An analysis on romeo and juliet & pride and prejudice
This research paper will compare and contrast literal aspects of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Both the movies fall in the genre categories of drama and romance, but throughout the story their literal aspects differ. The plot, characters, context, setting, narrator, themes, motifs and symbols vary from each other although they do not vary too much in some aspects.
Since both the movies are great stories, I found it difficult to come at a conclusion to say which one’s better. But after thoroughly analyzing both masterpieces, I came to the conclusion that the Romeo and Juliet has made a greater contribution literature than the Pride and Prejudice. BACKGROUND Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare is about tragic love story. Regrettably, when Tybalt insults Romeo, a street duel breaks out between the first cousin of Juliet, Tybalt and Mercutio, Romeo’s best friend.
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Friar Laurence decides to notify Romeo about the hoax so that he could meet Juliet after her burial and flee with her as soon as she recovers from her swoon and so he sends Friar John, to go and give Romeo a letter to notify of the “death” of his dearly beloved. However, Balthasar, Romeo’s servant, sees the burial of Juliet, thinking that she is dead, he goes to convey the bad news Romeo and unluckily reaches Romeo before Friar John. In misery, Romeo hurries to Juliet’s tomb and ends his life by drinking poison.
Wakening up in a while after he expires, Juliet discovers a dead Romeo and goes on to stab herself with his dagger in order to join him. Later, both the families attend their joint funeral together and come to an understanding to end the feud. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is about the 5 daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet and their struggles as their mother, Mrs. Bennet, strains to get them married. They get to know that the men are Mr. Bingley, who has just rented the local estate of Nether field, and Mr. Darcy, both rich, eligible unmarried men, and this excites Mrs.
Bennet. When Mr. Darcy does ask her to dance with him, she refuses, nonetheless when Mr. Wickham asks her right in front of Darcy, she accepts. Later, he asks her hand in marriage, but she refuses, partly due to the fact that Wickham had told her about Darcy depriving him of his rightful fortune, and also for the reason that she has just got to know that ended the love between Mr. Bingley and Jane. Mr. Darcy visits Elizabeth and tells her that Wickham will never marry Lydia. The story ends with a long kiss between Elizabeth and Darcy, with Mrs.
Bennet spying on them and seeing how her other daughters have found noble suitors. CONTEXT Romeo and Juliet was written by the most persuasive playwright in all of English literature, William Shakespeare, was born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, England to a successful middle class family that made gloves. Shakespeare’s works were gathered and printed in numerous editions in the century following his death, and by the early eighteenth century his name as the greatest poet ever to write in English was well established.
The unprecedented esteem garnered by his works steered to a fierce inquisitiveness about Shakespeare’s life, but the dearth of factual information has left many details of Shakespeare’s personal history masked in mystery. A quite a few of Shakespeare’s plays seem to have even excelled the category of brilliance, becoming so influential as to intensely affect the path of Western literature and culture ever after. (Marks) Through the unsurpassed intensity of his language Shakespeare prospered in this effort, in writing a play which is accepted universally in Western culture as the foremost, archetypal love story.(Isabelle Hopkins) The film was directed and co-written by Franco Zeffirelli, and starred Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey. Pride and Prejudice was written by Jane Austen. She was born in Steventon, England, in the year of 1775, and she lived there until she was twenty-five years old. She published her book was in January 1813, two years after her first novel, ‘Sense and Sensibility’, and it attained an admiration that has endured even to this day. She published four more novels: Emma, Mansfield Park, Northanger, Persuasion, and Abbey.
Persuasion, and Abbey, were published in 1818, a year following to her death. (Learning lit) During Jane Austen’s life, only her family knew about her authorship of her novels. Although anonymous publication prevented her from securing an authorial reputation, it also allowed her to keep her privacy at an era when the English society allied a female’s appearance into the public scope with a reprehensible cost of femininity. The social environment of Austen’s
Regency in England was on the whole stratified, and class separations were rooted in family acquaintances and wealth. However, Austen was in various ways a realist, and the England that she portrays is one in which has limited social mobility and strong class-consciousness. (Austen 1994) Socially well-organized ideas of suitable behavior for respective genders factored into the works of Austen. Being a clergyman’s daughter, she would have had hands on experience on parish work and was without doubt conscious of the poor people around her.
