Monday, October 22, 2012

Classical Music Interpretations of Romeo and Juliet: Tchaikovsky, Gounod and Prokofiev

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Word Count 800

Tutor Dr. Julie Sanders

Classical Music Interpretations of Romeo and Juliet Tchaikovsky, Gounod and Prokofiev

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Acknowledgements Page

Preface Page 4

Chapter One The Masked Ball Page 6

Chapter Two The Balcony Scene Page 15

Chapter Three Friar Lawrence Page

Conclusions Page 1

Glossary Page

Bibliography Page 4


This dissertation would not have been possible without the help of many tutors and friends at Keele University. Thanks, first of all are due to Dr. Julie Sanders who stimulated and encouraged me throughout the writing of this piece. Secondly I would like to thank Matt Edmonds who let me borrow several pieces of his music collection so that this dissertation could be completed. My Mum, Dad and Phil need a special thanks for reading rough drafts, sharing my enthusiasm and for picking me up when I was in need of help.

Thank you all.


This study originated in my interest in Shakespeare and my love of music. I first had an interest in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet when I did a school production at the age of twelve. Having since studied a wide range of Shakespearean material at university I decided to go back to my initial interest of Romeo and Juliet and write a dissertation. As my interest in classical music has grown over the years I felt it would be interesting to look at how different composers have interpreted the play.

The composers that I have chosen to analise the works of are Charles Gounod (181-18), Sergi Prokofiev (1840-18) and Pyotr Tchaikovsky (181-15). My reason for choosing these particular composers is that they all wrote their interpretations of Romeo and Juliet in different musical styles. Gounod has written his in the style of an opera, offering words to the audience to aid the understanding. Prokofiev decided upon a ballet to portray his ideas and with constant action added drama to the music. Tchaikovsky was used another style to the two others. He composed a fantasy overture that only last approximately sixteen minutes thirty seconds and has no words or actions leaving a vast amount of interpretation to the listener. For me this made my study more interesting and challenging as every listener has their own views and ideas so no one can be right or wrong.

Early in my study it became apparent that a thorough study of musical interpretations of Romeo and Juliet had not yet been undertaken. The first part of this discussion focuses on the masked ball and in particular the first encounter of the two protagonists. The second chapter moves swiftly on to the famous balcony scene. I chose this scene as it is one of Shakespeare’s most recognised scenes and composers have a lot to input in love scenes such as this.

The final chapter moves away from the two main characters and looks at Friar Laurence with his important input to the play. With the Friar being a mediating figure of the play and by being the main person behind Romeo and Juliet’s decisions Gounod, Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky portray him differently and pick up on separate parts of his characteristics.

The study I have outlined above, will, hopefully fill a gap in research on classical music interpretations of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and hopefully will persuade other listeners to put forward their own interpretations and ideas.

The Masked Ball

Act One Scene Four of Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet is the masked ball that is held at the Capulet’s house. During this scene we encounter many of the characters but probably most importantly it includes the first meeting of the two main protagonists Juliet Capulet and Romeo Montague. The scene begins with a few members of the Montague family gatecrashing the party.

At the beginning of Act One Scene there is discussion between Romeo, Benvolio and Mercutio on whether or not to intrude on the party being held at the Capulets house. Mercutio already has an invite but Benvolio feels it would be fun to go along. In the end Romeo is persuaded and in disguise they enter the party. Capulet welcomes the maskers and watches the dance, recollecting with his cousin his own dancing days. Tybalt realises part way through the dance that one of the maskers is a Montague, and is infuriated by the intrusion

This, by his voice, should be a Montague.

Fetch me my rapier, boy.

What, dares the slave

Come hither, covered with an antic face,

To fleer and scorn at our solemnity?

Now by the stock and honour of my kin,

To strike him dead I hold it not a sin.

(Act One, Scene Four, Line 167-17).

Capulet, realising himself that the Montague is infact Romeo, orders Tybalt to control himself and let the intrusion pass. Tybalt accepts the order but vows to himself that this will not be the end of the matter.

Prokofiev’s ballet opens with Romeo and his friends Mercutio and Benvolio gate crashing the masked ball. To illustrate the dance Prokofiev has written a minuet, a common form of dance and he uses this music to portray the arrival of the guests. The music itself is similar to background music, as the emphasis is more on Capulet welcoming his guests. It begins with a prominent blast by the strings and timpani followed by a short phrase from the oboe telling the listeners that the party has begun. It then subsides into a short question and answer theme by means of the low brass and middle woodwind, which depicts Capulet welcoming his guests. The cornet then plays a solo accompanied by strings and in this you can almost hear the speech that Capulet gives after he has welcomed everybody and ordered the musicians to play

Welcome, gentlemen. Ladies that have their toes

Unplagued with corns will walk about with you.

Ah my mistresses, which of you all

Will now deny to dance? She that makes dainty,

She I’ll swear hath corns. Am I come near ye now?

Welcome, gentlemen. I have seen the day

That I have worn a visor and could tell

A whispering tale in a fair lady’s ear,

Such as would please. ’Tis gone, ’tis gone, ’tis gone.

You are welcome, gentlemen. Come, musicians, play.

Act One, Scene Four, Line 1-18

The dancing continues and the music displays this by, again, using question and answer snippets, this time to help the listener recognise the dancing and changing of partners. The next section of music Prokofiev has appropriately named ‘Masks’. It begins with simple tambourine and snare drum beats marking out the beats of the bar. The clarinet then interrupts with a small motif that winds the music up to the main outburst by the strings. The theme that the strings develop has a sneaky devious feeling to it that is created by the high pitch and gradual crescendo. The clarinet then repeats this theme with interludes between the strings. This highlights the build up to Tybalt’s outburst that comes in the next new theme of music. To finish off this section of music, Prokofiev has introduced a diminuendo in the low register of the clarinet with the double basses plucking notes with a bigger rest between the next. The next theme that Prokofiev introduces begins with very loud prominent trombones and lower strings that, to me, represent Tybalt’s anger at the intrusion


Uncle, this is a Montague, our foe;

A villain that is hither come in spite

To scorn at our solemnity this night.


Young Romeo is it?


’Tis he, that villain Romeo.

Act One, Scene Four, Line 174-177

It is a harsh sound and although the strings play a quite melodic tune it is the trombones’ blasting chords on the first and third beat of every bar that highlights the issue that is being made. The harsh sound helps to portray Tybalts language and the words that he uses such as ‘foe’, ‘villain’, ‘spite’ and ‘scorn’. They all have a bitter sound to them and are nasty words and the trombones symbolise this. When the trombones and lower brass take over the main theme there is an air of tension and urgency making the listener believe that a climax is being reached and a fight is about to start. This section of music builds up the tension throughout but then ends with two chords by all the instruments. This symbolises the time in the play when Tybalt decides to leave everything for now and when Romeo begins his approach on Juliet.

Gounod takes a different approach from Prokofiev and begins the dance with a waltz. It includes a solo by Capulet where he is introducing his guests and welcoming everyone to the ball. He is accompanied by strings with the double basses striking chords on the first beat of each bar helping to keep the movement going and to remind the listeners that it is a dance. Capulet creates the main theme of the movement and along with a running figure from the strings build up excitement. The chorus then takes over singing the main theme that Capulet has already begun and with the piccolo’s playing high pitched trills they represent the anger that is bubbling up in Tybalt. The whole orchestra eventually plays the main motif while the voices are quiet and the dancing continues. The next movement that Gounod introduces is Mercutio singing a solo that resembles his speech on Mab, Queen of Dreams

O, then I see Queen Mab hath been with you.

She is the fairies’ midwife, and she comes

In shape no bigger than an agate stone

On the forefinger of an alderman,

Drawn with a team of little atomi

Over men’s noses as they lie asleep.

Act One, Scene Four, Line 51-56

Mercutio’s language is very descriptive as he paints a picture of Queen Mab to Romeo and the audience and this is reflected in the music. In Shakespeare’s text this actually comes before Capulet welcomes his guests but Gounod varies this. To reiterate the point of dreaming that Mercutio is making to Romeo Gounod modulates the music from minor to major throughout the middle section of the piece. It is a slow movement that, with the use of cellos and low brass, becomes expressive and romantic. Towards the end the tempo increases and the woodwind enter with short staccato notes followed by running figures that get higher in pitch until they reach their climax which symbolises the end of the piece and their involvement in the masked ball.

Tchaikovsky begins his ball with a transition from the opening theme, starting with the entrance of the timpani. The theme is then briefly developed and then the tempo starts to speed up which then leads into the theme of the party. This theme uses the full orchestra and although it is symbolising the ball it also represents the Montague-Capulet feud. After presenting it Tchaikovsky develops it slightly, first in a canonic style and then by tossing fragments between the strings and the woodwind. This can also represent Tybalt and Capulet as Tybalt becomes angry and Capulet tries to calm him down. The strings then have a fast running motif with the woodwind playing off beat chords which can symbolise Capulet saying no repeatedly to Tybalt


It fits when such a villain is a guest;

I’ll not endure him.


He shall be endured.

What, goodman boy, I say he shall, go to!

Am I the master here or you? Go to!

You’ll not endure him, God shall mend my soul,

You’ll make a mutiny among my guests!

You will set a cock-a-hoop, you’ll be the man!

