The Deaths of the Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet
Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is filled with death in every Act, excluding I and II, across the remaining 3 Acts there a total of 6 deaths. (Romeo, Juliet, Tybalt, Mercutio, Paris and Lady Capulet) William Shakespeare’s play, The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, was published in 1597. None of the deaths in The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet are similar, they all surround different issues and they all have a different impact on the not only the flow of the play, but the play itself.
The suicides of Romeo and Juliet are surrounded in matters that deal with the families’ hatred toward one another. Juliet expresses herself in Act II Scene II, she mentions that both her and Romeo must defy their names in order for the two to be together: “O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name” (Shakespeare 33-34). Juliet is proclaiming that the love shared between her and Romeo cannot be expressed in public, due to the ongoing, seemingly everlasting feud between the Montagues and Capulets. Shakespeare treats these deaths in a very climatic way, he almost wants you to think “Dang, all of these teens lives are being taken from them just because of a feud that they probably know nothing about.”
While Romeo’s suicide has to do with family related issues, Mercutio’s murder deals with personal disputes between himself, Romeo and Tybalt. Mercutio fights for Romeo in Act III Scene I, when Tybalt issues the challenge; this is right after his marriage with Juliet, so he has reason to care for Tybalt: “O calm dishonourable, vile submission! Alla stoccata carries it away. (draws his sword) Tybalt, you ratcatcher, will you walk?” (Shakespeare 44-46). Mercutio is obviously willing to fight for Romeo, as he challenges and insults Tybalt. Shakespeare treats this death as something to build plot, something to build tension and make the later killing of Tybalt more impactful.
Mercutio’s death has been proven to be under personal circumstances, Tybalt’s murder is surrounded by moral issues. Staying in Act III Scene I, Romeo feels he has a need to slay Tybalt after Tybalt has killed Romeo’s good friend Mercutio. “Alive in triumph—and Mercutio slain! Away to heaven, respective lenity, And fire-eyed fury be my conduct now.
Now, Tybalt, take the “villain” back again That late thou gavest me, for Mercutio’s soul Is but a little way above our heads, Staying for thine to keep him company. Either thou or I, or both, must go with him” (Shakespeare 84-91). Romeo is saying that he is very furious at Tybalt’s actions and that it will either be Tybalt, himself or both men that will join Mercutio in death, but someone must die. Shakespeare treats this death as if it was this big, dramatic moment in the play’s progression, he wants the audience watching the play to think, “Tybalt had it coming to him.”
None of the deaths in The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet are alike, they all surround different subjects and they all have a different impact on the the flow of the play. Romeo and Juliet’s suicides both revolve around familial issues, Romeo and Mercutio’s deaths are surrounded by personal and familial problems, and Mercutio and Tybalt’s deaths are encircled by personal and moral matters. If there is one consistency amongst all of these deaths, it is the fact that Shakespeare was trying to say that he doesn’t care how impactful in the play a character is, death can come knocking at any time; regardless if they are main characters or very obscure and have little impact to the play.
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