April 19 2017

“…the two hours’ traffic of our stage.”

Tonight, you will do some additional analysis about word choice in the prologue of Romeo and Juliet, but first please do the following activity. You will need your copy of the prologue and three different colored pens or three highlighters.

  1. With one color, underline all words having to do with love.
  2. With a second color, underline all words having to do with hate or fighting.
  3. With a third color, underline all words having to do with two or pairs.

Once you have completed this activity, please write an analysis of your findings by answering the following question:

In the Prologue, what relationship does Shakespeare establish between love and hate and the number or idea of two? How do his specific word choices illustrate this relationship? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.

R&J blog #1

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Posted April 19, 2017 by equinson in category Romeo and Juliet

32 thoughts on ““…the two hours’ traffic of our stage.”

  1. alexo

    What I noticed after underlining the lines of the sonnet was how Shakespeare put love and pairs together. Although now that i think about it this connection is obvious, it had never occurred to me beforehand. For example, on Line 6, Shakespeare says “A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;” Shakespeare quite literally puts “love” and “pair” in the same sentence, seemingly trying to make us see the connection. To conclude, Shakespeare makes the connection of love and pairs quite obvious in this prologue.

  2. Toa Neil

    I noticed the fact that the idea of hate seems to cause the love which causes more hate. Also the idea of two is interesting in that it can bring together or separate people.

  3. tarika1

    Shakespeare brings the idea of grudges and feuds early in the prologue and then brings up the idea of love. He talks about the parents having a grudge and hating each other, while the children love each other. He also mentions how the children take commit suicide and their deaths “bury their parents strife”. This means that the suicide of their children caused them to see what was actually happening. Which shows how love can deter hate, which seems to be the message of those lines until it mentions “And the continuance of their parents’ rage, Which, but their children’s end, nought could remove,”. These lines show how the hat was still present even after their children’s deaths.

  4. briannag3

    In the Prologue Shakespeare talks about the feud between both families. An “ancient grudge” that has been going on. It goes from hate, to love, and ends in hate again. The families themselves still hate each other but two children in them end up falling in love with one another. They end up committing suicide which “buries their parents’ strife”, but not for long. It reads, “And the continuance of their parents’ rage, Which, but their children’s end, nought could remove…” This plainly states that even after the families lost their members because of this feud, they couldn’t change their stubborn views on each other.

  5. avae1

    In the Prologue of Romeo and Juliet, the ideas of love, hate, and pairs are tied together. Shakespeare makes a clear connection between the three, putting related words so close to each other it forces the reader to question the link. “A pair of star-crosse’d lovers take their life,” It is repeatedly two that are in love, or two families that feud. I believe we have discussed this in class at one point, the idea that love, hate, and war are all connected. Although it is not exactly the same as this sonnet, it is still a similar relation. Shakespeare’s purpose in this was to bring that similarity to our attention. Clearly he has already been straightforward with the message that the lovers die, and he has also been straightforward with the message that, love is tragic. I noticed that one pair was always trying to terminate the other pair. The pair of lovers attempted to end their parents rage, and the pair of families attacked their love, “Do with their death bury their parents’ strife.” A pair can bring two together or send them apart.

    1. francescaa

      I totally agree with your last comment. It shows that love can be a great thing or a very nasty thing.

  6. ilyssal

    In the prologue to Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, I noticed a common theme of a grudge that has been held for what seems like eternity. The two families have had an ongoing disagreement for forever and the two children of the families, so called “star crossed lovers” fall deeply in love with one another. The young kids keep their romance a secret from their mothers and fathers, so more trouble does not brew between them. To keep their love safe, the girl and the boy decide they want to continue in another life, so, they agree to commit suicide. The deaths of the children silence the fighting for w brief span, but hatred builds up again and the cycle of fury extends on.

  7. arihantp1

    Shakespeare connects hate, love, and the idea of two in his prologue to Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare describes how the love of two, and their death, could end a long lasting hate. Shakespeare begins the prologue with many negative words and talks about two families that have had a long-standing grudge, and how it has caused constant blood to shed. When a person from each of their families falls in love, and resorts to suicide, the two families, only than, put aside their grudge. Shakespeare blends both words involving hate and love in his prologue to “Romeo and Juliet.”