TYBALT Why, uncle, ’tis a shame.


Go to, go to,

Act One, Scene Four, Line188-15

The main theme is then briefly returned to before the woodwind, alone, slow the pace of music down and at the same time lower the pitch which represents Tybalt subsiding and leaving the argument alone before Tchaikovsky takes us into the following part of the scene.

The first encounter of Romeo and Juliet during this act is one that is hidden by disguise and no knowledge of the other person yet is still instant love. This meeting initiates a series of events that both deepen and particularize their story. It is based on a shared sonnet between the two characters and each one interrupts the others imaginative world. Both Romeo and Juliet are equal throughout the sonnet with Juliet answering Romeo’s wit with her own


Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?


Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.


O then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;

They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.


Saints do not move, though grant for prayer’s sake.


Then move not while my prayer’s effect I take.

Act One, Scene Four, Line 14-1

There is a lot of imagery of saints and pilgrims with Juliet becoming a saint to be kissed and Romeo’s name meaning pilgrim in Italian. The encounter is animated by the obvious attraction that Romeo and Juliet have towards each other and also by the gestures it requires in a performance. The nurse eventually interrupts the two lovers making them both drift back into the party


You kiss by th’ book.


Madam, your mother craves a word with you.


What is her mother?

NURSE Marry, bachelor

Her mother is the lady of the house,

And a good lady, and a wise and virtuous.

Act One, Scene Four, Line -7

She seems the source of knowledge at the end of this act and throughout most of the play. It is the nurse that informs Romeo that Juliet is a Capulet and she also warns Juliet that Romeo is a Montague.

Gounod and Prokofiev both use a madrigal to accompany this scene in their respective opera and ballet. The term ‘Madrigal’ was first used in the fourteenth Century and usually consisted of two voices. It found its poetic inspiration in the verse of the fourteenth century poet Petrarch. At its height in the middle and late sixteenth century the madrigal embodied imitative counterpoint with a great variety of texture, using sensitive and often intense expression of the words. The repertory of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries has madrigals that cover a wide number of voices from one to eight, but generally favouring four or five.

Gounod’s madrigal sung by the lovers at their first meeting is a stylized piece with an attractive archaic flavour. It is a duet where the mannered style can be justified by Shakespeare’s wording at this stage when he has Romeo say

If I profane with my unworthiest hand

This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this,

My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand

To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.

Act One, Scene Four, Line 06-0

To this Juliet replies continuing the image with subtlety, taking up his conceit and borrowing one of his rhymes � this/kiss. When the lovers meet, Gounod creates an air of inspiration. At this point the voices are flowing in answer with each other, accompanied by the string section of the orchestra. When Romeo and Juliet sing, both separately and as a duet, the strings have a running movement that helps the music to create a sense of urgency. In the interludes when the voices are quiet, the strings discontinue the running movement and, along with the lower brass, play long soft chords. With his use of strings, Gounod incorporates urgency into what is a simple love song, capturing what Shakespeare could only do by altering the actors’ tone of voice. Here the love song can continue with the accompaniment reminding the audience/listener that they are at a ball and that the two characters are both from opposite families.

Prokofiev, like Gounod, used a madrigal to portray the love scene of Romeo and Juliet’s meeting. He wrote it at a largo tempo giving all the instruments a chance to shine through. Prokofiev used only strings and woodwind for this section allowing the orchestra to produce a warm, yet full, sound. It is the flute that first plays the main the love theme followed by a variation in the high strings. Prokofiev has used the flute and clarinet to represent Romeo and Juliet with each instrument playing a solo after a string interlude. This helps to portray the conversation that Romeo and Juliet are having. It is as though the flute is asking a question, the strings are reiterating it and then the clarinet is answering. There is a brief snippet of oboe towards the end which can represent the nurse as the sound is slightly more abrasive than the flute and clarinet so it does not seem part of the love spell that is going on between Romeo and Juliet.

Tchaikovsky’s fantasy overture of Romeo and Juliet strikes a nice balance between characterisation and the improvisation called for in a development section. Unlike Gounods or Prokofiev’s versions, Tchaikovsky does not use words or actions, it is simply music. This allows listeners to interpret the music in their own way. Different listeners will have opposing opinions of the actual play and therefore a part of the music might correspond to a different part of the play for each individual listener. The love theme that Tchaikovsky has written is in two main parts. The first part is the main love theme and is played by the flute and oboe with viola accompaniment. Two woodwind instruments playing the same theme can be reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet, as in Shakespeare’s text they are both equals. The phrases are long and lyrical which is characteristic of a love song. The music gradually gets louder and higher pitched making the listener feel that it is reaching the climax, to the part when they kiss. The second theme involves the violins laying continuous soft phrases which makes the music sound very romantic and this helps to tell listeners that the music has reached a love scene in the play. After the flute and oboe have finished their duet there is a brief (two bars) solo from the bassoon which, to me, represents the interruption of the nurse, separating the two.

The Balcony Scene

Act Two Scene One of Romeo and Juliet is the famous balcony scene when the two protagonists admit the love that they have for each other. The first twenty-five lines is Romeo speaking a soliloquy although it is not a true soliloquy as Juliet is listening on the balcony above. Romeo is unaware at this point that Juliet can hear everything that he is saying. It is not till line ninety-two that they begin to speak to each other. Juliet answers Romeo’s first section of admiration for her with a simple ‘Ay me’ (Line 6). Romeo, believing that he is dreaming, then speaks aside, willing her to speak again. It is at this point that Juliet speaks again, this time saying what is probably the most famous Shakespearean line ‘O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?’ (Line 76). Yet Romeo still does not answer her aloud till line ninety-two when the conversation begins and even then Juliet is unsure as to whom is beneath her balcony.

As they find voices to articulate their feelings, Juliet in particular discards pointless words and conventions. She ignores Romeo’s conceits early in their garden scene, intent on learning his identity and access. ‘What man art thou?’ she asks, and Romeo elaborates

My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself,

Because it is an enemy to thee.

Act Two, Scene One, Line 8-

Disregarding the metaphors, Juliet finds her answer elsewhere

I know the sound

Art though not Romeo, and a Montague?

Act Two, Scene One, Line 10-10

As in their first meeting in Act One Scene Four Juliet’s behaviour changes again, whereas she used to obey the authority of the nurse she disappears twice, twice defies authority, and then reappears

[NURSE] (within) Madam!


I come, anon! � But if thou meanest not well,

I do beseech thee-

[NURSE] (within) Madam!

JULIET By and by, I come! -

To cease thy strife and leave me to my grief

Tomorrow will I send

ROMEO So thrive my soul-

JULIET A thousand times good night. Exit

Act Two, Scene One, Line 1-00

Even after Juliet exits she still returns three lines later showing a reluctance to leave the stage and it is at this point that they finalise details of their meeting for the next day. This scene is a sign of Juliet’s emerging dependence and is crucial to understanding her decision to marry Romeo and defy her parents. The love theme that I mentioned in the last chapter moves quickly towards its climax in this scene.

Gounod begins his balcony scene with a short melody that contains no voices. It starts with long notes from the horn and oboe before the strings join in, in unison with a theme that is accompanied by the harp playing running chords to keep the music flowing. When the flute joins the strings it adds an air of romanticism and depicts the beginning of a love theme. Towards the end of this section the music slows down with a ritardando with the flute slowly rising in pitch and the final high pitch note, to me, portrays Romeo having got successfully over the wall


Can I go forward when my heart is here?

Turn back, dull earth, and find thy centre out.

[He turns back, withdrawing]

Enter Benvolio with Mercutio


Romeo, my cousin Romeo, Romeo!


He is wise and, on my life, hath stol’n him home to bed


He ran this way and leapt this orchard wall.

Call, good Mercutio

Act Two, Scene One, Line 1-7

‘Romeo’s ‘Ah! Leve-toi, soieil’ that opens the introduction of voices in Gounod’s balcony scene is a cavatina that reproduces, in finely graded steps of mounting passion, the spirit of the soliloquy ‘Arise fair sun and kill the envious moon’ . When a voice finally enters it is Romeo, singing alone with the accompaniment of the cellos and double basses. This slowly progresses to a clarinet solo with the strings joining in just before the rest of the woodwind does. Romeo then begins singing his ‘solo’ again this time with the harp accompanying him with arpeggic chords and with the french horns playing long chords very quietly. Gounod then places a string interlude in to break up the speech. When the voice joins in again it appears to be dong a different thing to the strings before they eventually come together. Towards the end of this second section the music rises to a climax with the pitch gradually getting higher and more instruments joining in so the volume becomes louder. To me this depicts the part of the scene when Romeo starts to get excited at the sight of Juliet

See how she leans her cheek upon her hand

O that I were a glove upon that hand,

That I might touch that cheek.

Act Two, Scene One, Line 66-68

With the words being monosyllabic it makes the pace of the speech speed up helping to portray Romeo’s excitement and with the repetition of the words cheek and hand we understand exactly what it is Romeo is wishing for.

