Romeo And Juliet Is A Comedy
Romeo and Juliet, famous as a classical tragedy, but nobody knows its really a comedy. Willam Shakespeare is known for adding humorous effects, and deeper meanings to his literature through puns, especially in Romeo and Juliet. The story of Romeo and Juliet is about two young people from different families. Their families, the Montagues, and Capulets are in a long-lasting feud with each other. Even though Romeo and Juliet should be sworn enemies because of their families, they fall deeply in love. They struggle to be together after Romeo is banished from Verona because he kills Juliet’s cousin, Tybalt. They quickly marry each other before Romeo flees to another city, but Juliet is expected to marry Paris, a kinsmen to the prince. Romeo and Juliet kill themselves to be together. This play is tragic in many ways, but most people don’t know there are many puns written throughout the writing. Though Shakespeare’s usage of wordplay seems complicated to many, the puns used in Romeo and Juliet make the play more humorous, highlights the play’s deeper meaning, and enhances the play’s major plot points.
To begin, Shakespeare’s usage of puns can often be seen as adding a humorous effect. Although Romeo and Juliet may be seen as a tragedy and have no comic relief throughout the play, most people don't know there are many instances of funny moments. Adding humorous effects to literature can conceal a less pleasant reality. In this case, Shakespeare uses puns to brighten the mood because of the death of Romeo and Juliet. The Capulet family holds a feast where Romeo is invited to by Peter; a servant of the Capulets that cannot read. When Romeo, Mercutio, and Benvolio arrive at the feast Mercutio, Romeo’s good friend, Mercutio encourages Romeo to dance to lift his spirits. Romeo and down because of Rosaline, a Capulet who is becoming a nun. Rosaline doesn't love Romeo as he likes her. Romeo responds to Mercutio by saying, “Not I, believe me. You have dancing shoes/with nimble soles. I have a soul of lead/ so stakes me to the ground I cannot move” (1.4.13-16). There is a play on the words “soles” and “soul”. These two words sound the exact same, but have two completely different meanings. Romeo says he has nimble soles on the bottom of his shoes, so he can dance. Afterward, he goes go saying that his soul is compared to lead, so he can’t dance. When he says his soul is like lead he is depressed because of his love, Rosaline. Shakespeare adding humor to Romeo and Juliet makes a difficult situation lighter.
Furthermore, Puns are often used to show a deeper meaning in the wordplay. Not all his puns are used to show humor. Most of the time in Shakespeare’s language and wordplay, the puns are used to highlight the play’s deeper meaning. Often, the pun shows what is happening in the context and what its meaning is trying to convey. Romeo kills Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin who despises Romeo. Romeo killed Tybalt because he killed Mercutio. Due to the death of Tybalt, the Prince of Verona, Prince Escalus, banished Romeo from the city, rather than executing him. Before Romeo must go to Matua, a neighboring city, Romeo and Juliet get married by Friar Laurence. They spend a special night with each other, and in the morning Romeo will have to go and leave Juliet. Romeo says, “But Romeo may not, he is banished/flies may do this but I from this must fly”(3.3.40-41). Shakespeare made a pun on the word “flies” and “fly”. The word “flies” in this case means in this case, stay because flies can stay. Romeo must “fly” to Mantua. Shakespeare twists the words to show a pun. Romeo uses a pun to show what he must do. Puns can add depth to a passage.
Lastly, puns help the reader understand what Shakespeare is trying to convey. Puns can do many things to a text, but in this instance, it explains what is happening in Romeo and Juliet’s major plot point. The reader can interpret the puns and its meaning differently. Paris, the man that was going to marry Juliet, was killed by Romeo to be with Juliet. Juliet was not dead because she took a potion to get out of the wedding. Nobody knows she was actually alive, so Romeo took his life to be with Juliet. The chief watchmen discovered the bodies of Paris, Romeo, and Juliet. He called the families of the deceased, the Capulets and Montagues. The chief watchman said, “We see the ground whereon these woes do lie/But the true ground of all these piteous woes/We cannot without circumstance descry” (5.3.180-182). The pun is made on the word “ground”. In this case, it means both the earth on which we live and die on and also the reasons why the deaths occurred. The watchman says the ground in which Romeo and Juliet died on and the grounds of the feud between the Capulets and the Montagues. This pun highlights The major plot point, the death of Romeo and Juliet. Puns can add context to the reader.
Although Shakespeare's usage of language and wordplay may seem complex, he uses puns throughout the play to add much more than just a humorous effect. Many think puns only add comic relief but they can do much more. Shakespeare also uses puns to enhance a major plot point, and to highlight the deeper meaning throughout the play. Puns have been used in literature and play for many centuries. Puns that were used in theatres during the 1500’s, show how the usage of language and worldplay have changed over time. The language we use today is tremendously different than back in the 1500s when Romeo and Juliet were written. The understanding of Romeo and Juliet’s language and wordplay helps readers know how much different things were done in the 1580’s. For example, In Romeo and Juliet humor is shown through puns, but in today’s world, puns aren't used much. The difference between the wordplay over the past several generations, shows how the English language has evolved over the years.