The criticisms that she makes on class structure give the impression to take account of only the middle and upper social classes; the lower social classes in which if they seem to appear whatsoever, are in general servants who look as if they are seamlessly pleased by means of their lot. This absence of attentiveness in the lives of the poor people may perhaps be a catastrophe on Austen’s part, on the other hand it ought to be understood as a catastrophe communal by the greater part of English people at the time.(Austen 1994) On the whole, she occupies a questioning position amongst the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In their cognizance of the situations of modernity and urban life and the costs for family structure and single characters, they foreshadow ample Victorian literature. (Austen 1994) PLOT The plotline for Romeo and Juliet starts as a brawl breaks out in the streets among the servants of Capulet and Montague; the feuding noble families of Verona. Benvolio, a Montague, tries to stop the fighting, but is himself embroiled while the hasty Capulet, Tybalt, comes to on the scene.
After people are annoyed by the constant ferocity overthrow the aggressive parties, Prince Escalus, the head of state of Verona, endeavors to prevent further clashes amongst the families by sentencing penalty of death for any person who disrupts the peace of Verona in the future. (BBC Learning) Romeo, Montague’s son, bumps into Benvolio, his cousin who had seen him earlier moping in a sycamore grove. After some nudging by Benvolio, Romeo confesses that he is fallen in love with woman named Rosaliane, who doesn’t return his loves.
Benvolio advices Romeo to forget Rosaline and find another woman who is more beautiful. But Romeo stays despondent. (BBC Learning) In the meantime, Count Paris, a kinsman of Prince Escalus, seeks the hand of Juliet, in marriage. Juliet’s father Capulet, yet happy at the proposal, asks Paris to delay it two years, since Juliet has not even turned en fourteen. Capulet sends forth a servant with a list of folks to invite to a masquerade and a feast that he holds traditionally. He invites Count Paris to the feast, eager that Paris will win the heart of Juliet.(Learning Literature) Romeo and Benvolio, yet discussing Rosaline, come across the Capulet servant who bears the invitations list. Benvolio suggests that they go to the masquerade, since that it would give space to Romeo to compare his beloved Rosaline to other gorgeous women of Verona. Romeo reaches the agreement to go the feast with Benvolio, only for the reason that Rosaline, whose name will be present. (BBC Learning) In the household of the Capulets, Juliet talks with Lady Capulet, her mother, and her nursemaid regarding the likelihood of marrying Count Paris.
Although Juliet has not yet well-thought-out about the marriage, she agrees to give Paris a chance during the feast to see whether she’d fall in love with him. (BBC Learning) As the feast begins, Romeo felling melancholy, follows Benvolio and their entertaining friend Mercutio to house of the Capulets. Once they got inside, Romeo sees Juliet from afar and falls in love with her instantly completely forgetting about Rosaline. As Romeo keeps his eyes fixed Juliet, attracted, to the young Capulet, Tybalt the first cousin of Juliet, recognizes him, and becomes furious that a Montague would secretly come to into a Capulet feast.
He gets ready to attack, but Capulet forbids him. Before long, Romeo speaks to Juliet, and the teenagers experience a deep attraction. They even go onto kiss, not even knowing the names of each other. But when he discoveries from Juliet’s nurse that she is the Capulet’s daughter— the enemy of his family—he becomes distressed. When Juliet hears that the young man that she has just kissed is Montague’s son, she grows equally upset as him. (Learning Literature) As Benvolio and Mercutio leave the estate of Capulet, unable to leave Juliet behind Romeo jumps over the orchard hedge into the garden.
From the place he was hiding, he sees his Juliet in a window above the orchard hedge and overhears her voice his name. He gets her attention, and they go on to exchange their vows of love. (BBC Learning) Hurriedly, Romeo goes to see Friar Lawrence who is his friend and confessor. Though taken aback at the unexpected turn of Romeo’s heart, he agrees to secretly marry the young lovers because he understands that their love could be the possible of ending the long-standing feud amid Capulets and Montagues. The next day,
Romeo and Juliet come together at Friar Lawrence’s cell and are wedded. (BBC Learning) The following day, Mercutio and Benvolio encounter Tybalt—Juliet’s first cousin—who, still furious about the fact that Romeo attended feast of the Capulets, and challenges Romeo to a duel. Romeo appears and since by marriage Tybalt is a kinsman, Romeo pleads the Capulets to delay the duel ’til he realizes why Romeo does not want to duel. Disgusted with this appeal for peace, Mercutio declares that he will duel Tybalt himself.