In the next section of music Juliet joins Romeo in singing a question and answer scenario. The strings accompany both voices to begin with, with long notes that slowly rise depicting the animosity of the first conversation Romeo and Juliet have since they have found out about the family names of one another. During Romeo and Juliet’s conversation there are several different motifs played by many instruments. The violins have short notes that continue to rise up the scale clashing with the oboe that is playing the same melody as the tenor voice (Romeo) but in the form of a canon . The double basses and cellos play continuous plucking notes that remind the listener that Romeo is in a place he should not be and Juliet is risking getting in trouble by conversing with him. After a short string interlude the nurse joins in with her calling for Juliet. After the nurse’s departure Romeo and Juliet’s voices come together singing an octave apart with the cello prominently playing the melody. The music slowly quietens and with the voices singing repetitive words it makes the listener believe that the scene is coming to an end. A solo horn then breaks the silence portraying Juliet returning to the balcony having been to see her nurse. Romeo and Juliet’s voices then become agitated and rise quickly against an augmented chord in the strings. The voices then soften with the strings playing a low soft melody and the tempo slows down as the scene comes to an end. After Juliet’s final departure Romeo sings a solo accompanied by the strings which parallels Romeo’s speech in the play

Sleep dwell upon thine eyes, peace in thy breast.

Would I were sleep and peace, so sweet to rest.

Hence will I to my ghostly Friar’s close cell,

His help to crave and my dear hap to tell.

Act Two, Scene One, Line -5

The strings slowly become higher in pitch at the same time as the tempo slows when the voice trails off and this concludes Gounod’s balcony scene.

Prokofiev begins the balcony scene with short notes rising up by the flute and harp. After a couple of bars the strings take over with a new melody while the flute plays long notes that crescendo throughout. The flute then returns to its first motif of short notes, joined again by the harp. The lead violin then has a solo that is eventually joined by the rest of the strings at a very high pitch in the style of a canon. The flute then begins playing a new melody alongside the original theme in the strings. I associate this section with Mercutio and Benvolio’s discussion after Romeo has climbed over the wall into Capulet’s garden


Come, he hath hid himself among these trees

To be consorted with the humorous night.

Blind is his love, and best befits the dark.


If love be blind, love cannot hit the mark.

Now will he sit under a medlar tree

And wish his mistress were that kind of fruit

As maids call medlars when they laugh alone.

O Romeo, that she were, O that she were

An open-arse, or thou a popp’rin’ pear.

Romeo, good night. I’ll to my truckle-bed;

This field-bed is too cold for me to sleep.

Come, shall we go?

BENVOLIO Go then, for ’tis in vain

To seek him here that means not to be found.

Act Two, Scene One, Line 1-4

In this passage Benvolio’s words are stressed with alliteration with the repetition of the letter ‘H’ in the first line. The bawdiness of the language becomes intense and graphic especially when Mercutio mentions ‘medlars’, as it is a pun on ‘meddler’ meaning to meddle or to have sexual intercourse. He repeats this pun more graphically with ‘open-arse’ a couple of lines later. The sexual bawdy is depicted by the high-pitched style canon. There is a short interlude of music involving sharp stabbing chords from the double basses and cellos. The flute then takes over but rather than the soft romantic sound that it usually gives out it produces quite a harsh sounding tune played in the low register. When the strings take over from the flute with the same melody it is at a higher pitch and slightly softer. This interlude ends the same way as it began, with stabbing chords in the low register of the double basses and cellos. To me, this helps the listener to keep the idea of trespassing and danger in their minds.

Prokofiev divides the rest of the balcony scene into two halves. The first half represents Romeo, his soliloquy and all his attempts to win Juliet’s heart. The second, is Juliet’s half focusing on her intelligent remarks and her speech in the middle of their conversation. The first half begins the same as the whole movement did except with brass and the harp as opposed to the flute playing the stabbing chords. The cello takes over as the main instrument leading the orchestra with the rest of the strings accompanying it. It creates a very full warm sound that fits well with Romeo’s soliloquy at the beginning when he talks about the sun and the moon

It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.

Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon

Act Two, Scene One, Line 46-47

As Romeo gets more overcome by the thought of Juliet Prokofiev adds the brass making the volume louder and it is the piccolo that is prominent with the main theme at a very high pitch. As the volume dips the french horn replaces the piccolo with the theme before the strings, particularly the cello reclaims it. Towards the end of Romeo’s section the whole orchestra plays creating an enormous sound that represents Romeo’s delight and elation at seeing Juliet and having won her heart. The music gradually dies down with instruments dropping out until it is only the flute and oboe left playing a romantic love tune symbolising Romeo calming down and leaving Juliet.

The violins start Juliet’s section depicting the time that she has stood on her balcony listening to Romeo. The clarinets join in with a semiquaver motif that helps to keep the music flowing. Eventually the violins start a new theme that is quickly taken over by the clarinet and flute. This is reminiscent of Juliet’s speech during her conversation with Romeo when she speaks of love and makes presumptions of Romeo’s answer

Dost thou love me? I know thou wilt say ‘Ay’,

And I will take thy word; yet if thou swear’st,

Thou may prove false.

Act Two, Scene One, Line 1-15

The violins return to their long notes with the woodwind playing soft chords on every other beat. The brass joins in with chords and the double basses and cellos play tremolando on the same repetitive note. Slowly the chords fade out until there are just strings and woodwind playing a long chord that lasts for several bars with a solo horn shining through. To me, this portrays the goodnight and the end of the scene with the horn symbolising the danger ahead.

Tchaikovsky places the balcony scene near to the end of his overture with it coming shortly before he portrays the lovers’ deaths in his music. The theme that he uses for his balcony scene is similar to the love theme that he used for to represent Romeo and Juliet for their first encounter. However, this time he positions the short phrases that came second in his other love theme first helping to depict the animosity of Romeo being under Juliet’s balcony. It is played by the wind instruments and is loud and powerful with the strings playing quick semiquaver motifs helping the music to sound faster and to give an air of excitement, not knowing whether Romeo is going to get caught or not. The music then changes to a lyrical part that is played with lots of emotion. It involves a duet by the oboe and clarinets with the cornets playing a quiet chord on every other beat of the bar and the violins playing a short lyrical semiquaver motif underneath. This helps to represent the words of the two lovers as they are talking about love and having to leave each other till the morning. The cornets and violins portray that time is running out and they must leave one another soon whilst the oboe and clarinet resemble their conversation


O wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?


What satisfaction canst thou have tonight?


Th’ exchange of thy love’s faithful vow for mine.


I gave thee mine before thou didst request it;

And yet I would it were to give again.


Wouldst thou withdraw it?

Act Two, Scene One, Line 168-17

The flute then joins in with the clarinet and oboe playing at a higher pitch helping the music to reach its climax before the mood turns tense going into a minor mode representing the appearance of the nurse. The music then begins to retreat to the Feud theme symbolising Juliet’s departure into her room and the idea that there is still a chance that Romeo could be caught trespassing on Lord Capulet’s land.

Friar Laurence

Act Two Scene Two is the first time that Shakespeare introduces the audience/reader to Friar Laurence. In just twenty-two lines he manages to tell us a lot about himself. The soliloquy that he speaks is important to indicate his narrative importance and helps us to pick up on his character. The Friar uses a rhyming pattern that until now has not been present. It is a series of rhyming couplets and within them one line plays against the other and this makes the rhyme. By having the two lines the Friar appears to be making both points that he raises valid. The first and second couplet establish the time of day

The grey-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night,

Checking the eastern clouds with streaks of light;

And fleckled darkness like drunkard reels

From forth day’s path and Titan’s burning wheels

Act Two, Scene Two, Line 1-4

These four lines are descriptive within themselves with ‘grey-eyed’ being conventionally linked to early morning, ‘Titan’s’ referring to sun god and the ‘burning wheels’ ‘belonging to the chariot he drives across the sky in his path’. By identifying plants as he collects them he is telling the audience that not only is he a philosopher but also a chemist. The philosophical side of the Friar is also distinguished by the lyrical language he uses as exemplified in the above quotation. The Friar becomes the spokesperson for moderation and restraint in the play. This is reflected from the first time that we see him collecting plants to make medicines. This is ironic as it is the Friar who engineers the final tragedy by using his collected plants to make a poison that will stop Juliet’s heart beat for a couple of days so that she is presumed dead. On

meeting Friar Laurence it is also the first time that the play is confined to a small space � the private area of his cell. The qualities of the compositions by Gounod, Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky change accordingly with this by using a smaller part of the orchestra than usual making the sound smaller.

When Romeo enters the Friar continues to speak in couplets and as Romeo speaks he carries on the rhythm of couplets although it is out of character for him. As Romeo is asking Friar Laurence to marry him and Juliet the speech keeps moving forward all the time and the rhyming couplets help the pace to continue. The Friar offers wise advice to Romeo at the end of the scene when he begins to rush all his thoughts and actions


O let us hence! I stand on sudden haste


Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.

Act Two, Scene Two, Line -4

This helps the audience realise that Friar Laurence is a friend to Romeo and that he is trying to guide him but there is also an underlying idea that the Friar is older and wiser.

Gounod focused more on the marriage ceremony of Romeo and Juliet that Friar Laurence conducted rather than the first time that we meet the Friar. But even from the short marriage scene we can hear what instruments are used to characterise the Friar. It is the solo cello that is most commonly linked to Friar Laurence in Gounod’s opera and it begins the marriage ceremony with long notes. The Friar’s part is sung by a bass making him lower than the rest of the group in his cell so he becomes easy to distinguish. When he begins to sing he remains on one note making his voice sound very monotonous although he is saying some happy words and is about to deliver a joyous ceremony

So smile the heavens upon this holy act,

That after-hours with sorrow chide us not.

