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Conflict Is Investigated In Romeo And Juliet English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 2232 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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In the opening lines of Wilfred Owens Dulce Et Decorum Est he describes the men in the war as old beggars under sacks. The word old suggests that even though the soldiers who signed up are only young they have gained as much experience as an old man. The simile also uses the word ‘beggars’ which shows how the men begged for glory but ended up fighting for survival. The word ‘under’ also implies that they are being weighed down which shows the physical effects of conflict how overwhelming the whole experience can be.

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Wifred describes the dreams that he dreams of in the night, ‘In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, he plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. The word ‘all’ shows that all involved in conflict will inevitably experience the effects of it. The word helpless shows that he does not have any control over the thoughts that he is thinking and the emotive language: Guttering, choking, drowning really emphasises that conflict can cause and it makes the readers imagine what conflict is really like.

‘”The Send-Off” is a poem written about WW1 soldiers going off to war to fight for the country. The tone of the poem is sombre. ‘so secretly like wrongs hushed up…darkening’. Even though there has been a celebration, it is not a joyous scene. This demonstrates Owens anger towards the situation. The ‘send-off’ could mean two things. Firstly, it could mean that the soldiers were being sent off to war. However, it could also mean that the soldiers were being “sent off” to their deaths. This emphasizes the fact that war actually is not what it is thought to be.

Owen uses the oxymoron, “grimly gay” this gives the impression that the soldiers know what is going to happen to them and they are scared, but they put on a brave face anyway so as not to upset their families, each-other and also, if they don’t admit their fear to themselves, then maybe it will go away.

We are told of the negativity of conflict. The men are going down ‘close darkening lanes’. The words ‘down’ and ‘darkening’ create a gloomy atmosphere; quite like a funeral procession. The men are on the way to their final resting place. It is also foreshadowing their certain fate, death.

‘A few, a few, too few’ emphasises how few men survived the war. He believes that there should not be that many people who died and it is unfair. It shows the effects of conflict and how many people are killed, too many.

‘Base Details is a poem by Siegfried Sassoon and is about how better off the majors were in the First World War, compared to the young men dying on the front line. It goes into details about how the higher ranking soldiers were unfit old men who sat doing nothing.  It has a regular rhyme scheme throughout the poem apart from the last two lines.

Sassoon suggests that the majors are lazy and in poor condition by using certain words and sentences, ‘If I was fierce, and bald, and out of breath, I’d be with the scarlet majors at the base’. Here Sassoon is saying that all of the scarlet majors are in poor condition. ‘You’d see me with my puffy petulant face’. This implies that the majors are fat by the word ‘puffy’ and petulant means impatient. You can feel the anger of Sassoon just by the words that he has chosen to use and it has an effect on the readers. This compares with Elder Capulet and Elder Montague who both don’t partake in the violence like the Scarlett majors.

In the second stanza of Dulce Et Decorum Est, I think that the gas attack is the most effective use of poetry in this poem. ‘GAS! , Gas! Quick, Boys’ the repetition of the gas symbolises of deadly conflict can be and how much danger there was in that situation. The word, ‘quick’ relates to the sense of urgency needed. And the word ‘boys’ again emphasises how young the men are fighting and are having to deal with these types of conflict every day in the war. The gas can refer to conflict and how it is contagious and spreads, it engulfs people and there is no escape unless they are quick to react. Like in Romeo and Juliet it gets out of hand.

He uses a large amount of negative adjectives towards the end of the poem ‘Smothering, hanging, corrupted, bitter, vile and incurable. He uses these words to emphasise how awful conflict is and it shows the horrors of the situation and makes the readers think more about how bad conflict actually is. However, he uses some positive words to describe war such as ‘high zest’ suggesting there may be some positive effects that conflict can bring.

He then goes onto metaphorically describe the gas that the enemies have thrown at him, ‘dim through the misty panes and thick green light’. The thick greenish glass of the gas mask and the greenish fumes of the gas make Wilfred feel that he is viewing an underwater scene.

In ‘the send-off’ he asks the readers a rhetorical question, ‘shall they return to beating of great bells in wide train loads?’ This encourages the reader to think about the amount of lives lost. It also shows uncertainty surrounding the number of people to come back home alive.

In ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ he describes how the gas effected one of his fellow soldiers. “Floundering like a man in fire or lime”. he uses of the simile to express the burning and blistering effect and the pain caused by the mustard gas. The word lime refers to the type of gas that the people would throw at enemies in an attempt to blind them or to wound them. The word floundering describes how helpless the soldiers were when they were being attacked and they knew there fate once they came into contact with this gas which made it very fearful during WW1.

In ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ he describes the appearance of the soldiers with ‘incurable scar on innocent tongues’. We are again informed of how young they are with the word ‘innocent’. It says incurable scars because scars are incurable just like conflict and it links with the dreams that he was having in the third stanza, they couldn’t go away and it will stay with him for the rest of his life.

In Romeo and Juliet conflict is the main theme throughout is conflict, especially in Act 1 Scene 1 and Act 3 Scene 1.