The two of them begin to duel, Romeo attempts to stop them by jumping in to the middle of the combatants. Tybalt stabs Mercutio underneath Romeo’s arm, and Mercutio expires. Enraged by this Romeo, kills Tybalt and thereafter he flees from the scene. Soon after, the Prince sentences him to be banished forever from Verona for crime he committed. Friar Lawrence arrays for Romeo to spend the wedding night with his beloved Juliet ‘til he has to set course for Mantua the next morning. (Learning Literature) In her room, Juliet awaits the arrival of her new husband.
The Nurse enters, and, after some confusion, tells Juliet that Romeo has killed Tybalt. Distraught, Juliet suddenly finds herself married to a man who has killed her kinsman. But she resettles herself, and realizes that her duty belongs with her love: to Romeo. (Learning Literature) Romeo sneaks into Juliet’s room that night, and at last they consummate their marriage and their love. Morning comes, and the lovers bid farewell, unsure when they will see each other again. Juliet learns that her father, affected by the recent events, now intends for her to marry Paris in just three days.
Unsure of how to proceed—unable to reveal to her parents that she is married to Romeo, but unwilling to marry Paris now that she is Romeo’s wife—Juliet asks her nurse for advice. She counsels Juliet to proceed as if Romeo were dead and to marry Paris, who is a better match anyway. Disgusted with the Nurse’s disloyalty, Juliet disregards her advice and hurries to Friar Lawrence. He concocts a plan to reunite Juliet with Romeo in Mantua. The night before her wedding to Paris, Juliet must drink a potion that will make her appear to be dead.
After she is laid to rest in the family’s crypt, the Friar and Romeo will secretly retrieve her, and she will be free to live with Romeo, away from their parents’ feuding. (BBC Learning) Juliet returns home to discover the wedding has been moved ahead one day, and she is to be married tomorrow. That night, Juliet drinks the potion, and the Nurse discovers her, apparently dead, the next morning. The Capulets grieve, and Juliet is entombed according to plan. But Friar Lawrence’s message explaining the plan to Romeo never reaches Mantua.
Its bearer, Friar John, gets confined to a quarantined house. Romeo hears only that Juliet is dead. (Learning Literature) Romeo learns only of Juliet’s death and decides to kill himself rather than live without her. He buys a vial of poison from a reluctant Apothecary, then speeds back to Verona to take his own life at Juliet’s tomb. Outside the Capulet crypt, Romeo comes upon Paris, who is scattering flowers on Juliet’s grave. They fight, and Romeo kills Paris. He enters the tomb, sees Juliet’s inanimate body, drinks the poison, and dies by her side.
Just then, Friar Lawrence enters and realizes that Romeo has killed Paris and himself. At the same time, Juliet awakes. Friar Lawrence hears the coming of the watch. When Juliet refuses to leave with him, he flees alone. Juliet sees her beloved Romeo and realizes he has killed himself with poison. She kisses his poisoned lips, and when that does not kill her, buries his dagger in her chest, falling dead upon his body. (Learning Literature) The watch arrives, followed closely by the Prince, the Capulets, and Montague.
Seeing their children’s bodies, Capulet and Montague agree to end their long-standing feud and to raise gold statues of their children side-by-side in a newly peaceful Verona. (BBC Learning) The plotline for Pride and Prejudice starts with the news that a wealthy young gentleman named Charles Bingley has rented the manor of Netherfield Park causes a great stir in the nearby village of Longbourn, especially in the Bennet household. The Bennets have five unmarried daughters—from oldest to youngest, Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia—and Mrs.
Bennet is desperate to see them all married. After Mr. Bennet pays a social visit to. Mr. Bingley, the Bennets attend a ball at which Mr. Bingley is present. He is taken with Jane and spends much of the evening dancing with her. His close friend, Mr. Darcy, is less pleased with the evening and haughtily refuses to dance with Elizabeth, which makes everyone view him as arrogant and obnoxious. (Austen, 1994) At social functions over subsequent weeks, however, Mr. Darcy finds himself increasingly attracted to Elizabeth’s charm and intelligence. Jane’s friendship with Mr.
