Foils In William Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet

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Arguably William Shakespeare’s most famous play, Romeo and Juliet follows two star-crossed lovers who struggle to hide their love from their feuding families. Much like how Shakespeare explores both the differences and the relationship between the Capulets and the Montagues, the play highlights the correspondence of opposing themes through three characters named Mercutio, Benvolio, and Tybalt, Romeo’s two friends and sworn enemy. Shakespeare includes Romeo’s counterparts to distinguish his unique personality and to emphasize relationships between major contrasting subjects in the play: comedy and tragedy, peace and conflict, and love and anger. Mercutio acts as both Romeo’s foil and the donor of much light-hearted humor within the play, which contrasts the tragic events that inevitably occur. As Romeo’s complete opposite, or foil, Mercutio often mocks the romance Romeo longs for, focusing instead on the physical aspects of love. For example, when Romeo becomes lovesick for his old flame, Mercutio teases the idea with, “If love be rough with you, be rough with love; / Prick love for pricking and you beat love down” (Rom.I.4.27,28). Sarcastic and carefree jokes such as this one…show more content…
Because these characters are extremely different and constantly fight, Shakespeare sends the message that humans need to coexist. Coexistence means to live together and tolerate any issues present. Each of Romeo’s friends and enemies have moments of anger and dispute, but the main issue becomes using that anger to fuel foolish or wicked acts, like they did in Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare urges the audience to coexist because his work evidently shows that abuse of these emotions ends in catastrophe. Shakespeare includes Romeo’s counterparts to create a distinct personality for him through comparison and simultaneously accentuates opposing themes to stress the need to
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