I will be looking at the conflicts between families in Romeo and Juliet, and how they are shown in the play. Some conflicts are conveyed as private, the other as public, I will try to describe a public conflict, and a private conflict.
I will define a public conflict as an argument shown outside the household; more than one family would be involved, and it would be in the sight of the public or onlookers.
I will define a private conflict as an argument which is taken place within the household of one family.Order now
I will look at two scenes which clearly show two very different conflicts between families, I will look at how they affect the outside world and change relations between their own families.
Romeo and Juliet is an infamous play by William Shakespeare, it is a classic romance play about two lovers torn between an ancient conflicts between their families.
Romeo belongs to the Montague household, and Juliet to the Capulet, there is a conflict between the two families which is widely known throughout the town.
Romeo and Juliet meet at a Capulet party and immediately fall in love, as the both of them are from families which have an ancient quarrel with each other, they sneak around with their private love, and eventually get secretly get married without anyone knowing.
I will now look at my first scene in depth and end in a conclusion to whether this conflict if private or public.
Romeo is on his way back from his secret wedding with Juliet when he bumps into an argument between Tybalt and Mercutio.
Tybalt wants a fight with Romeo for intruding into the Capulet party, Tybalt heard Romeos voice and wants revenge as Romeo has caused shame to the Capulet family; Mercutio is defending the Montague family on behalf of Romeo, Benvolio on the other hand wants to make peace between the both of them, he is trying to persuade the two men that people are watching and this fight will result is the men involved with the fight being executed by the Prince. This scene had begun with a violent tone, and I can see that things are going to get much worse in time.
As usual, neither the Capulet nor the Montague care about the consequences, only about getting their own way, in this particular case, Tybalt wants a fight with Romeo.
Romeo returns happy in love with the cousin of the man who now wants to kill him. He returns from his secret marriage, not being allowed to share his good news with the world, to find another fight on the streets of Rome.
Romeo is now related to Tybalt, therefore he is treating him like a brother, Romeo is being very nice to Tybalt without Tybalt knowing the reason why, very confused, Tybalt takes the kindness as sarcasm, this makes him angrier.
Romeo, the hate I bear thee can afford
No better term than this,–thou art a villain.
Tybalt, the reason that I have to love thee
Doth much excuse the appertaining rage
To such a greeting: villain am I none;
Therefore farewell; I see thou know’st me not.
Here, Tybalt is insulting Romeo, calling him a villain, which was a big insult in the time that the play was written.
Romeo replies with an intricate answer, he says to Tybalt that the reason he loves him, which is unknown to Tybalt, excuses this insult, he says that he is not a villain, and that Tybalt does not know well enough to judge him.
This shows an example of how Romeo is being insulted by the Capulet family, and says here that he loves Tybalt for an unknown reason, which angers Tybalt even more, Romeo says that he is not a villain and rejects the insults in a loving way.
Mercutio is now confused to why Romeo is taking all that Tybalt is saying to him, in Mercutio’s eyes, his best friend in deluded, confused, Mercutio does not understand why Romeo is not arguing back to Tybalt.
Mercutio has now had enough of Romeo and takes action towards Tybalt on behalf of the Montague family, who is also now frustrated.
I am for you.
Gentle Mercutio, put thy rapier up.
Here, Tybalt is drawing out his sword ready for a fight with Mercutio who previously insulted Tybalt, calling him the ‘King of cats’, as Tybalt is a name known for cats in the society. Still, Romeo is trying to calm Mercutio, telling him to put his sword away.
Mercutio ignores Romeo and tries to kill Tybalt, but Tybalt reacts first and stabs Mercutio under the arm of Romeo who now has his hand up to separate the two men from a fight.
Mercutio doesn’t die straight away, and it is unclear if this was a major injury, Mercutio curses both houses for this incident which will result in his death, he is angry to why Romeo didn’t defend himself and his household, he curses both houses as this ancient conflict is why he is now dying, yet he makes it unclear if he has a major injury or not as Mercutio speaks in riddles.
I am hurt.
A plague o’ both your houses! I am sped.
Is he gone, and hath nothing?
What, art thou hurt?
Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch; marry, ’tis enough.
Where is my page? Go, villain, fetch a surgeon.
Here Benvolio is asking Mercutio of he is hurt. But Mercutio speaks in riddles,, and says it is just a scratch even though it is a major wound, but says that it is enough to kill him, he then calls the surrounding men villains, even Benvolio who is a part of his own household.