  8. faithw

    In the prologue of Romeo and Juliet, the readers learn about the tragic love story of which they are about to peruse. In the beginning of this sonnet, Shakespeare writes about hate and conflict. He uses such words as mutiny, grudge, fatal, blood, foes, strife, and rage to describe the feud existing between the two families mentioned. This detest leads to the mention of love. We hear of a “death-marked love” where “A pair of star cross’d lovers take their life.” These phrases, found on lines nine and six, respectively, were particularly intriguing because they mentioned both the ideas of love and hate/violence together. In fact, the only mention of love in the prologue is in the company of hatred or fighting. Perhaps Shakespeare is relaying the idea that there is a relationship between love and hate, with the two being intertwined. Besides this pairing, Shakespeare also emphasizes the concept of twos or pairs in their being two households, two foes, a pair of lovers, and two hours.

    1. charlottes

      I like your use of the words “tragic love story.” It really made me want to read more of your blog.

  9. sofiad1

    Shakespeare establishes a very hateful relationship between the two families, in this case, the Montagues and the Capulets, right off the bat. By using terms like, “from ancient blood break to new mutiny”, we can see that this is a very harsh rivalry. It is clear that this is very serious to the families, especially when Shakespeare uses the term “fatal” in the next line. We can also see very clearly that the love between Romeo and Juliet is very much forbidden. He almost gives off a sense that pairs are a crime. The pairs are scandalous, most definitely. They are always referred to in a negative manner, or negative setting. “A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life,” an obviously bad situation.

  10. caias1

    In the prologue of Romeo and Juliet, I noticed that Shakespeare seems to mention words that are associated with the hate and fighting that lead into the idea of love. The two families feud and fighting led to Romeo and Juliet’s romance. Shakespeare says, “From ancient grudge break to new mutiny…” displaying how a war between two families that has gone on for generations led to “new mutiny;” the two star-crossed lovers romance. It reminds me of the Circle of Life, where one leads to another. Both are never-ending circles that always result in the other outcome.

    1. christophert3

      I didn’t understand it at first, but now that you mention it, I completely agree. It makes perfect sense, how from this long lasting fight between the two families, which has lasted so long, comes forth the two lovers who would like to end it, the mutiny of this feud.

  11. charlottes

    It seems that in the Prologue of “Romeo and Juliet,” grudges and hate lead to love. The beginning talks about ‘grudges” and “blood,” and the next few lines talk about star crossed lovers. It is almost as if the ancient grudge and hate between the two forces brings these star crossed lovers together. So much bad talk about the other just makes the other more appealing. I also noticed that “love” and “pair” are mostly used in the same sentences. This signals that most of the love Shakespeare discusses will be referenced to as a pair. Romeo and Juliet are a pair, and they love each other. We are probably going to see “love” and “pair” near each other or in the same sentence frequently throughout the book.

  12. francescaa

    In the prologue of Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare establishes a very perplexing relationship between love, hate and tragedy. The prologue shows that two people (Romeo and Juliet) are in love despite the resentment from their parents. While the two couple is madly in love, their parents are boiling with hatred and rage. The message Shakespeare is sending is that love is tragic. In the play not only will Romeo in Juliet end up committing suicide, but their parents will feel the guilt of losing your child to your immaturity and stubbornness. Although it may not always be the case in real life, in the prologue we learn love is tragic because nobody benefited from the suicide of the young lovers.

    In addition to the connection between love and hate, Shakespeare proved the importance of pairs in the prologue. Throughout the sonnet, Shakespeare repeatedly uses the words “two” or “pair”. By doing so, Shakespeare translated a very clear message to his readers. In order to be “lovers” two people must love each other. If only one loves the other, it would merely be put as “they are in love with….”. Also, love either brings people together, or tears them apart. In the case on Romeo and Juliet, love brought them closer. But for their parents, their children’s love pulled them apart. It is true that love is something that is very complicated, and little do people know until they experience it firsthand.

  13. alekhya

    When rereading the prologue of “Romeo and Juliet” one can establish that Shakespeare attempted to create a relationship between love, hatred, and tragedy. Shakespeare addresses the theme of tragedy when he talks about how the love between Romeo and Juliet could not solve the hatred between their parents. In this prologue, Shakespeare informs the audience that this is not a normal love story but one laced with hatred that ultimately led to a tragedy.

    When analyzing this prologue one should also take note of the use of “pair” and “two”. Shakespeare refers to the two disputing families as “two foes” addressing how they are not together. Whereas when addressing Romeo and Juliet he calls them “a pair” re-emphasizing that Romeo and Juliet are together. When using the word two one implies two separate things where as when using the word pair we assume that the writer is speaking of two things that are together and share something.

