Crime And Punishment In Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet

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In the Elizabethan era crime and punishment was one of the most important things to keep the order in society. Crime and punishment in the Elizabethan era has much to do with Shakespeare’s famous play Romeo and Juliet. The banishment of Romeo after he killed Tybalt in the streets of Verona should have led to Romeo 's execution but got away with a lesser penalty. Later in the play, Romeo says that he would have rather been killed than to be away from Juliet, which shows that the crime and punishment worked well by giving him the worst possible, while still humane punishment. Many lives were taken over the course of the play, none of which were punished with execution. Since Romeo was high up in the social pyramid, he was able to get away…show more content…
During this time, the penalty for the murder of another person was not consistently punished in one way. For some people, murder would be punished with a public execution for the entire community to see, while for others they could get away with murder completely free of any punishment. At the time the punishment often depended on the social class of the killer and the social class of the person that was killed. In this situation, social class was less of a factor since the Prince let Romeo off easy since the person that Romeo killed was the killer of Mercutio, who is related by blood to the Prince in this quote “And for that offense immediately do we exile him hence... My blood for your rude brawls doth lie a-bleeding; but I’ll amerce you with so strong a fine that you shall repent the loss of mine.” (3.1. 179-84). The Prince is angry that the feud between the two families has led to the murder of his relative. He tells Romeo that if he does not leave immediately and not return that he will be put to death. Romeo is not at all grateful that his life has been spared and says “There is no world without Verona walls, but purgatory torture, hell itself ...Then “banishment,” is death misterm’d. Calling death “banishment”.” (3.2. 17-21). This means…show more content…
The sale of poison for any cause during the Elizabethan era was illegal and punishable by death. During Romeo’s time in Mantua, he started to plot a way to get back to Verona and get Juliet back. Before he was sent off to Mantua they made a plan for Juliet to drink a potion made by Friar Lawrence that would make her seem dead. After her family thought that they had found Juliet dead in her room they would have no choice but to place her in the family tomb, where Romeo would come to get her to run off and live their life together. The plan would have worked out as planned if it was not for Juliet’s parents suddenly making the decision to marry her to Paris, and they would be married very soon. After trying to deny being married off she finally agreed to marry Paris, but she will have to take the potion sooner, but she has no way to communicate this to Romeo. Romeo, unknowing of the circumstances, decided that before he left he needed a backup plan. He decided to get a vile of poison to kill himself if he is unable to get Juliet back. Since the sale of poison is illegal and punishable by death, he finds a poor apothecary that will do anything for money and has him make a batch of his strongest poison for Romeo. The apothecary tells Romeo that he is only doing this because he is poor, not because it is the right thing to do in “My poverty but not my will consents” (5.1. 75). Romeo returns to the apothecary’s statement with “I pay thy poverty and not thy will.” (5.1.
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