The Power of Older Men in Romeo and Juliet

3 March 2017

The power of older men in Romeo and Juliet In William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet written in the late 1500s had a much different structure of government than that of today’s society. Traits such as gender and age played a major role in those times, and it is seen throughout the story that the older men have the ability to make decisions for the rest of the community with social status less than them. Such events as the decrees of the prince, the choices of the friar, and the commands of Lord Capulet all greatly influence Romeo and Juliet to take different paths throughout the story.

These all greatly influence the course of the story, as the older men of the community decide such things as who shall be married and what the consequences of specific actions will be. As stated before, the prince is very influential in his first appearance and all throughout the story. Whilst breaking up the street fight in the beginning, he boldly dictates, “If ever you disturb our streets again, / Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace” (1. 1. 104-105). In turn, both the Montagues and the Capulets attempt to try and keep the peace.

This is seen at the Capulet’s party, when Tybalt recognizes Romeo, but Lord Capulet convinces Tybalt to keep to himself to avoid punishment. The prince also effects the events of the story later on, when he makes the decision to banish Romeo instead of kill him. He states, “And for that offense / Immediately we do exile him hence” (3. 1. 202-203). Exiling Romeo causes following events to take place, and as Romeo is not there to speak with the Friar, he is misinformed about the death of Juliet and takes his own life.

Friar Laurence is also an influential character for the duration of the story. Upon agreeing to marry Romeo and Juliet, the friar believes to be doing a humble act, causing the end of the Montague and Capulet feud. Although he is willing to give his life later for the events he has caused, he is not completely sure it is his fault. Friar Laurence declares, “If aught in this / Miscarried by my fault, let my old life / Be sacrificed, by some hour before his time, / Unto the rigor of the severest law” (5. . 290-293). This clearly shows he is aware that it may have been his fault, and that he feels terribly about the whole calamity. The friar, although not completely knowing it, twists the events to occur as they do throughout the story, ending badly for both the Montagues and the Capulets. The story is greatly influenced by another high ranking male, Lord Capulet. Throughout the story, he attempts to save himself any trouble, and make himself look as good as possible.

Some of the actions he chooses to follow result in the story unfolding in a completely different direction and ruining Romeo and Juliet’s plans, as he does many things spontaneously without asking anybody else what they think about the matter at hand. An event with this clear is when he arranges Juliet’s marriage to Paris, without consulting his wife or Juliet beforehand. Without faltering he declares to his wife, “A Thursday let it be-a Thursday, tell her, / She shall be married to this noble earl” (3. . 23-24). Juliet is forcefully against the said marriage, as she has already wed Romeo and loves him dear, and makes quite rash decisions because of it. Capulet clearly leaves his mark on the story, altering the way everything comes together in an attempt to improve his social status, but ending in the death of his daughter and her beloved. Romeo and Juliet, a well distinguished novel all throughout history clearly shows the influence of different men in power in the story.

Each decision and decree by them influences the course of the story, and much happens solely based on these choices. The ending of the story, in which many are killed and all are grieved, might have been avoided with different decisions made, but each of them believes they know what they are doing and that it is for the best of everyone to follow them in what they choose. It weighs heavily on some of these characters that their decisions caused so much distress, and they learn from their mistakes and come together in the end

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