Romeo later hears the news that Mercutio has died, he now comes to reality to see the situation, that Mercutio has died defending Romeo, Romeo call himself ‘fortunes fool’; he now fights with Tybalt ignoring the relation that they share, for revenge for his best friend.
Romeo and Tybalt fight, Tybalt falls, he dies, while all this is going on, there have been on-lookers, as it all happened on the streets of Rome.
Romeo has now realised what he just did, the Prince had said in the first scene that if ever there will be another fight in the streets of Rome, the men involved would be executed, Romeo realises he has to run away before any one catches him or there will be serious consequences. They have disturbed the streets of Rome once more, and have involved the public in their private argument.
Tybalt wanted revenge for the shame caused to his family name when Romeo went to a Capulet party uninvited, when he want to kill him, Romeo, on the other hand, wants nothing more than love from Tybalt and tries to ignore all the insults given to him by Tybalt, Mercutio then goes in for Romeo and tries to kill Tybalt, but Tybalt kills Mercutio first. Romeo then kills Tybalt forgetting all his love feelings for Tybalt. This scene resulted in deaths in the eyes of the public, this is very serious, as the prince had previously warned the two households that these fight will result in execution.
This was a very public conflict as it was taken on the streets in view of the people there. But the reason that Romeo doesn’t fight is because of his private feeling for Juliet, the cousin of Tybalt.
I will now write about a very different kind of conflict in my second scene; Juliet returning from her wedding.
On her way back form her wedding with Romeo, Juliet enters her home very happy without her family knowing the reason why. Her parents want her to marry somebody else, as they do not know of the private marriage just taken place. Juliet can not tell her parents that she has marries Romeo as he is from the Montague family, this will cause another major conflict between the families.
He parents then begin to speak of her marriage to Paris; she begins to object for the first time without the reason being allowed to be known. Her parents are confused to why she is doing this, Juliet is also a Catholic and cannot be married to two people, and this is a private conflict with God and a sin against her religion.
Her parents now become frustrated with Juliet’s objection as a daughter was looked at unimportant ad had to do whatever she was told, including getting married, her parents do now understand her, and begin to get angry with her.
Her father now begins to shout at Juliet and call her names of insult; he doesn’t know of her recent marriage. Juliet’s nurse tries to stick up for Juliet, but it is no use, her father has had enough of Juliet’s objection and takes it as a very big insult. He calls Juliet a curse to the family rather than a blessing which was what she was before; she is very upset by now and doesn’t know what to do.
Her father exits the scene frustrated, Juliet tries to talk to her mother, she is speaking of her love for Romeo in indirect words, she says that she is missing him as they only spent one night together after their marriage and she is very upset that Romeo had been banished to Mantua. Her mother thinks she is speaking of Tybalt, and aggress that she misses him also, but they have to get over what has happened, she is saying that the punishment given to Romeo was very fair.
Juliet and her mother are speaking not directly of the same thing, but the conversation makes sense, the two do not understand each other.
Juliet now has no choice but to marry Paris, this will result in a private conflict between herself and her religion which forbids two marriages at the same time. Her argument with her father was a private conflict as it took place in her own home with no one watching what was happening.
Juliet returns home happy from her wedding to result in the happy scene ending in a private argument with her family.
In conclusion, I have looked at two very different scenes to answer my title question; Do public and private affairs between the two families in Romeo and Juliet count as separate or as one unit in society?
I would say that the conflicts between the two families are different as long as where they have taken place, in this situation; one conflict has taken place in a home, the other on the streets of Rome in sight of the public.
My first scene was very serious as it resulted in two deaths of the two opposing families; Romeo was then banished to a place very far away where he could not keep in touch in Juliet, this is a private conflict as it involves private feeling of love between the young married couple, furthermore, it is more private as no one can know of the their marriage.
My second scene was a private conflict which was taken place within the household of the Capulet family; no one could see what was going on apart from the people involved in the actual argument, which were Juliet, her mother, father and the nurse. On the other hand, my first scene was taken in sight of others, people who were not involved with the fight; this kind of argument is then known to others, which is different from a private argument that no one can see.
I would answer the title question by saying that private affairs only count as one unit in society when they are shown publicly where the society can see, however, private conflicts do also affect the society as their consequences are different, such as Juliet being unhappy that she now has to marry Paris, this will then affect her relationship with him.
Private and public affairs do count as one on society, as it depends on what the particular conflict is.