Theme Of Power In Romeo And Juliet

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Power plays an important role in Romeo and Juliet. Power becomes a constant struggle between individuals’ personal interests, households’ interests, and societal interests. Power functions as a catalyst for the development of happiness and sadness, love and hatred. In Romeo and Juliet, men with important positions—such as prince or head of household—retain supreme power that triumphs over the power that love creates. Throughout the play, men prove their greater power over women. In the first few lines of the play this idea is already being articulated by Samson when he says, “Therefore women, being the weaker vessels, are ever thrust to the wall” (I.i.16-17). Even the term Sampson uses to describe women, a “vessel,” shows that men considered …show more content…
For example, despite Paris’s power over Juliet in their marriage, he still needed Capulet’s permission in order to marry her. In this situation, the normal man needs the power of the head of the Capulet household. Capulet demonstrates his greater powers over men of a lower status in other incidents as well. One such instance is when Tybalt requests that he be able to banish Romeo from their party, Capulet denies his request, replying, “he shall be endured. What, goodman boy? I say he shall. Go to. Am I the master here or you? Go to” (I.v.86-88). Capulet goes as far as to call him a “goodman boy.” The Prince, holding the most important position, is the most powerful character. At the beginning of the play, when Capulets and Montagues are fighting, the Prince walks in and immediately commands the fighters to “throw your mistempered weapons to the ground… for this time all the rest depart away” (I.i.89-100). One could expect the fighters to ignore him, because they were in the middle of a heated fight, but instead everyone listens obediently, showing the Prince’s immense power. Later in the play, when the Prince reappears, he again takes complete control of the situation at hand, informing everyone, “I will be deaf to pleading and excuses. Nor tears nor prayers shall purchase out abuses” (III.ii.202-203). This is yet another example of the book’s theme that men …show more content…
“For this alliance may so happy prove to turn your households’ rancor to pure love,” plans Friar Lawrence (II.iii.98-99). From the beginning, Friar Lawrence expects Romeo and Juliet’s love to overpower the tensions between Capulets and Montagues. However, throughout the play their love simply enlarges the chasm between households, and even between members within the same family. Ironically, it is only when Romeo and Juliet commit suicide, thereby releasing any power they had previously had from their love, do the Capulets and Montagues finally reconcile. This shows that when love’s power clashed with the households’ power, the household power prevailed. But, when the power of love vanquished, the households were able to forgive each other. Juliet’s forced marriage to Paris is yet another instance in which love’s power deteriorates. Juliet begs Lady Capulet to “delay this marriage for a month, a week, or, if you do not, make the bridal bed in that dim monument where Tybalt lies” (III.v.211-214). This shows the complete loss of control and power Juliet has from her love, compared to that of her household’s

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