When preparing an analytical paper on William Shakespeare’s play about the rivalry between the Montagues and Capulets and how that rivalry doomed two young lovers to death, one need not look far for indications of the importance of “fate” to the story. While generally referred to as “Romeo and Juliet,” Shakespeare’s original title for his play was “The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet,” leaving no doubt as to the emotional atmosphere in which the story that follows will transpire. Further, in setting the stage for his story, Shakespeare employed the classic narrative device of a “Chorus” to establish the theme and introduce the audience to the theme of the play. As the play begins, Shakespeare’s Chorus enters and proceeds to announce:
“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. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life;”
So, we know from the start that “Romeo and Juliet” is a tragedy, and that fate determines that the two young lovers die. The mystery lies, therefore, in the chain of events that lead up to those deaths, the manner in which the deaths occur, and the impact of those deaths on their respective families. In this sense, the easiest part of a paper on “Romeo and Juliet” is the thesis statement. The outline that follows begins with recognition of the play’s original title, and with the prophesy of doom provided in the play’s opening seconds. The body of the outline can include a paragraph in which the audience is provided examples of the conflict between the Montagues and Capulets, such as the conversation between Samson and Gregory, both of the Capulets, regarding their hatred of the Montagues (“A dog of the house of Montague incurs my kick”), the fight between servants of the respective clans that follows, and when Romeo, son of Montague, and his cousin, Benvolio, discuss the former’s unrequited love for Rosaline, a Capulet. Shakespeare’s play is filled with indications of the intensity of the hatred between these two families.
Another paragraph could discuss the role of fate in robbing Romeo and Juliet of free will, in effect, that no matter what their desires, and no matter what their actions, they are destined to meet a tragic ending. “Romeo and Juliet” wrote the book, so to speak, on twists of fate such as occur late in the play when the two lovers plot to overcome the divisions between them and seek remedies that are destined to contribute to the inevitability of their demise.
Yet another paragraph could discuss the theme of fate in terms of the reconciliation that occurs between the Montagues and Capulets following the tragic deaths of Romeo and Juliet. During the scene near the end, when the lovers are dead and their families are left with their grief and regrets, Prince Escalus, receiving from Balthasar the letter Romeo penned before taking his life, and who has long determined to end this bitter feud, points out to the heads of the families the folly of their ways:
Prince: “Give me the letter. I will look on it. Reads.
Where be these enemies? Capulet, Montague,
See what a scourge is laid upon your hate,
That heaven finds means to kill your joys with . . .”
To which responds the grieving parents:
Capulet: “O brother Montague, give me thy hand.
It was my daughter’s will that we be joined.”
Montague: “And I will raise a statue of pure gold
In honor of my son’s beloved wife,
So while Verona by that name is known,
All will admire faithful Juliet.”
Lady Montague: “If only we had seen the wisdom of such love
While yet our dearest children were alive.”
One of the tragedies of the play is that it took the deaths of two young people, dearly loved by their families and who deeply loved each other, to conquer the divisions between two powerful clans, thereby enabling the city of Verona, where the play takes place, to heal its wounds and move forward.
Finally, a paragraph of the outline could focus on smaller, less conspicuous but still telling indications of the tragedy to come. Most prominent of these indicators could be Mercutio’s curse, following yet another confrontation between Montagues and Capulets in Act III, Scene I: “A plague on both your houses!” From the beginning, though, in Act I, Scene I, it is made apparent that the parents of Romeo and Juliet prefer not to be overly engaged in the affairs of their children, thereby ignoring warning signs of trouble to come. “We’ve begged the boy to give us hints or clues,” laments Montague to Benvolio regarding the matter of Romeo’s depressed state. Then, in resignation, with Benvolio requesting Romeo’s father remain aloof, the elder man states to his nephew and to Lady Montague, “I would thou wert so happy by thy stay, To hear true shrift. Come, madam, let's away.” And, with that, he departs, washing his hands of the whole matter.
Romeo’s inability to confide in his parents of the nature of his feelings toward a Capulet is a precursor of difficulties to come.