Act Two, Scene Five, Line 1-

The music then modulates up a tone representing Romeo’s conversation with the Friar before Juliet’s arrival where he is asking what sorrow could arise from such a cheerful event. When Juliet makes her appearance she sings a solo in a minor key striking a difference between her, Romeo and Friar Laurence. By singing in the minor key it puts across any apprehension that she might be feeling about the secret wedding. There are augmented chords being played in the strings and brass underneath the voices of all three persons that are present. The voices mirror an authentic wedding service with the Friar singing answered by Romeo and then the Friar speaking to Juliet with her answering him. Shakespeare does not use the wedding as a significant part of the play and it is not acted out on stage, instead it is portrayed in the Friar’s cell . To mark the end of the ceremony all the voices join together and sing in unison. The music becomes pompous and joyful celebrating the wedding of the two protagonists. The violins mirror the voices and the timpani recreate the sounds and beats of wedding bells helping to symbolise a church wedding. The strings and brass play a bold fanfare representing the Friar’s final words before the end of the scene

Come, come with me, and we will make short work;

For, by your leaves, you shall not stay alone

Till holy church incorporate two in one.

Act Two, Scene Five, Line 5-7

The speed of this section of speech is quite fast due to the amount of monosyllabic and alliteration used such as the ‘W’s’ in line one. The poetic sounds are cancelled out by the words with Shakespeare using the word ‘alone’ in line two and then using the opposite word of ‘incorporate’ in line three. This makes Gounod’s music quite deceiving as he has had a ceremony portraying the wedding of Romeo and Juliet yet he still ends the scene with the Friar’s original words in the play yet the words that Shakespeare wrote are telling us that they are not yet married. It appears that Gounod has done this because the wedding is not acted in the play and it helps to clear up any confusion as to whether Romeo and Juliet are actually married.

Prokofiev introduces Friar Laurence the same way that Shakespeare does � with a solo. It is only a short section of music and he does not carry on the scene with Romeo’s arrival. It is exclusively the Friar’s piece of music and by having this it helps to be able to distinguish the Friar’s appearance later in the play as we have already heard the style of music used to represent him. The music begins with a simple melody played by the bassoons and horn. The harp produces a chord at the beginning of each bar and occasionally on every beat of the bar with represents the Friar walking along, occasionally stopping and then getting faster. The melody is slow and soft which helps to depict the Friar thinking as he walks and also portrays the small space that he is confined to within his cell. It also portrays some of the words that the Friar says as he is talking about earth and nature so his words are descriptive

The earth that’s nature’s mother is her tomb;

What is her burying grave, that is her womb;

And from her womb children of divers kind

We sucking on her natural bosom find;

Act Two, Scene Two, Line -1

By using rhyming words like ‘womb’ and ‘tomb’ Shakespeare is almost spelling out the tragedy of the play but at the same time building on the Friar’s characteristic of using rhyming couplets. The clarinets and flutes play sporadic long notes that similar to the harp depict the Friar pausing as he looks at his flowers. The cellos and strings take over the main theme from the bassoons and they glide from note to note giving the music a graceful air representing the religious beliefs of the Friar even though later in the play it is the Friar that organises the deaths. As the strings’ section reaches its climax the music becomes more full and louder helping the listener to recognise the change in the Friar’s language when he starts to use stronger words like vile and abuse

For nought so vile that on the earth doth live,

But to the earth some special good doth give;

Nor aught so good but, strained from that fair use,

Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse.

Act Two, Scene Two, Line 17-0

The strings then subside and the bassoons, horn and harp re-enter with their original tune. Again the clarinets and flute play long notes but this time the oboe joins in mirroring the bassoon creating an angelic sound. The bass clarinet joins the group and slowly takes up the theme until it is the only instrument playing. To me, this portrays the Friar’s words when he mentions poison and power as the instrument represents power as it has silenced all the other instruments and has gained control of the music

Within the infant rind of this weak flower

Poison hath residence and medicine power

Act Two, Scene Two, Line -4

The ordinary clarinet then assumes control of the theme and brings the piece to an end with a slow diminuendo , helping the music to die out thoughtfully.

Tchaikovsky differs again to Prokofiev and Gounod in his musical interpretation of Friar Laurence. He uses a series of chords in the wind section to represent the Friar and this is introduced firstly in the introduction of his overture. The music is fairly slow at this point with the flute, clarinet and bassoon playing the chords in a steady semiquaver motif. This motif is the melody and is played in unison with the brass adding the occasional chord to give the music a lift. This section is then repeated at a faster tempo accompanied by pizzicato (plucked) strings. The music at this point helps to portray the joyfulness of the Friar’s words in his first soliloquy even though it opens Tchaikovsky’s overture

Now ere the sun advance his burning eye,

The day to cheer and night’s dank dew to dry,

I must upfill this osier cage of ours

With baleful weeds and precious-juiced flowers.

Act Two, Scene Two, Line 5-8

Again, the language in this passage is very poetic with the Friar’s rhyming couplets making the text bounce at the end of each line depicting the happy Friar walking through his gardens. Not long after Tchaikovsky’s love theme discussed in chapter one the theme for Friar Laurence is played in fragments by the winds along side his feud theme. More often than not Friar Laurence’s theme in the winds played in conjunction with the feud theme that Tchaikovsky has put in the strings. Whether this is coincidental or purposeful I do not know but in my mind it helps to reiterate the point that the Friar is not the good person that is expected of him.

Later on in the music Friar Laurence is once again blasted out in a broad explosive manner by a trumpet over fragments of Tchaikovsky’s feud theme. This is far removed from Friar Laurence’s first quiet appearance in the introduction. This helps to represent the Friar’s change of character when, later in the play, he offers a poisonous helping hand to Juliet

Hold, daughter, I do spy a kind of hope,

Which craves as desperate an execution

As that is desperate which we would prevent.

If rather than to marry Count Paris

Thou hast the strength of will to slay thyself,

Then it is likely thou wilt undertake

A thing like death to chide away this shame,

That cop’st with death himself to scape from it;

And if thou darest, I’ll give thee remedy.

Act Four, Scene One, Line 68-76

With Tchaikovsky’s music having reached a climax before the Friar’s theme it shows Juliet’s despair at having to marry Paris and the Friar calming her down before offering her a dramatic exit. After this Friar Laurence’s theme is not heard till after Tchaikovsky’s representation of the balcony scene discussed in chapter two. This part of the overture is also expressive, helping to portray Friar Laurence’s speech upon learning that Juliet is ‘dead’

Peace, ho, for shame! Confusion’s care lives not

In these confusions. Heaven and yourself

Had part in this fair maid; now heaven hath all

And all the better it is for the maid.

Your part in her you could not keep from death,

But heaven keeps his part in eternal life.

Act Four, Scene Four, Line 1-6

The coda of Tchaikovsky’s fantasy overture contains the love theme, played in a minor key helping to give a sense of the final tragedy. There is also a variant of the Friar’s theme which, like at the beginning, is peaceful and depicts the representation of peace in heaven and portrays Friar Laurence’s last speech that explains the tragedies that have occurred in the play

I will be brief, for my short date of breath

Is not so long as is a tedious tale.

Romeo, there dead, was husband to that Juliet;

And she, there dead, that’s Romeo’s faithful wife.

I married them, and their stol’n marriage-day

Was Tybalt’s doomsday, whose untimely death

Banished the new-made bridegroom from this city,

For whom, and not for Tybalt, Juliet pined.

Act Five, Scene Three, Line -6


Shakespeare’s use of language in Romeo and Juliet has been portrayed differently by Gounod, Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky in their respective pieces. Although all three composers use different genres of music for their interpretations, the scenes that they focus on are all similar. It is interesting that each of the composers depicted the wedding scene in a corresponding manner, each portraying a church wedding service whereas Shakespeare places the wedding off stage and only refers to it in the text as opposed to acting it out on stage.

Gounod’s opera Romeo et Juliette (1867), influenced more by Garrick than Berlioz, heightens the passion of the love story by closing with a duet in which the protagonists invoke God. The history of Prokofiev’s ballet music aligns this score with other experimental versions of the narrative. Commissioned in 14 and rejected as undanceable, the music finally turned the ballet into a political statement about betrayal and misuse of power.

Here Levenson is making the point that different composers have looked at opposing material in the play and based their compositions on them.

By Gounod’s interpretation of Romeo and Juliet being in the style of an opera, the words relate very closely to Shakespeare’s text although Gounod does swop the order of some of the scenes around. As there is a text with Gounod’s music it is fairly easy to see what instruments are used to illustrate certain characters. Prokofiev’s ballet uses the form of dance to portray the action of the characters. By using visual images the portrayal of action incorporated in Shakespeare’s play becomes recognisable. As a member of an audience and a listener it is possible to associate music with dance which helps the plot to unfold. Tchaikovsky’s method for portraying the plot of Romeo and Juliet is one that he leaves open for the individual. A knowledge of the play would be useful to a listener to enable them to interpret the music as there are no words or actions to aid them. Tchaikovsky mainly incorporates themes into his fantasy overture, which recur throughout the piece as opposed to following the guidelines of Shakespeare’s text.