Bingley also continues to burgeon, and Jane pays a visit to the Bingley mansion. On her journey to the house she is caught in a downpour and catches ill, forcing her to stay at Netherfield for several days. In order to tend to Jane, Elizabeth hikes through muddy fields and arrives with a spattered dress, much to the disdain of the snobbish Miss Bingley, Charles Bingley’s sister. Miss Bingley’s spite only increases when she notices that Darcy, whom she is pursuing, pays quite a bit of attention to Elizabeth. (Austen, 1994) When Elizabeth and Jane return home, they find Mr. Collins visiting their household.
Mr. Collins is a young clergyman who stands to inherit Mr. Bennet’s property, which has been “entailed,” meaning that it can only be passed down to male heirs. Mr. Collins is a pompous fool, though he is quite enthralled by the Bennet girls. Shortly after his arrival, he makes a proposal of marriage to Elizabeth. She turns him down, wounding his pride. Meanwhile, the Bennet girls have become friendly with militia officers stationed in a nearby town. Among them is Wickham, a handsome young soldier who is friendly toward Elizabeth and tells her how Darcy cruelly cheated him out of an inheritance.(Austen, 1994) At the beginning of winter, the Bingleys and Darcy leave Netherfield and return to London, much to Jane’s dismay. A further shock arrives with the news that Mr. Collins has become engaged to Charlotte Lucas, Elizabeth’s best friend and the poor daughter of a local knight. Charlotte explains to Elizabeth that she is getting older and needs the match for financial reasons. Charlotte and Mr. Collins get married and Elizabeth promises to visit them at their new home. As winter progresses, Jane visits the city to see friends (hoping also that she might see Mr.
Bingley). However, Miss Bingley visits her and behaves rudely, while Mr. Bingley fails to visit her at all. The marriage prospects for the Bennet girls appear bleak. (Austen, 1994) That spring, Elizabeth visits Charlotte, who now lives near the home of Mr. Collins’s patron, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, who is also Darcy’s aunt. Darcy calls on Lady Catherine and encounters Elizabeth, whose presence leads him to make a number of visits to the Collins’s home, where she is staying. One day, he makes a shocking proposal of marriage, which Elizabeth quickly refuses.
She tells Darcy that she considers him arrogant and unpleasant, then scolds him for steering Bingley away from Jane and disinheriting Wickham. Darcy leaves her but shortly thereafter delivers a letter to her. In this letter, he admits that he urged Bingley to distance himself from Jane, but claims he did so only because he thought their romance was not serious. As for Wickham, he informs Elizabeth that the young officer is a liar and that the real cause of their disagreement was Wickham’s attempt to elope with his young sister, Georgiana Darcy.
(Austen, 1994) This letter causes Elizabeth to reevaluate her feelings about Darcy. She returns home and acts coldly toward Wickham. The militia is leaving town, which makes the younger, rather man-crazy Bennet girls distraught. Lydia manages to obtain permission from her father to spend the summer with an old colonel in Brighton, where Wickham’s regiment will be stationed. With the arrival of June, Elizabeth goes on another journey, this time with the Gardiners, who are relatives of the Bennets. The trip takes her to the North and eventually to the neighborhood of Pemberley, Darcy’s estate.
She visits Pemberley, after making sure that Darcy is away, and delights in the building and grounds, while hearing from Darcy’s servants that he is a wonderful, generous master. Suddenly, Darcy arrives and behaves cordially toward her. Making no mention of his proposal, he entertains the Gardiners and invites Elizabeth to meet his sister. (Austen, 1994) Shortly thereafter, however, a letter arrives from home, telling Elizabeth that Lydia has eloped with Wickham and that the couple is nowhere to be found, which suggests that they may be living together out of wedlock.
Fearful of the disgrace such a situation would bring on her entire family, Elizabeth hastens home. Mr. Gardiner and Mr. Bennet go off to search for Lydia, but Mr. Bennet eventually returns home empty-handed. Just when all hope seems lost, a letter comes from Mr. Gardiner saying that the couple has been found and that Wickham has agreed to marry Lydia in exchange for an annual income. The Bennets are convinced that Mr. Gardiner has paid off Wickham, but Elizabeth learns that the source of the money, and of her family’s salvation, was none other than Darcy. (Lierature.org) Now married, Wickham and Lydia return to Longbourn briefly, where Mr. Bennet treats them coldly. They then depart for Wickham’s new assignment in the North of England. Shortly thereafter, Bingley returns to Netherfield and resumes his courtship of Jane. Darcy goes to stay with him and pays visits to the Bennets but makes no mention of his desire to marry Elizabeth. Bingley, on the other hand, presses his suit and proposes to Jane, to the delight of everyone but Bingley’s haughty sister. While the family celebrates, Lady Catherine de Bourgh pays a visit to Longbourn.
