Individual vs. Society

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

In act 3 scene 5 Juliet stands up to her mother and father over the issue of her being married off to Paris so soon when Juliet is so young. "I pray you, tell my lord and father, madam, I will not marry yet. And when I do, I swear it shall be Romeo, whom you know I hate, rather than Paris." (Shakespeare). Is what Juliet tells her mother after Lady Capulet announces the plans for Paris and Juliet to marry. Shakespeare gets the theme we chose through in this scene, with this quote particularly, because it shows Juliet speaking up about her distaste for marrying so young. And with Individual vs. Society as a theme, it means one singular person standing up to the ideals and traditions of the society in which they live and questioning them. Robert J. Samuelson recently wrote: "We face a choice between a society where people accept modest sacrifices for a common good or a more contentious society where groups selfishly protect their own benefits." (Andre and Velasquez). That relates because Juliet was going to marry Paris but instead of sacrificing herself in marriage to Paris, she fought her parents not to and for Romeo. (for the picture below)

In Act 3 scene 5 Romeo and Juliet are in the Capulet’s orchard bidding each other farewell and how they will miss each other. Even though Romeo has been banned from Verona, he still meets with Juliet at her home because he loves her. I believe Shakespeare has used this scene to show that even through all the events that has happened to the families; Romeo and Juliet still love each other. (Sparknotes) “It is, it is: hie hence, be gone, away! It is the lark that sings so out of tune,” (3.5.5) Even though the families desperately want to separate the two, Juliet wants to protect Romeo by getting him away from the Capulets and out of Verona.

This video is a great example of the theme (individual vs. society) because Romeo and Juliet kiss each other and fall in love even though their families are rivals. They aren't meant to be together but they want to.

In Act 3 Scene 1 Mercutio and Tybalt start fighting and Romeo tries to break it up. I say this represents the theme because Mercutio doesn’t belong to a house that is warring yet he still defends Romeo in the fight against the opposing house of Capulets. This shows how an individual, Mercutio, is fighting against society represented in Tybalt and Romeo. Later you see Mercutio get stabbed under Romeo's arm representing how society can take an individual down without even trying to. During this Mercutio states “A plague o'both your houses! 'Zounds, a dog, a rat, a mouse, a cat, to scratch a man to death! a braggart, a rogue, a villain, that fights by the book of arithmetic! Why the devil came you between us? I was hurt under your arm.”(3:1:97). this can be taken literally, because he was stabbed under Romeo’s arm, but can also be interpreted that he fell because of the feud between the two families. This is also like “West Side Story” an American musical with two rivaling gangs fighting for respect and an unfortunate group dies (Wikipedia). This pertains to the theme of individual Vs. Society because it shows how one person totally outside a situation can be affected, and even killed, by society’s brawl. Another example is an article that discusses the affect an individual has on society and should both be mortal enemies ( This article discussed how individuals could be scarred by the criticism of society.

This video is an example of Romeo standing up against the rival families fighting in the street because he knows that this isn't right. Romeo is the only one trying to stop the fight because he thinks it is wrong and the rest of the men think it is right.

This video is an example of the theme because of how the nurse decides to help Juliet and Romeo and in doing so, the nurse stands up to what society wants for Juliet (her to be married off to Paris) and she helps Juliet be with the love of her life.

This is the symbol of the theme because, according to Wikipedia, the raised fist "is a symbol of solidarity and support. It is also used as a salute to express unity, strength, defiance, or resistance. The salute dates back to ancient Assyria as a symbol of resistance in the face of violence." And that goes with how when an individual goes against society they are showing resistance and they are voicing their opinions and being heard.  

(skip to 3:12) This video is a modern example of individual vs. society. It is an example because society puts these people inside the Hunger Games and expects them to fight to the death. But Katniss finds the flaw in the dome and she doesn't like the Hunger Games anyway, so she shoots the top of the sky so that the dome is revealed and the games become disrupted. She fought her way against the whole time and this just goes to show that Katniss will do anything if she thinks it is right.

This is about 5 girls that commit suicide because of their parents bidding and from broken hearts after being kept from the boys they liked, like how Romeo and Juliet were.

this is annotated text for Mercutio's scene