From the opening sonnet to the closing sestet, short lyrics in Romeo and Juliet form a heterogeneous series. The amatory verse includes not only sonnets but also quatrains, octaves, an aubade, an epithalamium, a duet, a quartet and some straight forward rhymed passages.

With Shakespeare using rhymed passages throughout Romeo and Juliet it helps composers to form their music. As Romeo and Juliet is a tragic love story Gounod, Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky all based their music on a series of themes, mainly the feud and the love story, yet it is Tchaikovsky that continues the idea of themes throughout his music, interpreting them slightly different each time they occur.

If this work has succeeded in its purpose of interpreting classical music compositions, based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, then it will above all enable listeners to speed up the process of understanding Gounod’s, Prokofiev’s and Tchaikovsky’s music, alongside Shakespeare’s text, by directing their attention to significant features of their works.


This glossary has been adapted from that in The Cambridge Music Guide edited by Stanley Sadie and Alison Latham.


An interval that has been increased by a semitone (See semitone below).


A type of polyphony in which a melody is repeated by each voice or part as it enters (See polyphony below).


A slow tempo.


A texture in which two or more independent melodic lines are combined.


Becoming slower


Half a tone, the smallest interval commonly used in Western music.


A rapid reiteration usually of a single tone by the trembling action of a bow of a string instrument.


Brown, D, Tchaikovsky The Early Years, London, Victor Gollancz Ltd., 178

Drakakis, J, Editor, Shakespearean Tragedy, London, Longman, 1

Harding, James, Gounod, London, George Allen and Unwin Ltd., 17

Levenson, Jill, L, Editor, Romeo and Juliet, Oxford World’s Classics, Oxford University Press, 000

Sadie, S and Latham, A, Editors, The Cambridge Music Guide, Cambridge University Press, 16

Sternfeld, F, W, Music in Shakespearean Tragedy, London, Routledge and K.P, 16

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A constant theme throughout the history of literature and drama that often intrigues people and catches their attention is the use of blood. Blood shows guilt or shame due to someone’s actions, victory or triumph over an enemy, or even courage in battle. But no matter how it is used, blood intrigues an audience and keeps people in suspense. It hooks people into the plot and ensures that they will be interested through the end. This is shown throughout William Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

One of the biggest ways that blood is used in Macbeth is to show guilt. After Macbeth has killed Duncan and Lady Macbeth returns from placing the daggers in the hands of the guards, they are both colored with the blood of the king. The red stains are unmistakable proof that they are guilty. If anyone were to see them in that state, they would have no hope of eluding severe punishment, but they were very quick to change out of their blood stained clothes and wash the blood from their hands. They believed that they had removed all guilt from themselves by doing that. The guilt appears to fall on the two guards outside the king’s chamber who now have the bloody daggers in their hands. Before they can be questioned, though, Macbeth conveniently kills them claiming that he was overcome by a fit of rage due to the appearance of their guilt displayed by the bloody daggers in their hands.

The role of blood as guilt is not limited to just physical evidence. It also serves as a constant reminder for Macbeth and his wife. They think that by washing the blood from their hands, they are free of the deed. They believe that water can cleanse them completely, but their minds are eternally plagued with the thoughts. In the first scene of Act Five, the doctor and a gentlewoman witness Lady Macbeth walking in her sleep. While they watch, she screams aloud “Out, damned spot!…What, will these hands ne’er be clean?…Here’s the smell of the blood still; all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.” She neglected the fact that water can not cleanse the mind. At the time, she thought that it would be simple to cover up the murder and forget about it, but the thoughts have not begun to leave her head. Her worries have only grown and intensified so that she has nightmares of them. The blood sticks with her to the end of the play when it eventually drives her to her death.

On the opposite side of the mirror, blood serves as a sign of courage. Before Macbeth becomes corrupted, he showed extreme bravery in battle. He was one of the military leaders that led Scotland to victory over the rebels. The blood on the edge of his sword was proof that he had fought hard in the battle as opposed to running away from the enemy as a coward would have done. Another person who displayed such courage in combat was Siward’s son. In the final struggle against Macbeth and his men, Siward’s son was killed. His death was one of great valor though. He died of multiple wounds to the chest, which prove that he died fighting. Although Siward was greatly dejected to hear this news, he was proud of the fact that his son had enough courage to stand strong in the face of adversity and combat.

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One final use of blood is to show triumph. In Act Five, when Macduff returns to the stage carrying Macbeth’s head, he proves that he has killed the traitor, and has gotten revenge. Victory is his. Since no action takes place on stage, the blood dripping head serves as a trophy for Macduff and a sign to the audience that Macbeth is truly dead. Macduff does not face guilt for his actions, though. He committed them out of what he thought to be good reason, as opposed to greed. Macbeth had murdered numerous people to try to ensure that he would be king. He feared that his throne would be threatened. Slaying him was an act of justice for the country. Macduff knew that this blood shed was necessary for that purpose. He had done a great service for the people.

Blood serves as a symbol to both the audience and the characters in this play. The audience can see how the blood of the king curses Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. They are unable escape the memory of their actions and their guilt only leads them into more trouble as they try to cover up the truth. Also, Macbeth’s bloody head is necessary to prove Macduff’s triumph. He carries it with pride and boasts of his conquest. This frequent use of blood flows throughout Macbeth and helps keep people interested. It feeds their desire for action while it still greatly contributes to the plot and events of the play.

Please note that this sample paper on Blood is for your review only. In order to eliminate any of the plagiarism issues, it is highly recommended that you do not use it for you own writing purposes. In case you experience difficulties with writing a well structured and accurately composed paper on Blood, we are here to assist you. Your cheap custom college paper on Blood will be written from scratch, so you do not have to worry about its originality.

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Perdue Case Study

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Executive Summary

Purpose of the Report

The purpose of this report is to 1) analyze Perdue Farms as a poultry producer, ) to make an analysis of the industry and Perdue’s competitors, ) to perform a SWOT analysis of Perdue Farms, 4) to identify key issues, and 5) to make recommendations.

Analysis Summary

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Our analysis shows that Perdue Farms is performing well in the poultry industry. They have a brand name that many people recognize as a seal of quality. They lead the industry in research and development, in the area of environmental, biological, and genetic research. Perdue Farms lacks market coverage because they only cover the eastern half of the United States, and a few foreign countries. They also lack market share in the foodservice segment of the market. Their information and distribution system was recently upgraded and it created a source of competitive advantage for them.

Key Issues and Recommendations

We recommend that Perdue Farms implement the following actions

• Maintain and improve the current market share in the consumer retail segment. They will need to expand their market coverage into the western half of the United States. They also need to create more meal replacement items.

• Expand in the foodservice sector. Perdue’s market share in the foodservice sector is not proportional to its overall market share. Foodservice market is important because it is where all the growth will come from.

• Environmental problems should be solved. This will eventually hurt them if it is not taken care of soon.

• International expansion should be pursued, but it should be done with caution, as there are many uncertainties in the international market.


Perdue was first started by Arthur W. Perdue in 10, when he left his job with Railway Express and entered the egg business full-time near the small town of Salisbury, Maryland. Even as a small business, the emphasis was put on quality. By the 140s, Perdue Farms was already known for quality product and fair dealing in a tough, highly competitive market. The company began offering chickens for sale when Arthur saw that the future lay in selling chickens, not eggs.1

In 150, Frank Perdue took over leadership of the company. He started implementing vertical integration, operating his own hatchery, starting to mix his own feed formulations and operating his own feed mill. Also in the 150s, they started to contract with others to grow chickens for them. By furnishing the baby chickens and the feed, they could better control the quality. In the 160s, Perdue Farms continued to vertically integrate. They built their first grain receiving and storage facilities, and Maryland’s first soybean processing plant. The company entered the poultry processing business when they bought a Swift and Company processing plant in Salisbury. Quality continues to be the focus point. Frank Perdue actually tossed out chickens that state graders passed as grade A and which he didn’t think had sufficient quality. At one point, Perdue chickens were shipped to the market packed in ice, justifying the company’s advertisement at that time that it sold only fresh, young broilers. In the 180s, Perdue Farms expanded southward into Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia. It also began to diversify by acquiring other producers such as Carroll’s Foods, Purvis Farms, Shenandoah Valley Poultry Company and Shenandoah Farms. During the 180s, the firm decentralized under a consulting firm’s recommendation. But the decentralization had created duplication and enormous administrative costs. In 188, the firm experienced its first year in the red. The company refocused, concentrating on efficiency of operations, improving communications throughout the company, and paying close attention to detail to pull the company together.1

Jim Perdue, Frank’s son, took the leadership role in 11. More formally educated, Jim focused on operation, infusing the company with an even stronger devotion to quality control and a bigger commitment to strategic planning. Under Jim Perdue’s leadership, Perdue Farms expanded into Florida, Michigan and Missouri. The international business segment was formalized serving customers in Puerto Rico, South America, Europe, Japan and China.1

Goals and Implementation

Perdue’s vision of the future is to be the leading quality food company with $0 billion in sales in 00. They have several goals to help them realize their vision. Perdue’s several goals are to provide a superior quality product, offer their consumers a portfolio of trusted food and agricultural products, rank Perdue Farms Inc. among the best places to work, expand in the domestic retail and food service area, and expand internationally.