She corners Elizabeth and says that she has heard that Darcy, her nephew, is planning to marry her. Since she considers a Bennet an unsuitable match for a Darcy, Lady Catherine demands that Elizabeth promise to refuse him. Elizabeth spiritedly refuses, saying she is not engaged to Darcy, but she will not promise anything against her own happiness. A little later, Elizabeth and Darcy go out walking together and he tells her that his feelings have not altered since the spring. She tenderly accepts his proposal, and both Jane and Elizabeth are married. (Austen, 1994) CHARACTERS
Shakespeare introduces a number of characters in Romeo and Juliet such as Romeo, Juliet, Friar Lawrence and Mercutio. A brief analysis about each character will be elaborated in the following. Romeo -The name Romeo, in popular culture, has become nearly synonymous with “lover. ” Romeo, in Romeo and Juliet, does indeed experience a love of such purity and passion that he kills himself when he believes that the object of his love, Juliet, has died. The power of Romeo’s love, however, often obscures a clear vision of Romeo’s character, which is far more complex.
Even Romeo’s relation to love is not so simple. The love she shares with Romeo is far deeper, more authentic and unique than the cliched puppy love Romeo felt for Rosaline. Her level-headed observations, such as the one about Romeo’s kissing, seem just the thing to snap Romeo from his superficial idea of love and to inspire him to begin to speak some of the most beautiful and intense love poetry ever written. Yet Romeo’s deep capacity for love is merely a part of his larger capacity for intense feeling of all kinds.
Of course, though, had Romeo not had such depths of feeling, the love he shared with Juliet would never have existed in the first place. (BBC Learning) Among his friends, especially while bantering with Mercutio, Romeo shows glimpses of his social persona. Juliet – Having not quite reached her fourteenth birthday, Juliet is of an age that stands on the border between immaturity and maturity. When Lady Capulet mentions Paris’s interest in marrying Juliet, Juliet dutifully responds that she will try to see if she can love him, a response that seems childish in its obedience and in its immature conception of love.
Juliet seems to have no friends her own age, and she is not comfortable talking about sex as seen in her discomfort when the Nurse goes on and on about a sexual joke at Juliet’s expense. (Learning Literature) Juliet gives glimpses of her determination, strength, and sober-mindedness, in her earliest scenes, and offers a preview of the woman she will become during the four-day span of Romeo and Juliet. Juliet will accede to her mother’s wishes, but she will not go out of her way to fall in love with Paris. (BBC Learning) Juliet’s first meeting with Romeo propels her full-force toward adulthood.
Essentially, Juliet cuts herself loose from her prior social moorings—her nurse, her parents, and her social position in Verona—in order to try to reunite with Romeo. (Learning Literature) Friar Lawrence – He occupies a strange position in Romeo and Juliet. He is a kindhearted cleric who helps Romeo and Juliet throughout the play. But Friar Lawrence is also the most scheming and political of characters in the play: he marries Romeo and Juliet as part of a plan to end the civil strife in Verona; he devises the plan to reunite Romeo and Juliet through the deceptive ruse of a sleeping potion that seems to arise from almost mystic knowledge.
In addition, though Friar Lawrence’s plans all seem well conceived and well intentioned, they serve as the main mechanisms through which the fated tragedy of the play occurs. (Literature. org) Mercutio – With a lightning-quick wit and a clever mind, Mercutio is a scene stealer and one of the most memorable characters in all of Shakespeare’s works. The critic Stephen Greenblatt describes Mercutio as a force within the play that functions to deflate the possibility of romantic love and the power of tragic fate.
Unlike the other characters who blame their deaths on fate, Mercutio dies cursing all Montagues and Capulets. (Literature. org) The most important characters in Pride and Prejudice are Elizabeth Bennet, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Jane Bennet and Charles Bingley, Mr. Bennet and Mrs. Bennet. Elizabeth Bennet – The second daughter in the Bennet family, and the most intelligent and quick-witted, Elizabeth is the protagonist of Pride and Prejudice and one of the most well-known female characters in English literature.
