Romeo and Juliet as a Tragedy


ROMEO AND JULIET AS A TRAGEDY
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is his eleventh play. It is with no doubt a tragedy.
Shakespeare has included all the necessary elements for a tragedy. The play has a tragic hero
of high standing who dies. The hero opposes some conflicting force. The hero has a tragic
flaw and this flaw will lead to his downfall and the downfall of others. Good is always
wasted driving out evil. Indeed, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy.
In Romeo and Juliet, Romeo is the tragic hero. He is the only son of the Montague
family, therefor he is of high standing and very wealthy. He is so well respected that even
Capulet, His family’s sworn enemy praises him:
…let him alone,,
He bears him like a portly gentlemen;
And, to say truth, Verona brags of him
To be a virtuous and well-govern’d youth.
I would not for the wealth of all this town
Here in my house do him disparagement…(I.IV.65-70)

This means that among the people of Verona, Romeo is very well respected, and he would
not do any harm to Romeo at that time. Romeo is the hero in this story. Romeo must die
along with Juliet in order to stop the families’ feud.
The conflicting force which Romeo opposes is the fact that he is a Montague that is in
love with a Capulet; his family’s sworn enemy. The Montagues and the Capulets have been
feuding for many years. Romeo is a Montague and he is born into the feud. He does not like
it and he feels that it is a waste. Romeo has to disobey his family so he can be with Juliet.
In this play, Romeo’s tragic flaw is that he is always melancholy, miserable, and
downcast, and Romeo is always in love, and when he falls in love, he falls hard. Romeo is
depressed over Rosaline. Romeo is very disheartened over her and it seems he has been like
this for some time already. Montague tells us this when he says Romeo “…Shuts up his
windows, locks fair daylight out, / And makes himself an artificial night...”(I. I. 135-137).
Romeo has a major problem. Even after he meets Juliet, he is very sad because he discovers
that she is a Capulet. Shortly after, he is banished from Verona and is very downcast once
again over the fact that he will not be able is see Juliet again. Romeo is so extremely in love
that he says that instead of being banished, he would rather be dead. When Friar Laurence
gives Romeo the news of his banishment Romeo replies by saying “Ha, banishment! Be
merciful, say “death”;…” (III. III. 12). Romeo feels that “There is no world outside of
Verona walls, / But purgatory, torture hell itself…”(III. III. 17-18). Romeo is so much in
love with Juliet that he wants to kill himself when he discovers that she is dead. Clearly,
Romeo’s tragic flaw is his tendency to be melancholy.
This flaw of Romeo’s, which is his utterly immense sadness, leads to his downfall and
the downfall of others. At the tomb, Montague states that lady Montague “is dead to-night;
/ Grief of my son’s exile hath stopp’d her breath…” (V. III. 210-211). Because Romeo is
banished from Verona, Lady Montague dies. Romeo’s fall not only leads to the downfall of
Lady Capulet, but it also leads to the downfall of Juliet, Tybalt, Mercutio, and Paris. Romeo
goes to Juliet’s tomb, kisses her, takes the poison, and dies. This action of his leads to the
death of Juliet. Juliet sees Romeo dead, and tries to get some poison from his lips to hers.
Unable to succeed, she takes his dagger out and kills herself. Romeo causes the death of
Mercutio, and Tybalt. If Romeo was not trying to make peace with Tybalt, Mercutio would
not have tried to defend Romeo. Mercutio feels that Romeo is afraid to fight Tybalt and he
wants to defend him. Romeo only wishes to make peace with Tybalt because now he is a
relative of his. Paris dies by trying to defend the Capulets tomb from Romeo. Paris feels
that Romeo has come to the tomb “...to do some villainous shame / To the dead
bodies…”(V. III. 52-53) and dies