Prejudice in both Romeo and Juliet and To Kill a Mockingbirdleads to a tragic ending. The two main characters in Romeo and Juliet aredriven to suicide by the hatred between their families that is fueled byprejudice. Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird tries to defend a black man incourt to uphold his sense of justice however he is fully aware how prejudicethe American white society towards the black population is, therefore he issetting himself up for an impossible task. In both stories prejudice leads to hatred,the characters having to face numerous challenges and ultimately deaths.Hatred based on prejudice can be found in the background ofevery important act in both stories. In Romeo and Juliet the two maincharacters fall in love despite the undying feud between their families.
We donot find out what the cause of the hatred is, we only know that it has beengoing on for a long time. It has been going on for so long that the familiesmost likely don’t even remember how it started. Therefore their hatred againsteach other at the time is solely based on prejudice. The Capulets cannot agreeto Juliet marrying Romeo not because they do not like Romeo as a person or theyhave anything against his character but simply because he is Montague. Romeo isa handsome, intelligent and sensitive young adult. His passion and idealismmakes him a very charming character.
Juliet is a young girl who appears to bevery quiet and innocent at the beginning of the play. She knows almost nothingabout love and marriage. However she grows up and matures quickly upon fallingin love with Romeo. She trusts him with her life.
However the lovers cannot betogether due to the hatred between their families. The nature of hatred in thebook To Kill a Mockingbird is based on racial discrimination. Atticus is alawyer in the small town of Maycomb, a single father of Jem and Scout.
He is aman of wisdom and great character. Most of the people of Maycomb arejudgmental, racist and discriminating. In the center of the novel is the trialof Tom Robinson. Robinson is a black man who is accused of raping a white woman,an unthinkable crime. Robinson represents the black race in 1930’s Americansociety.
After being accused of rape most people see him as an evil and hatehim. Just because he is black people are convinced that he must have committedthe crime. Atticus’s decision to defend Robinson in court is not based onRobinson being black but on Robinson being innocent. However he knows from thestart that Robinson will most likely be convicted despite his innocence due to thewhite population’s prejudice attitude towards black people. Prejudice feeds thehatred in both stories from the beginning to the end.
The main characters in both stories need to face manychallenges due to the prejudice fueled hatred. In Romeo and Juliet when the twofall in love with each other it presents a major issue. The feud between thetwo families makes Romeo get into fights and ultimately to kill Tybalt andParis. The murder of Tybalt causes Romeo’s banishment from Verona which createsanother obstacle that prevents the lovers from being together.
Romeo feels thatthe exile is worse than death. Being separated from Juliet is worse than beingdead since he might never see Juliet again. The news of Tybalt’s deathinitially produces mixed feelings for Juliet. She is torn between her love forRomeo and the loyalty she feels for Tybalt, her cousin. Her love for Romeo howeverproves to be stronger and she is devastated when she learns about Romeo’sbanishment. The novel To Kill a Mockingbird addresses many controversialissues. Atticus faces many challenges in his profession, family and town. He agreesto defend Tom Robinson.
This is a case which he knows he cannot win. Members ofthe town feel that he should not defend Robinson because he is black. The novelis set in a time of racial discrimination. Atticus believes in justice and he feelsthat despite the circumstances he needs to give Robinson the strongest defensehe possibly can. There is sufficient proof that Robinson did not commit thecrime but since he is a black man he will be denied justice. If it’s a whiteman’s word against a black man’s word the white man will always win. Generallythis was the mentality of most Americans at the time.
The hatred towards theblack population was purely based on prejudice. The trial of Tom Robinson is areflection of the American society as a whole. The challenges the charactersneed to face in both stories are caused by prejudice.
Due to these challengesthe characters find themselves in the middle of intense inner conflicts.The prejudice fueled hatred also leads to deaths in bothstories. In Romeo and Juliet Mercutio’s, Tybalt’s, Paris’s, Lady Montague’sdeaths as well as the lovers’ suicide are all connected to the hatred. The twofamilies’ prejudice attitude towards each other drives Juliet and then Romeo tocommit suicide at the end. They become the ultimate victims of their familiesprejudice behavior. The Capulets’ and the Montagues’ behavior is prejudice becausethe individuals in the play are solely judged by their family roots and not bytheir characters. The tragic outcome of the play is unavoidable.
The society’sprejudice behavior also leads to deaths in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Atthe end of Tom Robinson’s trial Atticus tries to stress on racism in hisclosing remarks, and he asks the jury to do their duty and to acquit Robinson.Atticus tells the jury that they all know Robinson is innocent and they should notconvict him just because he is black. When the jury delivers the guilty verdictthe twelve men never even look at Tom Robinson.
The all-white, all-men juryconvicts him and he becomes a victim of racial injustice. After his convictionTom Robinson attempts the escape from prison and the guards shoot him numeroustimes. He pays with his life for America’s racial prejudice in the 1930s. Thefact that most people in Maycomb did not feel that his trial was unfair makeshis death even more tragic. Bob Ewell also dies at the end of the novel. He isstabbed by Boo Radley however the official report says that he accidentallyfell on his knife.
The events are spiraling out of control towards the end ofthe novel. In both stories numerous people lose their lives due to the eventscaused by other characters’ prejudice behavior.Romeo, Juliet and Atticus are all standing opposite ofgroups infected with prejudice attitude.
Romeo and Juliet cannot hate eachother despite the ongoing hatred between their families. No matter what theirfamilies tell them they refuse and cannot see each other as enemies. They onlycare about their love and each other. Atticus is the character least influencedby prejudice. He has no problems with his children attending Calpurnia’schurch, he constantly reminds Scout not to use racial slurs and he personallygoes to Tom’s home to tell Helen about his death. Despite these threecharacters attempts prejudice fuels all the notable happenings in both storiesand directs the events towards the tragic conclusions.