Pride and Prejudice is essentially the story of how she and her true love, Darcy overcome all obstacles—including their own personal failings—to find romantic happiness. Elizabeth must not only cope with a hopeless mother, a distant father, two badly behaved younger siblings, and several snobbish, antagonizing females, she must also overcome her own mistaken impressions of Darcy, which initially lead her to reject his proposals of marriage. (Literature. org) Fitzwilliam Darcy – The son of a wealthy, well-established family and the master of the great estate of Pemberley, Darcy is Elizabeth’s male counterpart.
Darcy demonstrates his continued devotion to Elizabeth, in spite of his distaste for her low connections, when he rescues Lydia and the entire Bennet family from disgrace, and when he goes against the wishes of his haughty aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, by continuing to pursue Elizabeth. Darcy proves himself worthy of Elizabeth, and she ends up repenting her earlier, overly harsh judgment of him. (AS Handbook) Jane Bennet and Charles Bingley – Elizabeth’s beautiful elder sister and Darcy’s wealthy best friend, Jane and Bingley engage in a courtship that occupies a central place in the novel.
They are spoken of as a potential couple throughout the book, long before anyone imagines that Darcy and Elizabeth might marry. Jane and Bingley exhibit to the reader true love unhampered by either pride or prejudice, though in their simple goodness, they also demonstrate that such a love is mildly dull. (Literature. org) Mr. Bennet – he is the patriarch of the Bennet household—the husband of Mrs. Bennet and the father of Jane, Elizabeth, Lydia, Kitty, and Mary.
Initially, his dry wit and self-possession in the face of his wife’s hysteria make him a sympathetic figure, but, though he remains likable throughout, the reader gradually loses respect for him as it becomes clear that the price of his detachment is considerable. Detached from his family, he is a weak father and, at critical moments, fails his family. (Learning Literature) Mrs. Bennet – she serves as a middle-class counterpoint to such upper-class snobs as Lady Catherine and Miss Bingley, demonstrating that foolishness can be found at every level of society. In the end, however, Mrs.
Bennet proves such an unattractive figure, lacking redeeming characteristics of any kind, that some readers have accused Austen of unfairness in portraying her—as if Austen, like Mr. Bennet, took perverse pleasure in poking fun at a woman already scorned as a result of her ill breeding. (Learning Literature) NARRATOR/ POINT OF VIEW Romeo and Juliet has both indirect and direct narrating. Insofar as a play has a point of view, that of Romeo and Juliet; occasionally the play uses the point of view of the Montague and Capulet servants to illuminate the actions of their masters.
Pride and Prejudice is narrated in the third-person omniscient and it’s primarily told from Elizabeth Bennet’s point of view. SETTING Romeo and Juliet is set in the thirteenth or fourteenth century in Italy in Verona and Mantua. Much of the action takes place in Juliet’s house. Two cities of Venice are also mentioned in the play. The Capulets and the Montagues, the main families of the play, are from noble lineage and wealth; they dress well, live in fancy surroundings, and are served by many attendants. The play’s basic setting, therefore, is rich and elegant. (Modern world lit) Pride and Prejudice is set in the 19th century in England.
It is set principally in Longbourn, the Hertfordshire country town that is a mile from Meryton and twenty-four miles from London. It is a well-ordered, provincial town, filled with landed gentry and oblivious to the sweeping changes occurring outside the fringes of its narrow, circumscribed vision. (Best Literature) THEMES The themes for Romeo and Juliet are ‘The Forcefulness of Love’, ‘Love as a Cause of Violence’, ‘The Individual versus Society’ and ‘The Inevitability of Fate’. These themes are explained further on. The Forcefulness of Love – Romeo and Juliet is the most famous love story in the English literary tradition.
Love in Romeo and Juliet is a brutal, powerful emotion that captures individuals and catapults them against their world, and, at times, against themselves. The powerful nature of love can be seen in the way it is described, or, more accurately, the way descriptions of it so consistently fail to capture its entirety. Juliet, perhaps, most perfectly describes her love for Romeo by refusing to describe it: “But my true love is grown to such excess / I cannot sum up some of half my wealth”. Love, in other words, resists any single metaphor because it is too powerful to be so easily contained or understood.
