Compare And Contrast Romeo And Juliet As A Tragedy

2054 Words9 Pages
Shadi Mohyeddin Ghomshei

The present paper seeks to compare and contrast Romeo and Juliet as an instance of Shakespeare’s earliest tragedy, with King Lear and Othello as two instances of the later tragedies. For many centuries there has been a great debate about whether Romeo and Juliet can be properly called a tragedy or not. I shall discuss the three plays with regards to structure, language, style and their ending in order to bring to light the differences between the early tragedy and the two later ones.

Introduction: Tragedy

In Renaissance there appeared a renewed interest in the classics and especially in tragedy. Aristotle had famously introduced a theory of tragedy, proposing that tragic action should have a beginning, middle and end. He also held that the action must be of certain magnitude. He further asserted that tragedy would generate
…show more content…
In the following sections I shall discuss this statement with regards to the three above mentioned tragedies. Kenneth Muir famously remarked that “There is no such thing as Shakespearian tragedy: there are only Shakespearian tragedies” (12).

Language in Romeo and Juliet, Othello and King Lear

Many critics have noted and focused on the use of poetic language and the imagery (esp. Fire and light) in Romeo and Juliet. The play is full of metaphors and symbols. There is a lot of play with puns. It has been suggested that Shakespeare here was much influenced by Arthur Brooke’s poem The Tragicall History of Romeus and Juliet (1562). The lyrical qualities are strong. One of the clearest statements of this is the prologue in the very beginning of the play which is in the form of a sonnet.

[Enter] Chorus
Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona (where we lay our scene),
From ancient grudge break to new

More about Compare And Contrast Romeo And Juliet As A Tragedy

Open Document