Critical Lens for "Romeo and Juliet" and "Of Mice and Men", Duff Brenna Quote

Essay by lexi27Junior High, 9th grade May 2007

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Duff Brenna once said, "All literature shows us the power of emotion. It is emotion, not reason that motivates characters in literature." To me, this quote means that it is emotion that causes characters to make decisions, not reason. I agree with this quote because characters in literature do what they feel is right at the time, not what they feel is logically right. In William Shakespeare's tragedy Romeo and Juliet and John Steinbeck's novella Of mice and Men, the characters demonstrate how emotion can overpower reason.

In Romeo and Juliet, this statement is proven right. As the characters make decisions based on emotion, many literary elements are intertwined by William Shakespeare. Conflict is not only a literary element but also is a theme that is used throughout the whole playwright. For example, the passion of hate causes the Capulets and Montagues to constantly fight and feud. This External conflict interferes with Romeo and Juliet's love and causes them not to tell their parents about their marriage.

They have to constantly meet in secret and them not being able to see each other causes more major conflicts. For example, they feel so deeply for each other that they feel that they cannot live without the other. These strong emotions lead to many misunderstandings and eventually the death of the two "star crossed lovers". If Romeo and Juliet were thinking within reason, they would have told their parents about their love and possibly may not have committed suicide. The death of Mercutio also causes problems between the characters. When Tybalt kills Mercutio, Romeo feels vengeance and anger towards Tybalt. If Romeo would have been thinking realistically, he would have told Prince Escalus about the killing and Tybalt would have gotten in trouble. Instead, Romeo makes a rash decision and kills Tybalt...