Romeo and Juliet does not make a specific moral statement about the relationships between love and society, religion, and family. (Modern world lit) (BBC Education) Love as a Cause of Violence – The themes of death and violence permeate Romeo and Juliet, and they are always connected to passion, whether that passion is love or hate. The passionate love between Romeo and Juliet is linked from the moment of its inception with death: Tybalt notices that Romeo has crashed the feast and determines to kill him just as Romeo catches sight of Juliet and falls instantly in love with her.
Romeo and Juliet are plagued with thoughts of suicide, and a willingness to experience it: Romeo brandishes a knife in Friar Lawrence’s cell and threatens to kill himself after he has been banished from Verona and his love. (BBC Education) The Individual versus Society – Much of Romeo and Juliet involves the lovers’ struggles against public and social institutions that either explicitly or implicitly oppose the existence of their love. For example, Juliet calls Romeo “the god of my idolatry,” elevating Romeo to level of God. But the social emphasis placed on masculine honor is so profound that Romeo cannot simply ignore them.
It is possible to see Romeo and Juliet as a battle between the responsibilities and actions demanded by social institutions and those demanded by the private desires of the individual. (BBC Learning) The Inevitability of Fate – In its first address to the audience, the Chorus states that Romeo and Juliet are “star-crossed”—that is to say that fate; a power often vested in the movements of the stars controls them. These events are not mere coincidences, but rather manifestations of fate that help bring about the unavoidable outcome of the young lovers’ deaths.
The concept of fate described above is the most commonly accepted interpretation. There are other possible readings of fate in the play: as a force determined by the powerful social institutions that influence Romeo and Juliet’s choices, as well as fate as a force that emerges from Romeo and Juliet’s very personalities. (Dramas) The themes for Pride and Prejudice are ‘Love’, ‘Reputation’ and ‘Class’. They are explained further in the following. Love – Pride and Prejudice contains one of the most cherished love stories in English literature: the courtship between Darcy and Elizabeth.
One could also say that Elizabeth is guilty of prejudice and Darcy of pride—the title cuts both ways. Austen, meanwhile, poses countless smaller obstacles to the realization of the love between Elizabeth and Darcy, including Lady Catherine’s attempt to control her nephew, Miss Bingley’s snobbery, Mrs. Bennet’s idiocy, and Wickham’s deceit. Darcy and Elizabeth’s realization of a mutual and tender love seems to imply that Austen views love as something independent of these social forces, as something that can be captured if only an individual is able to escape the warping effects of hierarchical society.(Austen 1994) Reputation – Pride and Prejudice depicts a society in which a woman’s reputation is of the utmost importance. At other points, the ill-mannered, ridiculous behavior of Mrs. Bennet gives her a bad reputation with the more refined and snobbish Darcys and Bingleys. Austen pokes gentle fun at the snobs in these examples, but later in the novel, when Lydia elopes with Wickham and lives with him out of wedlock, the author treats reputation as a very serious matter. By becoming Wickham’s lover without benefit of marriage, Lydia clearly places herself outside the social pale, and her disgrace threatens the entire Bennet family.
The happy ending of Pride and Prejudice is certainly emotionally satisfying, but in many ways it leaves the theme of reputation, and the importance placed on reputation, unexplored. (Austen 1994) Class – The theme of class is related to reputation, in that both reflect the strictly regimented nature of life for the middle and upper classes in Regency England. While the Bennets’, who are middle class, may socialize with the upper-class Bingley’s and Darcy’s, they are clearly their social inferiors and are treated as such.
Through the Darcy-Elizabeth and Bingley-Jane marriages, Austen shows the power of love and happiness to overcome class boundaries and prejudices, thereby implying that such prejudices are hollow, unfeeling, and unproductive. Of course, this whole discussion of class must be made with the understanding that Austen herself is often criticized as being a classist: she doesn’t really represent anyone from the lower classes; Austen does criticize class structure but only a limited slice of that structure. (Austen 1994) MOTIFS
For Motifs in Romeo and Juliet, Light/Dark Imagery and Opposite Points of View are be described in the following. Light/Dark Imagery – One of the play’s most consistent visual motifs is the contrast between light and dark, often in terms of night/day imagery. On the contrary, light and dark are generally used to provide a sensory contrast and to hint at opposed alternatives. Romeo, forced to leave for exile in the morning, and Juliet, not wanting him to leave her room, both try to pretend that it is still night, and that the light is actually darkness: “More light and light, more dark and dark our woes”.(AS Handbook) Opposite Points of View – Shakespeare includes numerous speeches and scenes in Romeo and Juliet that hint at alternative ways to evaluate the play. Mercutio serves as a critic of the delusions of righteousness and grandeur held by the characters around him. Where Mercutio is a nobleman who openly criticizes other nobles, the views offered by servants in the play are less explicit. There is the Nurse wholost her baby and husband, the servant Peter who cannot read, the musicians who care about their lost wages and their lunches, and the Apothecary who cannot afford to make the moral choice, the lower classes present a second tragic world to counter that of the nobility. (AS Handbook) For Motifs in Pride and Prejudice, courtship and journeys are described as follows. Courtship – In a sense, Pride and Prejudice is the story of two courtships—those between Darcy and Elizabeth and between Bingley and Jane.