In the prologue of the play we are informed of the ‘ancient grudge’. The word ancient tells us that the grudge started a long time ago and the real reason of it is probably forgotten. And the word grudge shows the results of conflict. The word ‘grudge’ also shows the long lasting effects of conflict.

In the prologue the fate of Romeo and Juliet is foreshadowed, ‘star-cross’d lovers. This shows the inevitable fate of Romeo and Juliet. We are also told of how contagious conflict can be ‘civil blood makes civil hands unclean’. The word ‘civil shows that the ‘grudge’ has gone beyond private and into the street of Verona, which highlights how infectious conflict can be. The word ‘blood’ implies death which shows the dangerous aspects of conflict, the word ‘unclean reminds us of the long-term effects of conflict, like scars. This compares with ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ and the ‘vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues.’

Harsh language is used to describe death like in the poems, ‘as obscene as cancer’ and in act 3 scenes 1 of Romeo and Juliet ‘made worms meat of me’ which makes the reader think of the obscene things that conflict brings.

In the opening scene of the play, Samson and Gregory discuss the quarrel between the montage’s and the Capulet’s. Their tedious exchange emphasise their lack of with and are humorous to the audience: “My naked weapon is out: quarrel, I will back thee.” This base and uneducated altercation reveals the status of the characters; their euphemisms reveal their vulgar tendencies. However, this also informs the audience of the issues between the two families. Shakespeare does this to gradually increase the tension to the scene before Benvolio and Tybalt arrive.

In act 3 scene 1 we are told of the warning that the Prince has given them, ‘if you ever disturb our streets again your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace’. This is a tense time in the play and the audience anticipate a fight .The Prince shows authority throughout the play.

The characters in Romeo & Juliet have a strong sense of honour. Shakespeare shows that they are easily tempered and drawn into duels and find it difficult to ignore insults because they think that if they are insulted, the rest of the family are insulted. The feud is causing violence and deaths but they still want to carry on fighting which shows that they care more about honour than they do about life.

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Benvolio acts as the peacemaker throughout the play; he creates tension when he gives a warning because we know that conflict is approaching: let’s retire; the day is hot…these hot days is the mad blood stirring. This reflects Shakespeare’s beliefs that when the day was hot then people would become easily angered. This use of personification has several effects. Firstly, the word ‘mad, tells us that people could lose their minds when it was hot, which was the belief during the Elizabethan times. It also suggests that people could become ‘mad’ and kill others over a small petty grudge. The word ‘stirring’ also suggests that it is getting worse and implying that more conflict is on the way.

During Tybalt’s arrival the atmosphere changes from being friendly to suspenseful because of Tybalt’s unpredictable and trouble-causing reputation. Benvolio sees the Capulet’s and is worried ‘by my head here come the Capulet’s’. However, Benvolio personality conflicts towards Mercutio’s sarcastic outlook, ‘by my heel I care not’.

When Mercutio’s is stabbed by Tybalt’s he is angry at both houses because he believes that the petty ‘grudge’ that they have for each other is the reason that he is about to die. He makes the comment ‘a’ plague a’ both houses’, this shows that he is blaming both the Capulet’s and the Montague’s. The word ‘plague’ links to the ‘bubonic plague’ which was infectious and long lasting, like the effects of conflict. It shows that Mercutio wants there suffering to be long and painful like the ‘ancient grudge’. This word both shows that both sides are receiving the blame and not just the Capulet’s. Mercutio is brave in his death, like the soldiers are in death, they mask their fear

Later in act 3 scene 1 (after Romeo killed Tybalt) Romeo announces ‘o’ I am fortunes fool’. He has realised the outcome of conflict is anything but good and he thinks that he has been cheated by fortune and he has no control over his actions. This is not true and he has only himself to blame for what he has done. The personification of fortune suggests that Romeo is being controlled like a puppet which highlights how powerful the effects of conflict are.

When Tybalt is verbally attacking Romeo,’ thou… art a villain’. Romeo cannot say anything provocative back to Tybalt because he is his family because he is married to Juliet. Tybalt is his cousin-in-law at this time but Tybalt does not know this, however the audience do; this creates a suspenseful scene.

During the death of Mercutio he calls out to Romeo ‘Ay ay a scratch, marry, ’tis enough where is my page? Go, villain, fetch a surgeon’. Mercutio plays down his injuries verbally to the audience but he sends his helper to fetch a doctor. Mercutio doesn’t believe that his injuries are as serious as they are due to the manner which speaks.

In act 1 scene 1 Sampson of the Capulet house Sampson makes a disrespectful gesture aimed towards Abraham of the Montague house. ‘Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?’ During the 16th century this was a rude gesture and it meant great disrespect towards who it was aimed at. This shows that even the slaves of the two houses conflict against each other and it is not just the leaders who argue.

Both Romeo & Juliet and the poems shows there love and passion for their country (poems) and for their families (Romeo & Juliet) and they are willing to die for their honour and glory. Conflict in both ends in futile loss of life. After Romeo says that he is ‘Fortunes fool.’ This conveys the irony that can be compared with the title ‘dulce et decorum est.’ the word base is usually described as somebody without moral principle, this can relate to how conflict is. People who participate in conflict are generally people with moral principle; like the Montague’s and Capulet’s in Romeo and Juliet


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