Superior Quality Product

Penned by and unchanged from Frank Perdue Farms Inc.’s original wording, the Perdue Farms Inc. Quality Policy is, We shall not be content to be of equal quality to our competitors. Our commitment is to be increasingly superior. Contribution to quality is a responsibility shared by everyone in the Perdue organization.

From the first batch of chickens that it processed, Perdue’s standards were higher than those of the federal government. One anecdote that proves this is that told by one of the state graders who was concerned that he had rejected too many chickens as not being Grade A. Upon finishing his inspections the first day, he turned to see Frank inspecting the birds that the inspector had previously approved. To his astonishment, Frank placed them all in the reject pile. 1

Frank had refused to have his broilers frozen for shipping. He made sure that they were packed in ice for shipping to maintain freshness. Today some still are shipped that way, when possible. 1

Frank used selective breeding to produce a chicken with more white breast meat than the typical chicken.(Rumor has it that his chickens were so envied by the competition that they have been stolen on occasion to improve competitor flocks.) 1

One of Perdue’s first strategies was implemented when he saw that Maine chicken growers could charge more “because their birds skin had a yellow hue,” so “he added marigold petals and corn gluten to his flocks diets, and pitched them as more tender and well-fed than his competitors chickens.” Perdue thought that if he could emulate the competition in Maine by making a more yellow chicken, he could charge a three-cent premium.4

In 168 Perdue Farms Inc. Farms made a key strategic purchase of a broiler processing plant from Swift Company completing the initial integration of the poultry operation, thus giving Perdue Farms Inc. complete quality control over its product. Thanks to Perdues choice of maximum vertical integration they can control every detail from breeding and hatching its own eggs, building Perdue-engineered chicken houses, all the way up to having their own trucking fleet for distribution.1&

In 170, Perdue began their primary breeding and genetic research program. In 1, among other PPE expansions Perdue Farms Inc. established a microbiology lab to further ensure product safety. To date, the company spends more on R and D as a percent of revenues than any other poultry processor. Because of this, Perdue gains experience from being involved in USDA pharmaceutical tests giving them a competitive advantage.1&

Portfolio of Trusted Food and Agricultural Product

In order to meet the goal of offering consumers a portfolio of trusted food and agricultural products Perdue has made dozens of acquisitions and comes up with new and different products annually. Perdue acquired Carrolls’ Foods, Purvis Farms, Shenandoah Valley Poultry Co., and Sahandoah Farms in 184. The latter two diversified the companies market to include turkey. In 185, the company introduced PERDUE DONE IT!, a line of fully cooked, fresh chicken products. The original items included chicken breast nuggets, cutlets, and tenderloins.

Perdue also has a grain and oil seed division that it has acquired and expanded over the years that diversifies the company and provides it with a synergy; although, only 15% of Perdue’s sales are generated from this sector. The grain and oil seed division complements their fowl business and allows them additional revenues. According to their website, they buy the grain from more than 5,500 farmers. They then process and send it to their own feed mills. “Each year, they purchase approximately 170 million bushels of corn, soybeans, wheat, milo, and barley.”

In addition to using the processed grain to form a synergy with their feed mills, Perdue “procures, processes and trades ingredients for the feed, food, and pet food and fertilizer markets. Their operations in this division allow them several opportunities.” The following are some highlights from the site regarding their grain and oilseed division

• Their refinery produces edible vegetable oils and lecithin that major food companies use in products ranging from cookies to salad dressing.

• Their commodities trading operation, with offices in the U.S. and Canada, enables them to buy and sell feed ingredients in the domestic and international marketplace.

• Their protein conversion operations recycle poultry by-products into value-added products for the feed and pet food industries.

• They manufacture and sell custom-blended protein feed ingredients for the poultry, livestock and dairy industry and conduct research into animal nutrition.

• Perdue AgriRecycle, a joint venture company, is the first of its kind of operation to convert surplus poultry litter into organic fertilizer pellets formulated for precision agriculture.

Best Places to Work

The logic for trying to make Perdue one of the best places to work was summed up nicely by Jim Perdue when he explained why it is important to put associates first, If [associates] come first, they will strive to assure superior product quality- and satisfied customers.”1

An example of Perdue Farms Inc.’s employees first policy would be when Perdue Farms Inc. took action on behalf of an increasing number of Hispanic workers who were undereducated, lacked basic health care, and knew little of the English language. The firm now provides classes to help non-English speaking employees assimilate. They can now earn their GED. Other examples of employees first policy would include an ergonomics committee in each plant, and 10 clinics at 10 plants to provide wellness programs that are staffed by professional medical people under contract to Perdue Farms. “The company thus benefits from a reduction in lost time for medical office visits, lower turnover and a happier, healthier, more productive and stable work force.”1

The Food Service

The Food Service sector consists of 50% of the total domestic poultry sales with 0% of Perdue’s revenues generated from this sector. This sector has an annual growth rate of 1% from chicken and turkey sales domestically. Perdue’s main competitive advantage is the creation and exploitation of the strong Perdue brand name and history of quality of the Perdue products established in the minds of consumers.1

The visionary that he was, Frank Perdue believed that he could earn more by charging more, i.e. selling chicken at a premium price. However, for that to be possible the customers would have to ask for it by name. Against counsel from his ad agency, in 16 Frank added an additional $80,000 to the theretofore $50,000 advertising budget. Frank began studying and taking courses on advertising. He consulted experts and interviewed 48 ad agencies, finally ending with Scali, McCabe, and Sloves, who decided that Frank himself would be the best man to be the firm’s spokesperson. They began the ad campaign with Perdue coining the phrase, It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken.” He also boasted that his graders reject 0% of what the government inspectors accept as grade A”; thus adding to and proving the value of the Perdue name.1

According to Rubenson and Shipper , The food service business consists of restaurant chains, governments, hospitals, schools, prisons, transportation facilities and the institutional contractors who supply meals to them.” They said that because traditional grocery sales have gone down and the food service sector has grown, the best strategy for prevailing in the food service market is acquiring companies that already have the expertise such as Gol-Pak which was acquired in Sept, 18, and takes in revenues $00 million annually.1&

Domestic Retail

The strategies in the domestic retail area have been like other areas; to maintain high quality products efficiently, establish strategic partnerships with national supermarket chains, and provide convenient products to meet the evolving consumer markets. Domestic retail sails accounted for 60% of Perdue Farms profits in 000.5

The domestic retail sector consists of five outlets 1) The fresh meat counter, whole chicken and parts; ) the delicatessen, processed turkey, rotisserie chicken; ) The frozen counter, individually quick frozen items like frozen whole chickens, turkeys and Cornish hens; 4) Home meal replacement, fully prepared entrees such as Perdue Short Cuts and Deluca Brand entr�es, and finally 5) shelf stable, canned products.1

The retail frozen products could create a possible conflict with past claims to freshness. The case authors say that they are currently researching what the term fresh means in the customers mind. They then will be able to develop new marketing themes that convey that concept.1


On the international scene, Perdue has somewhat of a “toehold” in Asia. In the early 0s, they began sending chicken feet to China. This is a good strategy because although the paws are not accepted as edible in the U.S., the Chinese see them as a delicacy. Another plus from this strategy is how the eastern and western markets complement each other. The west prefers white meat, while the Asians typically like dark meat, so each market gets what they want and nearly the entire chicken is used while charging a premium price to both markets. Usually whatever is leftover after that is used in making other products like pet food. By 18, they had achieved annual revenues over $140 million from selling a wide variety of chicken to China, Japan, Russia, and the Ukraine.1

Perdue has encountered trouble in attempting to expand abroad. It is hard to come by a refrigerated truck in China. One time a shipment bound for Russia disappeared. It had been impounded using forged documents. All this, coupled with the poor economies and high import duties, provides Perdue with quite a challenge. To prevent mistakes due to cultural differences, Perdue has gone into a joint partnership to develop a small processing plant in Shanghai. Unfortunately, it is not permitted to export poultry to the US, so it will be difficult for Perdue to capitalize on the excess white meat in China. Hopefully it will be permissible in the future. 1

External Environment

Industry Environment

According to the United Food and Commercial Workers, “Industry profits rose over 00 percent in the 10s. Worker productivity is at an all-time high. Increasing consumer demand has made poultry the highest selling meat product in the country. Poultry industry giant, Tyson Foods--dominates the market commanding over 7 percent of the U.S. poultry market share.”6

Perdue ranks as number 5 of the nations top broiler companies with 1 slaughter plants right behind ConAgra Foods with 1. Tyson is first with 41 slaughter plants.


The U.S. meat and poultry industries account for the largest segment of the U.S. agricultural economy. Total meat and poultry production in 000 exceeded 80 billion pounds, a 1% increase since 187. This translates into an estimated $100 billion in annual sales. As previously stated, Americans consume 5 pounds of meat per person each year. Fifty-four pounds of that is chicken and 14 pounds is turkey. America produces 0,4 million pounds of chicken and 5,7 million pounds of turkey per year.8

Domestic per capita consumption has seen only minor growth in the past decade, and slow population growth in the U.S. suggests that demand has plateaued. The saturation of the U.S. market means that the industry must look to foreign markets to continue to increase in size. Thus, the market is dependent on expansion in the international market.