Within this broad structure appear other, smaller courtships: Mr. Collins’s aborted wooing of Elizabeth, followed by his successful wooing of Charlotte Lucas; Courtship becomes a sort of forge of a person’s personality, and each courtship becomes a microcosm for different sorts of love or different ways to abuse love as a means to social advancement. (AS Handbook) Journeys – Nearly every scene in Pride and Prejudice takes place indoors, and the action centers around the Bennet home in the small village of Longbourn.
The third journey, meanwhile, sends various people in pursuit of Wickham and Lydia, and the journey ends with Darcy tracking them down and saving the Bennet family honor, in the process demonstrating his continued devotion to Elizabeth. (Austen 1994) SYMBOLS In Romeo and Juliet; poison, thumb biting, and queen mab are the three main symbols and they’re described in the following. Poison – In his first appearance, Friar Lawrence remarks that every plant, herb, and stone has its own special properties, and that nothing exists in nature that cannot be put to both good and bad uses.
Similarly, Romeo suggests that society is to blame for the apothecary’s criminal selling of poison, because while there are laws prohiting the Apothecary from selling poison, there are no laws that would help the apothecary make money. Poison symbolizes human society’s tendency to poison good things and make them fatal, just as the pointless Capulet-Montague feud turns Romeo and Juliet’s love to poison. (Modern world lit) Thumb-biting – at the beginning, the buffoonish Samson begins a brawl between the Montagues and Capulets by flicking his thumbnail from behind his upper teeth, an insulting gesture known as biting the thumb.
He engages in this juvenile and vulgar display because he wants to get into a fight with the Montagues but doesn’t want to be accused of starting the fight by making an explicit insult. (Modern world lit) Queen Mab – Mercutio delivers a dazzling speech about the fairy Queen Mab, who rides through the night on her tiny wagon bringing dreams to sleepers. One of the most noteworthy aspects of Queen Mab’s ride is that the dreams she brings generally do not bring out the best sides of the dreamers, but instead serve to confirm them in whatever vices they are addicted to—for example, greed, violence, or lust.
Through the Queen Mab imagery, Mercutio suggests that all desires and fantasies are as nonsensical and fragile as Mab, and that they are basically corrupting. (BBC Education) In Pride and Prejudice; Pemberly, is the main symbol and it’s described as follows. Pemberley – “In front,” she writes, “a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. ” Darcy possesses a “natural importance” that is “swelled” by his arrogance, but which coexists with a genuine honesty and lack of “artificial appearance. ” Like the stream, he is neither “formal, nor falsely adorned.” Pemberley even offers a symbol-within-a-symbol for their budding romance: when Elizabeth encounters Darcy on the estate, she is crossing a small bridge, suggesting the broad gulf of misunderstanding and class prejudice that lies between them—and the bridge that their love will build across it. (Modern world lit) CONCLUSION Both Romeo and Juliet and Pride and Prejudice are well made dramas that are very famous. Though at first glance, you may say that both novels are similar. Though both stories revolve around family and love, we see the differences in lifestyles and the different aspects of life in each era.
After analyzing the plot, characters, context, setting, narrator, themes, motifs and symbols I came to the conclusion that the Romeo and Juliet has made a greater contribution literature than the Pride and Prejudice although at first it wasn’t easy to conclude which one’s better. Both are great stories and suitable for anyone to read as they are rich literature texts. REFERENCES www. literaure. org Austen, J. (1994). Pride and Prejudice Modern world lit Best literature AS Handbook www. bbcedu. com/literature www. bbclearning. com