The play Romeo and Juliet has much more to do with violence and hatred than love, even though it is widely regarded as a play about love. Throughout the play, there are many instances of hatred between the two families, inciting violence between its members. This provides a backdrop that makes the story of Romeo and Juliet so powerful, since the love between the two young lovers is forbidden. Without the themes of violence and hatred driving this play, the love would have no meaning.
Hatred in this play clouds many of the characters' judgement and many of the actions of the characters that move the plot are filled with hate as a result. For example, early in the play, two armed Capulets, Samson and Gregory, are seeking a fight with Montagues, for no other reason then the fact that they are Montague. This blood lust has long-term repercussions, as the brawl they incite causes the Prince to declare the death penalty to all participants of any future brawls. Similarly, when Romeo and his friends decide to go to Capulet's party uninvited, Ty balt notices and gets furious with Romeo because he is a Montague.
Instead of judging Romeo for the person he is and making a rational decision about whether he likes him or not, he decides to hate him simply because his family has feuded with Romeo's family for a long time. The hatred of all these characters drive the plot of the play forward, bringing into motion the tragic events that will happen because the two families cannot tolerate each other. While many events are a result of love (Romeo and Juliet marrying each other), they are brought into motion by hatred. For example, Romeo must meet Juliet at night from the orchard underneath Juliet's balcony, for if the Capulets capture Romeo, they will surely kill him. Their marriage must also be in secret since their parents would definitely not approve. In fact, any signs of Romeo and Juliet's love are in secret due to the hatred between their houses.
Sadly, it is only after their deaths that the hatred is resolved. Without the hatred in this play, their love would be meaningless, and the play would be come a comedy (where it ends with a marriage, which is humorous), not a tragedy. While violence and hatred are the predominating themes in this play, they are contrasted with love at intervals. The play begins with violence and hatred (Capulets and Montagues in as street brawl so fierce it stops with the Prince's declaration of death as a punishment), and ends with peace and love (the two families reconciling with each other and promising to raise golden statues of each of their children in the town square of Verona).
This seems as if love is the tool that creates this change of emotions between the Capulets and the Montagues, but it is not the main theme of the play. Instead, it seems as if violence and hatred is. If Shakespeare used another theme to resolve this tragedy, the play would have been different but much of the plot line would be kept intact, such as the houses feuding with each other. However, if Shakespeare removes the themes of violence and hatred in this play and replace it with something else, the play would transform into an entirely new one, if Shakespeare wanted to keep the theme of forbidden love intact. In conclusion, while the play Romeo and Juliet is considered to be a play about love, violence and hatred play a much more important part throughout. They drive the play to its bittersweet conclusion, and without them, this play would be very different..