According to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, there is the chorus, “From ancient grudge break to new mutiny where civil blood makes civil hands unclean” .
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There is an attempt to make a social statement throughout the staging of violence-that the idea of violence is portrayed as universal. At the first scene, there a quarrel that arises between poor peasants and soldiers. The fight is sparked off by a few uttered words. However, of the many characters in the scene, there is big reaction to the words. Ultimately, there is a big conflict. In the first scene 83-95, Shakespeare uses the recitation by Prince; to portray how who are not directly engaged into the enmity between the Capulet and Montague families get involved in the conflict with the families. Among the cast, two characters, Friar and the Nurse, are non-violent but after are affected into it and have to get along with it. With the characters that are not directly involved in the fight and the non-violent characters in violent situation, Shakespeare implies that violence is universal.
Among the statement made by the characters to portray violence as universal are the Samson’s reply to Gregory in I, i, 8 “a dog of the house of Montague moves me”, the Prince’s recitation in Scene I, I, 83-95,”…You men, you beasts, (to)…cankered with peace, to part your cankered hate”, the Paris’ question Scene V,iii,65, “Can vengeance be pursued further than death?” and Scene III,I, 123, where Romeo says, “fire-eyed fury be my conduct now.”
Shakespeare takes these depressing images and turn violence into a vision of hope by killing the two characters in his play, Romeo and Juliet, in the Juliet’s tomb and it serves to give their two fathers enlightenment that for their children were sacrificed on the altar of their enmity. This gives them a kind of conscious where the death of the two children ends their enmity. The Capulet’s comments on Scene V, iii, 303 sums it all,” poor sacrifices of our enmity.” Peace is the result of the sacrifices.
According to the adaptations of Romeo and Juliet we viewed in class, it can be said that the play serves to support that offering a dramatic experience of violence is morally accepted for audiences to enjoy and consume for its presumably redemptive qualities. In Act V, Romeo has taken the decision to die, saying he can’t live without Juliet, has an encounter with an apothecary and requests for the killer drug. The apothecary confides to Romeo that indeed he has the killer drug, but he is compelled to sell it by his requirement of money and not his good ethics. Afterwards, the apothecary is paid and Romeo takes the drug with him to Juliet’s borrowed grave. Romeo plans suicide, merely because Romeo was not aware of Juliet’s borrowed grave, and it is morally acceptable because the simple pretenses-such as where Romeo was kept away from Juliet’s plans- which humans overlook could trigger protracted acts of violence.
In the scene where Romeo visit Juliet’s borrowed grave and encounter Paris, who is also grieving Juliet, they fight and Romeo wins over Paris by severely wounding him. Paris implores Romeo to bury him with Juliet. Shakespeare uses this opportunity to reveal the identity of the slain Paris and it is then that he recognizes who he was. If only he had known him before, but unfortunately, the mistake had already been done. The play supports that offering a dramatic experience of violence as accepted morally for the audience to consume its redemptive qualities because it sears into their minds moral lessons such as, for example in our case, the simple step that could be taken to avert the violence that claimed Paris.
With today’s Theatre becoming a vehicle for expressing daily atrocities, it cannot be disclaimed that the public has become increasingly desensitized. However, Theatre plays don’t hold the caliber of the violence depicted by their adaptations into movies. Movies makers are equipped with high-tech machines and with features such as video tricks; it is the adaptation that desensitizes the public. In my view, more plays which explore the effects of violence on the psyche should be made. This is because, most of what they depict is “real”, whether actual or imagined in people’s minds. However, mainly because desensitization mostly occurs to the very young people, these Theatre plays, whether direct or indirect should be PG rated. To cite an example, tragic movies should not be viewed by people who may be adversely affected by them, such as those under the age of nine.
In the play Medea, dramatizations of how violence corresponds to familial rage and emptiness are dramatized in several ways. In this play, the playwright creates an outlook of how the experiences undergone by humans, compels the maltreated to fight immoral intentions. Medea, a non-Greek, has left her father and home for the sake of Jason (Illies, 1997). Thus, she was in exile. When Jason marries Glauce, the Corinth’s ruler’s daughter, it serves as a mighty blow to their once happy marriage. Medea has self-dialogues and inner disagreements on how she is planning to execute her revenge on Jason. Powered by her own emotions and her reasoning, Medea pursues what she views as self fulfillment, her poetic justice.
The playwright uses the Nurse character to show how in marriage, women are supposed to heed their husbands by Medea has gone against that “natural order” by following her own decisions, going against the traditions about husbands and children. In the scene where Jason utters “filthy coward”; it compels Medea to wage a war against Jason by first overcoming her emotions. In the play, Medea has hatred for her life and that she would rather die than go into exile. Even as the play comes to close, it is evident that Medea carried her son’s killings not out of hatred for them, but as an avenue to revenge and instill hatred in Jason.
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