  14. cameronl3

    From this text, I learn much about how with a pair of “lovers,” comes many enjoyable times, but also many fights and lots of anger towards each other. The first few lines of the text show the true grudge and hate that a pair may have, the next lines talk about true star-crossed lovers. This sequence shows that these grudges, fights, and all of the anger can lead to the strong love that a pair can have. As the children who had fell in love with each other kept it a secret from their parents so they do not add on to the trouble the pairs are already having. As a result, they depend on suicide, so they may love peacefully in the next world. As the prologue went on, I feel the relationship between Romeo and Juliet will have a relationship that results in the hardships said, as love is a very irritating and complicated emotion to take in.

  15. maddy

    Within the preamble of “Romeo and Juliet”, Shakespeare depicts relations betwixt two concepts; love and hatred. It can be inferred that the star-crossed lovers Shakespeare writes of have a forbidden love, for it is incorporated that their parents are hateful of one another. Thwarted by bad luck that has consequently resulted from an unsanctioned relationship, these two lovers decide to off themselves. I find it intentional that this love has arisen from a deep-rooted hatred betwixt their families, yet ceases due to this presumed feud. Their ill-fated relationship as well as their lives have ended due to hatred, and the parental dispute has ended due to love. “A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life; Whose misadventured piteous overthrows… Do with their death bury their parents’ strife.” As illustrated within this excerpt, it is evident that the tragedy of these two lovers committing suicide has buried the hatchet that is the hatred their parents hold for one another. Additionally, it can be inferred that “…Whose misadventured piteous overthrows…” has resulted from their parents’ hatred, which ultimately resulted in the two star-crossed lovers offing themselves. This prologue exemplifies how hatred and love are to be heavily intertwined subjects within “Romeo and Juliet”.

  16. marinas1

    What I found particularly striking about the prologue of “Romeo and Juliet” was how the mentioning of “pairs” applied to both the star-crossed lovers this play is titled for, and their parents, who are today notoriously known to be horrid rivals. In the first line, this correlation begins. The first line reads: “Two households, both alike in dignity”, starting the entire play with the mention of the word “two”. Later, the prologue reads “From forth the fatal loins of these two foes a pair of star-crossed lovers take their life” (lines 5-6), now mentioning both the pair of foes and the pair of lovers. This is quite interesting, for it demonstrates how the rivals and the lovers are all just “one in the same”. Even in the first line, the Chorus states “Two households, both alike in dignity”. Right from this line, we as readers can tell that both families are equal. One is not richer than the other, nor of higher status. They are the same, no different from one another. Then, when speaking about the “two foes” and “a pair of star-crossed lovers”, we get a sense of how the rivals and the lovers are no better than each other. Just as the foes were foolish in having a rivalry, the lovers were also senseless in killing themselves. In the end, however, in committing suicide, the lovers end their parents’ rivalry, making everything as equal as it should be. This is exemplified in the text, which reads “Whose misadventured piteous overthrows doth with their death bury their parents’ strife.”, demonstrating how everything is completely even at the end of the play.

    Another point worth mentioning is how closely related love is to death in this prologue. In one line, the play reads “A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life” (line 6). In another, it states “The fearful passage of their death-marked love” (line 9). This shows how even love, something that is associated with bliss and joyfulness in the modern day world, can end up in people hurting themselves immensely, so much so that they can end up offing themselves. In the end, anything wonderful can take a turn for the worst.

    1. eshap

      I agree, I hadn’t noticed before how death was linked with love. I also think that their love was the cause of their death, since it further increased the fighting between two sides. Only after their death did things calm down.

  17. christophert3

    After I analyzed the prologue of Romeo and Juliet, I found that their is a lot of hate, and caught in the middle of all this rage is some love. The two represents a duality, the duality of the two sides and the duality of love and hate. These sides which fight against each other are alike, which one can perceive from where it says, “Two households, both alike in dignity”. But then, for the balance of this love and hate, we see it as something that stays this way throughout the play. Romeo and Juliet’s love only exists as long as their is the hate between the two sides. From what we can tell from the prologue, with the end of their live through their deaths, the hate of the two sides dissipates, thus proving how the two, the hate of the two families and the love of Romeo and Juliet, must coexist. And therefore, when one ended, so did the other.

  18. willowm

    In the prologue Shakespeare establishes a relationship between love and hatred. He uses the number two to represent the different feelings of Romeo and Juliet and their families. He describes the two as “star-crossed lovers” meaning their situation is unfortunate because they can’t be together although they are in love. He speaks of two households of two foes that give birth to a pair of lovers whose story is told over two hours. The prologue had many contradictory phrases to emphasize the two very different views.

  19. adam

    Shakespeare established a relationship between love and hate in the prologue. He seems to describe the cycle of love. How hate progresses to love, leading to hate. He states how grudge leads to mutiny. How dispute leads to compromise. But, as he later stated the result of death, it leads to more problem. There is no everlasting love, but only conflict and contradiction. Love is overshadowed by hate and there was no true love shown inside of the conflict, which results in the ultimate punishment.