The 4C Thesis Statement Solution
Your thesis statement is the backbone of your entire paper. Get it right, and you are set up to write a great paper. A good thesis statement not only clearly states your position on the topic, it also provides a quick outline for the rest of your paper. But how do you write a thesis statement that works? You could use a thesis statement generator, but you still need to do the thinking involved to know what to put into it.
That’s where the 4C Thesis Statement Solution comes into play.
What is the 4C Thesis Statement Solution?
The 4Cs stand for: Choose a topic, Collect evidence, make a Claim, and Convince your audience of your claim.
The thesis statement itself has 3 parts, Topic, Claim, and Evidence List, but to get to those parts, you have to go through the 4Cs.
The following shows you how to go through the 4Cs and arrive at a well written thesis statement at the end:
1. Choose a topic
Your purpose in stating your topic is to let your reader know what the paper will be about.
Have you ever been lost somewhere without a quick way of finding out where you are? It is confusing and frustrating. Similarly, if you don’t state your topic in the beginning of your thesis statement, your reader will feel lost before he or she even gets to the meat of your paper.
If you have an open ended assignment in which you are asked to choose a topic yourself, make sure your topic is not too broad. It is really hard to form an opinion on a very broad topic. You can start with a broad topic and narrow it down.
The 1960s –> music –> rock and roll –> The Beatles
Shakespeare plays –> Romeo and Juliet –>major characters –> Mercutio
Are you writing a thesis statement now? If so, write your paper topic at the top of your document.
2. Collect evidence
Imagine a detective pinpointing a perpetrator without collecting any evidence first. Impossible, right? The evidence has to be gathered before the crime is solved. So then why do so many students feel that they have to write their opinion before they have enough evidence to form a valid one?
Before you can make a claim and write your thesis statement, you need to be very knowledgeable about the topic at hand. If you are writing about a book, find quotes in the book that address your theme. If you are writing about a broader topic, find articles and other sources that give you multiple views on the topic.
In the process of gathering evidence, you may find yourself narrowing your topic even further. Let’s take the example of The Beatles. While it’s already narrowed down from 196os history, The Beatles still may be too large a topic to form a meaningful opinion. You may decide to focus on their influence on the world. Or perhaps you want to discuss one of their albums and its influences. Don’t be afraid to discard some evidence in order to focus on a more coherent and manageable topic.
3. Make a Claim
What do your pieces of evidence have in common? What do they say about your topic? These relationships should form the basis for your claim.
For example, in rereading scenes from Romeo and Juliet, you may find that Mercutio is always a good friend to Romeo. That can be your opinion:
In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio is a great friend to Romeo
You’ll notice that the topic is clearly stated, and the claim almost hits you over the head with its directness. That’s good. Your thesis statement should be extremely clear.
4. Convince your audience of your claim
Now that you’ve made a claim, it’s time to convince your reader that you are right. You do this by compiling a brief list of the evidence you will use to prove your claim.
You may want to include all of your evidence in your list, but you may also want to leave some of it out if it doesn’t prove your opinion. Remember, everything in your paper should prove your claim. This is especially important for your list of evidence, because it tells your reader where you are going with your paper.
Look through the evidence you have gathered and pull out 3-5 main ways of proving your opinion. Then list them out:
In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (topic), Mercutio is a great friend to Romeo (claim). This is shown when Romeo is pining after Rosamond in the beginning of the book and Mercutio helps him lighten up, when Mercutio supports Romeo in his fight with Tybalt, and when Romeo is devastated at Mercutio’s death (list of evidence).
The Beatles’ music (topic) made a huge impact on the world (claim). They changed music forever with their unique sound, influenced 1960s fashion, and have appeared on numerous forms of media, including video games and television shows (list of evidence).
The 4Cs of thesis development are:
Choose a topic (not to broad!)
Collect evidence on your topic
Make a claim based on your evidence
Convince your reader you are right with an evidence list
The thesis statement itself has 3 parts –
Topic, Claim, Evidence List
I hope the 4Cs will help you write better thesis statements in the future!
Posted in Paper Writing, Thesis Statements