Right from the start Shakespeare makes it clear that there is tension between the two families. He does in the prologue by saying ‘From ancient grudge break to new mutiny’. This shows the families quarrel and fight. He also says ‘the fearful passage of their death mark’d love, and the continuance of there parents’ rage’. By saying this he is showing that the parents are still arguing even though disastrous events have occurred to both their children.
The first part of conflict that you see is in Act 1 Scene 1 between the two families is with the servants of the house of Capulet, Sampson and Gregory they are talking about the Montague’s servants in a nasty way sort of making fun. Sampson says ‘ I will push Montague’s men from the wall, and thrust his maids to the wall’ he is saying that they have no quarrel with women and that he would push the maids against the wall in a sexual way. He says this because he thinks himself and Gregory would have better luck with the ladies.
The next part is with the servants of the houses Sampson, Gregory and Benvolio (house of Capulet) Abram and Balthasar (house of Montague). Shakespeare had made Sampson bite his thumb at Abram by doing this the reaction was bad because in Elizabethan times it was a gesture of defiance. When he does this they begin to argue it creates tension and make you want to read more because you are not sure what will happen. Following on from that Benvolio is then brought in to the scene and says ‘part, fools!
Put up your swords, you know not what you do’, he tells them to get out the swords to fight which shows more tension between the two families. When the prince has his say he makes sure that the families know that they need to grow up because there was no need for this fight he tells them with very stern words like ‘If you ever disturb our streets again, Your lives shall pay for the forfeit of the peace’. This means that they will be sentenced to the death penalty if they violate this peace. They may also disturbed the peace because it was a Sunday and which is a day of rest especially in Italy as it is a very religious country.
From this we can see the tension between the families, as it has gotten so bad that they have been condemned to death. Benvolio tries to explain that Tybalt that initiated the fight by drawing his sword first (by doing this he blames them) although he says that he too did draw his sword. He also says that there were people on both sides and was not his fault. More tension as he tries to blame them. In Act 1 Scene 2 Romeo reads a letter for a servant, which says about a party in the Capulet’s house Romeo finds out that Rosaline (the woman he loves) will be attending this party.
‘My fair niece Rosaline and Livia’ This is the part of the invitation that led Romeo into thinking that going to a Capulet party was a good idea even though it was his families enemies party! This part creates a bit of tension because it makes you wonder what will happen if Romeo actually goes to the party. Romeo decides to go to the Capulets masquerade party along with Mercutio his best friend and others. By even stepping in the Capulets house makes you think that he’s taking a risk, as he’s a Montague from the rival family.
When Tybalt sees him obviously he reacts in a bad way and gets very angry and straight away he goes to his uncle and tells him. ‘Uncle this is a Montague, our foe: A villain that is hither come in spite to scorn at our solemnity this night’ this means that he thinks that a Montague came into their house even though they despite him. His uncle doesn’t react in the same way he is more laid back and tells Tybalt ‘Content thee, gentle coz, let him alone a bears him like a portly gentleman;’ this means for him to calm down stay dignified and leave him alone he has done no harm.
Although it seems like he is sticking up for Romeo Tybalt doesn’t like it and from this you can see more tension. Later during the party Romeo and Juliet have their first meeting and happen to kiss. When Juliet realizes that he is then a Montague it creates more tension. You can tell this because she goes on to say ‘prodigious birth of love it is to me that I must love a loathed enemy. ‘ By saying this she means that she thinks that she has fallen in love with her enemy. This adds to the drama because the families are enemies and for her to have fallen in love with a Montague is betrayal.
During Juliet’s soliloquy in Act two Scene two she starts to talk about Romeo and about how much she loves him. She knows that he is a Montague and then starts to talk about that as well she says one of the most famous lines from Shakespeare which is ‘O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name;’ She is asking why is your name Romeo. This shows that being with him is wrong only because of his name. She then goes onto say another famous line which is ‘what’s in a name?
That which we call a rose by any other word that would smell as sweet’ she is asking why should his name matter he has done nothing wrong but his family have. Act two Scene three Romeo is determined to marry Juliet straight away and goes to friar Lawrence’s cell to ask him whether he would do it. He tries to persuade him that it’s the right thing to do because he loves Juliet so much, even though Friar Lawrence thinks that he is still in love with Rosaline and cannot just go from loving her to loving Juliet.
During a conversation with Benvolio and Mercutio, Mercutio describes Tybalt as the prince of cats and a courageous captain of compliments. Captain of compliments means art of dueling i. e. in the latest Italian style. This adds to the drama because the audience now think he’s complimenting him this may confuse them. Friar Lawrence says yes to marrying Juliet Capulet into the Montague family he thinks that if he does this then he might solve some of the problems between the two rival arguing families.
‘In one respect I’ll thy assistant be: for this alliance may so happy prove to turn your households rancour to pure love’. This is proof that he thinks this. Even thought by doing this he is taking a risk because it could back fire and turn out to be a very bad decision causing more tension drama and even death. This all adds to the drama because of the way it’s written. Shakespeare purposely writes it in this way to make you want to keep watching or reading and wonder what will happen next.