Competitor Analysis

Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation is the second-largest poultry producer in the US. Pilgrim’s operations are more or less the same as Perdue’s breeding, hatching, raising, processing, distributing, and marketing of chicken and turkey. They sell to restaurants, grocery stores, and frozen entr�e makers. They also sell fresh whole and cut-up chicken. They sell the products in North America, East Europe, and Asia. The Chairman Lonnie Pilgrim owns 61% of the company. They had in 00 a net income of $56 million. 10

ConAgra is similar to its competition in the operations aspect and who they sell to. What makes them different is that they also make and distribute seafood, dairy, food ingredients, mill flour and corn, and they trade food commodities. ConAgra foods are comprised of more than 0 brands including Banquet, Chef Boyardee, Healthy Choice, and Van Camp’s. ConAgra had a net income in 00 of $777.4 million. 10

Tyson Foods is the largest chicken producer. Tyson’s recent purchase of IBP Fresh Meats, make it the world’s largest meat processing company. They serve retail, wholesale, and food service in the US and more than 100 countries around the world, twice as many as Perdue. Tyson is also vertically integrated. Don Tyson controls 80% of Tyson’s voting power. Tyson had a net income in 00 of a whopping $7 million. 10

The following graph provides a comparison of Perdue’s top three competitors in annual sales.

Graph was created from a compilation of information from 10

Internal Environment


Financial resource

Although financial numbers for this private company are not available, most financial sources indicated the annual revenue for Perdue is at about .5 billion dollars and it employs about 0,000 associates. The company has been profitable since its inception, except in 188 and 16. If revenue is an indicator for financial strength, Perdue is doing pretty well.1

Location of the Firm’s Plant and Equipment

Perdue is headquartered in Salisbury, Maryland, and most of its production facility is located on the east coast, which is where most of its customers are. This allows them to deliver the freshest product to their customers at the lowest cost. They also have a freezing facility at New Port News, Virginia, to prepare chicken for export to Europe and Asia. The new facility in Shanghai is located strategically near Japan, which is a large export market for Perdue. 1

Access to Raw Material

Everything Perdue needs is either supplied by themselves or through a partnership with others. Perdue breeds and hatches its own eggs, selects its contract growers, builds Perdue-engineered chicken houses, formulates and manufactures its own feeds, oversees the care and feeding of the chicks, operates its own processing plants, distributes via its own trucking fleet, and markets the product. By integrating vertically, they can control the quality of their chicken by selecting quality raw material. 1


Perdue Farm was the first to put a computer on their customer service associates’ desks, allowing them to enter customer orders directly. Then they developed a system to track product inventory and truck location at all times. Computers were also put on customers’ desks to shorten the distance between customers and them. The latest addition to technology is the multi-million dollar IT system. They trained 100 associates to use this system to make it easier and more desirable for the customer to do business with Perdue Farms, easier for Perdue Farms associates to get the job done, and take as much cost out of the process as possible1.

Leaders that Have Great Vision

Arthur Perdue started the business selling eggs, and he sees the future lies in selling chicken. Frank Perdue took over the company and saw that the future lies in processing of chicken. Under Jim Perdue, Perdue Farms expand geographically in the US and internationally. If not for those leaders, Perdue might not be here today. 1

Brand Name

Perdue Farms has one of the best-known brand names in the poultry industry. They were the first to brand their chicken, and ever since there has been a perception that Perdue’s Chicken is good chicken. This is a unique competitive advantage to them since the consumers now are willing to pay premium price for quality. Not many other chicken producers can do that. This is the most valuable resource to Perdue Farms, and it is the most difficult for competitors to imitate. 1


Adaptive to Environment

Perdue Farms is very flexible and able to adapt to different environments. They transformed from egg producer to chicken producer to poultry processor, and then vertically integrated to be more flexible. They are also catching on to the globalization, first by exporting to other countries, then establishing facilities in China to serve the local market but also serve as an exporting point. They don’t know the Chinese market very well, so they partnered with a local producer to learn the local cultural and legal environments. Perdue Farms utilize all those knowledge to be more efficient, such as selling chicken feet, which is a waste in the US, to Asian countries, where they are considered a delicacy. 1

Effective and Efficient Control of Inventories and Transportation

By vertical integration, Perdue Farms has its own trucking capability. They were the first ones in the industry to put computers on trucks to keep track of inventory. The new multi-million dollar information system can now more efficiently forecast demand and control production and inventory level. By locating their production facility near their customers, they can ensure their product will be delivered fast and fresh. 1

Core Competencies

Production of Quality Chicken

Perdue Farm’s chicken is like the Cadillac of the poultry industry. They were the first to brand their chicken and create brand loyalty. They control almost everything that goes into their production. This is their main source of competitive advantage that competitors cannot match. This core competency distinguishes Perdue Farm from its competitors. It emerged over 80 years through a process of learning how to produce high quality chicken. This emphasis on quality has performed well compared to competitors, and has added value to Perdue Farm and their products. 1


Perdue spends more on research as a percent of revenue than any other poultry processor. Their main focus on research differentiates their product by adding value and increasing quality. Their research resulted in products that became the basis of their early advertising, such as “Perdue Chicken contains 0% more breast than other chicken.” Their research has increased the conversion rate for the feeds, which cut down on the time needed to grow a pound of chicken. Extensive cooperation with USDA field tests gave Perdue knowledge and experience in R&D. Perdue Farm’s R&D program contributes to the quality of their chicken, and competitors do not easily imitate it. 1


As the first company to brand their chicken, marketing is one of the core competencies for Perdue Farm. The slogan “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken” was well recognized, and the overall campaign for Perdue to create a brand value for a commodity product is a large success. In 168, Perdue held about percent of the New York Market. By 17, one out of every six chickens eaten in New York was a Perdue Chicken. 51 percent of New Yorkers recognized the label. A lot of people, old and young, still recognize the brand in New York City when I went there. Even though other producers have their own brand now, Perdue still has an advantage in terms of creating a theme to market all their products because they can build on their existing basis. 1

Industry Environment

Threat of New Entrants

With two thirds of the market share being held by five major companies who each have large economies of scale, especially Tyson Foods, they have all been able to reduce the cost of manufacturing greatly, giving the current market shareholders the advantage over the rookies.

Thanks to branding and customer loyalty, companies like Tyson with a history in the market have the advantage of being seen as unique and reputable. Given the choice between John Doe Chicken and Tyson Chicken, Tyson will always win in the mind of the loyal consumer.

Any would-be new entrants would have to dig deep into their pockets to cover the amount of advertising it would take to overcome the bias of the consumer. That is in addition to the start-up costs for hatcheries, feed mills, processing plants, storage facilities, and other capital requirements, not to mention if they want to use maximum vertical integration.

Most of the seasoned companies in the industry have developed long-standing relationships with their distributors if they haven’t vertically integrated them yet. The distributors are dependent on these veterans of the market and would suffer from switching costs were they to grant access to the new entrant.

Most of the veterans have claimed all the best locations and have had time to develop technology, and have had time to develop all the strategic alliances necessary to assure survival. The governmental regulations such as environmental protection policy must be attended to as well such as the disposal of dead chickens, chicken parts, and manure and other waste. This would add to the start-up costs of new entrants in contrast to the veterans of the market who already have developed systems of compliance in place.

Bargaining Power of Suppliers

The suppliers have virtually no bargaining power. The industry to which they supply is more concentrated than that of the suppliers’. The companies can do business with any other farmer at the end of the contract instead of renewing it. There are little switching costs for the buyers.

According to the National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice, (NIWJ) The poultry giants usually offer a take-it-or-leave it contract to growers. That way they get out of certain environmental obligations of dead bird and manure disposal. Although contract farmers invest over half of the capitol required in the industry, it is the companies that reap as much as a 0% ROI and the contract farmers see little more than a 1-% return. This allows company giants like Tyson and Perdue to get away without covering health care, pension, or other benefits to catchers.4

Perdue may sound like quite the philanthropist with his lofty goal of making Perdue “one of the best places to work”; however, an article of the Monitor in 18 has suggested otherwise. It expound on how Perdue puts the “squeeze” on those whom it depends on

Perdue Farms brochures, for example, guarantee healthy returns to farmers who borrow $100,000 for a chicken house where they can raise flocks of day-old chicks on company feed. However, its contract must be renewed with each flock, and for a farmer facing a mortgage payment, the prospect of being cut off is frightening. We have no negotiating leverage, says David Mayer, one of Perdues 1,000 plus growers in North Carolina. 4

Not only has Perdue exploited the farmers but the “associates” as well, most of whom are black women. The monitor went on to say that; “Perdue has increased output by mechanizing parts of his processing plants and increasing the line speed. Workers who gut and cut-up 50 chickens a minute in the 70s are now doing as many as 0 a minute. The employees have to repeat the same movements thousands of times daily until they simply “wear out.” The article said that it was normal procedure for more than 60% of the workforce to visit the nurse daily and there have been a plethora of health problems ranging from tendonitis to carpel tunnel syndrome, and that Poultry workers quit their jobs at five times the rate of other workers. Not surprising considering that the injury rate for poultry processors is one of the 10 highest in manufacturing, higher even than mining. 4

It is nice that the “associates” have a place to visit and get an Advil if need be, but we believe it to be imperative that Perdue addresses this issue soon. He may be reducing his financial cost only to replace it with human cost, and who can put a real value on humanity, especially if one of Perdue’s main goals is to “Place Perdue Farms among “One of the best places to work”?

