streets again, your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace”.

Another good example of hate is before the Prince announces the new ‘law’, Tybalt states he hates all Montagues as he hates peace; “What, drawn and talk of peace? I hate the word, as I hate tell, all Montagues”. When Tybalt is slain by Romeo because he slew Mercutio, it seems that the hate ran too deep to be prevented by the prince’s threat and indeed, Lady Capulet wants revenge on the Montague family for Tybalt’ s death; “I beg for justice, which thou, Prince, must give: Romeo slew Tybalt, Romeo must not live”.

Because of the hatred between the families, Romeo and Juliet’s love faces conflicts and the Friar marries them in the hope that their marriage will stop the feud between their families, using love to conquer hate; “In one respect I’ll thy assistant be for this alliance may to happy prove to turn your households rancour to pure love”.

Although there is a large amount of hate in the play, there is also the opposite, love. Romeo and Juliet love each other profoundly. When Juliet first meets Romeo, she exclaims, “If he be married, my grave is like to be my wedding bed”. In return, Romeo risks being killed by going to see Juliet in the Capulet orchard; “If they do see thee, they will murder thee”.

Romeo’s true love is contrasted with his false infatuation with Rosaline and is so deep that when he finds out about Juliet’s supposed death by Balthasar, he decides to die with her; “Well, Juliet, I will lie with thee tonight”. In return again, when Juliet is told to have patience and the Friar suggests he “dispose of thee among a sisterhood of holy nuns”, the Friar hearing the night watch approaching, flees but Juliet stabs herself with Romeo’s dagger and dies beside her true love. This shows the deepness of their true love and faithfulness; they will rather die together than live apart.

The play concludes with the reunion of Romeo and Juliet and the reconciliation of the feuding families, a somewhat bitter-sweet conclusion. After the Friar faithfully recounts the events of the past week, the Prince tells the families they have been punished for their hatred; “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!”. The two families, finally reconciled acknowledge each other with friendly terms and make peace as they stand amidst the bodies of their city’s youth; “O brother Montague, give me thy hand”. Old Montague and Capulet will erect a statue of each other’s children which is also shows that the families are reconciled and peaceful. Because of the bitter-sweet ending; the death of the youth of Verona bringing peace between the families, the prince says; “A glooming peace this morning with it brings”.