  20. Tyler Newby

    In the very beginning of the prologue, Shakespeare writes about a pair of households that hold an “ancient grudge.” He says that the two households have hated each other for years and have held a grudge for all that time. He writes “Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.” Then, in the second quatrain, he says that a child is born in each city and each child falls in love with the other. Both children kill themselves, which Shakespeare says buries the strife of their parents. This does not last long, however, because he says that the parents soon continued their rage. The poem begins with hate, then the children are born and fall in love, then the poem ends in hate.

  21. eshap

    The Chorus of Romeo and Juliet brings to attention the idea of pairs, and how it is involved throughout the play. The idea of pairs appears to give the reader a sense that although there are two enemies, two lovers, and two deaths, the two families are still the same. “Two households, both alike in dignity,” (line 1) In this line, one can see that no matter how many disputes these two families have, they are both the same in status. The situation in which both these families are in are also the same. They each have one child who loves someone on the opposing side, and after their death, both sides are without a family member. The cause of their death was the same as well. It was due to their parents’ dispute with one another that put the two lovers in danger. Furthermore, it was the lovers’ deaths that finally ended the long-term disagreement. It took two lovers, who were caught in between their families’ feud, and their death to make the two sides see where they went wrong.

    In addition, the reader can see that the parents’ fight was out of something that happened from the past. “From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,” (line 3) The dispute happened because the families couldn’t put behind them their ancestors’ thoughts and beliefs of the other side. Neither side was able to look beyond the past, which resulted in the death of “a pair of star-cross’d lovers” (line 6) They were too caught up in the past to see what was actually there. The two lovers could have easily been the ones to mend their families disagreement, had they not been separated from each other. To add on, the two families had not been open to hear out the other side and come to a compromise. They didn’t have to divide themselves completely from something that happened in the past. Each side blamed the other for doing something that they might not have even been involved in, however, they thought that their behavior would remain the same by sharing the same blood as their ancestors.

  22. Rebecca F

    In the prologue, Shakespeare makes frequent references to pairs, love, and hate. The two main pairs that I found are the “star-cross’d lovers” and the “two households”. There is a certain dichotomy between these two pairs as well. While the “two households” hate each other, constantly fighting and holding an “ancient grudge” against each other, the two “star-cross’d lovers”, as it clearly says, love each other. The two pairs contrast each other, developing a sense of duality.

  23. laurena2

    In the prologue of Romeo and Juliet, I noticed how Shakespeare purposely tied together hate, love and pairs. It is most noticeable in the lines “Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes.” These lines were quite interesting because Shakespeare uses the words “civil,” “fatal,” and “two foes” all within two lines of each other. By using these words so close together, Shakespeare is trying to say that love is dangerous, and can be deadly. Although the emotions of love and hate are very different, a pair of two can turn them into the same feelings.

  24. margauxc

    Within the prologue to Shakespeare’s infamous “Romeo and Juliet”, several phrases convey the duality between the Capulets and the Montagues. In particular, lines three and four of the prologue state, “From ancient grudge break to new mutiny/Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.” In these lines, a pair is evident, as well as the rivalry between the two households. Seeing as ancient grudge and new mutiny come in a pair- it’s interesting to see ‘misadventured’ and ‘piteous’ to come in a pair as well. The plot itself presents several examples of pairs- with “the pair of star-cross’d lovers” and the “Two households, both alike in dignity,” being the most essential pairs of the play. Overall, from the prologue, one could easily conclude that it takes two to either start or end a rivalry.

  25. Kat

    In the prologue Shakespeare talks about the play. As Mr. Enright said he basically spoils the story line. Shakespeare tells us that this is an epic love story that is be-riddled with grief and anger. In many peoples eyes love and hate are the similar emotions. Most people are familiar with the premise of Romeo and Juliet and know that it is about two lovers from two rival families. In the play love is mixed with hate and Romeo and Juliet’s relationship is tested. There is so much animosity between the two families that Romeo and Juliet have to decide whether they truly love each other, or if they, like their families are supposed to hate each other. Shakespeare does this on purpose. This balance makes this play the great tragedy that it is, and really makes us understand how the people in thus play actually feel.

  26. george

    When I did this activity i found that were there was love were there was hate. Pairs were every were in this sonnet. Shakesphere perfectly blended hate and love, violence and peace all in one measly sonnet. I also found that it was brutally honest about the play. He said the blood was spilled over an ancient feud, two star crossed lovers die at their own hands and their parents didn’t really feel bad.


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