Bargaining Power of Buyers

The bargaining power of buyers from the poultry industry is held mostly by the supermarkets who buy a large portion of the total output of the industry. They could switch to any of the other suppliers with minimal switching costs provided the geography is on their side. As much as Perdue boasts about a superior product, many of the products in the poultry industry are standardized and often knock-offs copy those that are first seen as unique.

Product Substitutes

Perdue sells chicken, which have many substitutes. Any major categories of meat, seafood, or vegetable that have similar nutritional value have the potential to replace chicken. Overall, poultry is still the favored kind of meat around the globe. As stated, Americans consume 5 pounds of meat per person each year and fifty-four pounds of that is chicken and 14 pounds is turkey.8 Unless the preference for chicken changes due to social, cultural, or any other reason, there is not a huge imminent threat to replace chicken. The following graph shows the rise in consumption of chicken versus other meat.


Intensity of Rivalry

Perdue is big but it is dwarfed in comparison to Tyson. This gives Perdue the advantage of acting quickly once it makes a decision to do so. Most of the industry is consolidating. The giants are absorbing the little no-name companies and assimilating them. Perdue’s top competitive advantages are the amount of money put into R&D and its brand name that stands for quality. Perdue cannot afford to be a price leader and a differentiator as easily as Tyson can.


Business Level Strategy

Since its inception, Perdue Farms have adopted a differentiation strategy, where they command a premium price for the better quality chicken that they sell. As the competitors started gaining the same competitive advantages, Perdue Farms started losing market share and uniqueness. Customers started to feel that the price differential between Perdue Farms’ chicken and cost leader’s chicken is too large. Because of the expansion of market both domestically and internationally, Perdue has shifted its business strategy to integrated cost leadership / differentiation strategy. Customers in the food service segment put much more emphasis on cost rather than quality. They want to produce relatively differentiated products at relatively low cost so they can earn above average return. They will fully harness capability of the new and revitalized information networks to reduce cost, but at same time keeping up the implementation of total quality management that is in place to provide better quality products than competitors. It is good for Perdue to realize that they cannot command premium price based on quality alone, and they will have to compete on price, but if this integrated cost leadership / differentiation strategy does not work, they will lose their image as a differentiator and be stuck in the middle.

Corporate Level Strategy

Perdue Farms has a low level of diversification with it dominant business in poultry processing. They vertically integrated to provide much of what they need for growing and processing chicken. The only diversification that they have, although related, is to produce fertilizer pellets from chicken manures. The acquisitions that Perdue made all pertain to expansion of their market share and diversification within their dominant business. After all, growing and processing of chicken is what they know the best and are good at. Why risk expanding into unfamiliar territories if there is still a huge potential for growth?

International Strategy

On the international level, Perdue Farms is pursuing a transnational strategy. They are seeking to achieve both global efficiency and local responsiveness. The international market is a perfect complement to the US market. While consumers in the US prefer white meat, Asian consumers generally prefer dark meat. By having a presence in both markets, Perdue can better utilize the difference in preference and achieve higher efficiency. Perdue is also testing different concepts in China, such as tray items to see if the market is receptive to such a concept. The needs are very different abroad, so they are learning what local customers want and being flexible in that market.

SWOT Analysis


Name Recognition

Because of Perdue’s quality control, they have a reputation for producing quality products. Their customers recognize Perdue’s name for quality and innovation. They chose maximum vertical integration in order to control every detail. Because of this, their name is a strength to them.

Vertical Integration

Perdue breeds and hatches its own egg, selects its contract growers, builds Perdue-engineered chicken houses, formulates and manufactures its own feeds, oversees the care and feeding of the chicks, operates its own processing plants, distributes via its own trucking fleet, and markets the product. This vertical integration allows them to control the quality of their products. The total process control and integration also enables Perdue Farms to ensure that nothing goes to waste. They sell what used to be waste, such as the chicken feet that is sold to the orients as a delicacy.1

Research & Development

R&D is necessary for providing quality products, and Perdue Farms has been the industry leader in research. They conduct more research than all competitors combined, and that research leads to competitive advantages. It was their research into selective breeding that resulted in the broader breast, which was widely advertised. The company employs specialists in avian science, microbiology, genetics, nutrition, and veterinary science. Productivity is increased dramatically due to research. In the 150s, it took 14 weeks to grow a three-pound chicken versus seven weeks for a five-pound today. 1


Since poultry has a limited shelf life, the delivery has to be timely and the forecast has to be accurate. Usually poultry companies have relied principally on the projection of demand, based on that of the past, industry networks and other contacts to make their estimates. Perdue Farms put PCs on each customer service associate’s desk so they can enter customer orders directly. Also, a system was developed to put dispatchers in direct contact with every truck in the system so that they would have accurate information about product inventory and truck location at all times. A multi-million dollar information technology system that represents the biggest non-tangible asset expense in the company’s history was purchased in order to control the entire supply chain management process. This sophisticated system can efficiently integrate all facets of operations including grain and oilseed activities, hatcheries and growing facilities, processing plants, distribution facilities, distributors, supermarkets, food service customers, and export markets. 1

Financial Management

Since Perdue is a private company and their financial information is proprietary. The stock is held primarily by the family with a limited amount held by management, so the decision lays on the Perdue family. They have been profitable every year since its founding with the exception of 188 and 16. Since they don’t raise capital from outside the company, they approach financial management conservatively. Mainly they use retained earnings and cash flow to finance most asset replacement projects and normal growth. Long-term debt is used for expansion projects and acquisitions. Because of this structure and management, they are more dynamic in response to market conditions. 1


Corporate Structure

Since Perdue is a private company, someone with the last name likely makes all the decisions. Their structure is still like when they first started. Although they tried to decentralize in the 180s, their effort was not successful. 1 As markets are changing rapidly today, top management is not going be able to keep up with the changes. They need to decentralize and give each division more autonomy in making decisions in order to grow.

Environmental Issues

Chicken produces waste. Dead chickens and manure are major problems in soil and water pollution. In the Delmarva area chicken outnumber people 5 to 1. Perdue Farms actually trucks waste from a Delaware plant and injects it into Maryland soil. This practice is illegal in Delaware, but legal in Maryland. Small farms in the Chesapeake Bay region produce 75,000 tons of manure. This overwhelms the ability of crops to absorb the manure as fertilizer. Large amount of excess nitrogen and phosphorus run off fields and eventually end up polluting the bay. High levels of these elements have been implicated in the outbreak of the toxic microbe pfiesteria. In 16 and 17, a major pfiesteria outbreak killed hundreds of thousands of fish in the bay watershed. Exposure to pfiesteria has caused commercial fisherman, swimmers and water-skiers in Maryland to suffer from health problems ranging from pounding headaches to body lesions that won’t heal and short-term memory loss. In 17, Maryland’s Department of the Environment filed suit alleging that a Perdue chicken processing plant dumped organic waste and bacteria into a tributary of the Church Branch River in Worcester County. Perdue agreed to pay $80,000 in penalties and spend $150,000 on “remediation” according to the Attorney General’s office. As a major poultry producer in the region, Perdue is one cause of the problem. If the situation is not improved, it will cost Perdue money and their reputation.1

Market Coverage

Geographically, since Perdue still ships its chickens packed in ice to ensure quality, they don’t have a wide coverage area. They deliver mostly to the East Coast, so the Midwest is not well covered. Food service is an area in which Perdue has not been very competitive. Food service accounts for about 50 percent of total poultry sales while approximately 0 percent of Perdue Farms revenues come from this category. Perdue has neither strength nor expertise in the food service market. 1


International Sector

In the 10s, Perdue began exporting specialty products such as chicken feet to customers in China because it is considered a delicacy there. All Asian markets prefer dark meat, which is a perfect fit for the US market, which prefers white meat. Perdue Farms has developed a portside freezing facility in Newport News, Virginia, so poultry can be shipped directly to the port to reduce shipping cost. Perdue Farms has created a joint partnership with the Jiang Nan Feng brand in order to develop a small processing plant in Shanghai. This is a step in the right direction for Perdue to be successful in both domestic and international markets. First, Perdue stays more price-competitive by eliminating oversea shipping costs, new freezing facilities, and import taxes. Second, in order to maintain their high quality and build brand recognition, they have to have control of oversea operations. Third, Shanghai is geographically located to export to Japan and Korea. They represent a growing market that appreciates quality and is receptive to branding. Finally, having an operation abroad will alleviative some of the environmental concerns in Maryland. There is a great opportunity to expand to the international market, and Perdue needs to seize this opportunity if they want to survive. 1

Food service

The food service business consists of a wide variety of public and private customers including restaurant chains, governments, hospitals, schools, prisons, transportation facilities and the institution contractors who supply meals to them. Historically, these customers have not been brand conscious, requiring the supplier to meet strict specifications at the lowest price, thus making this category less attractive to Perdue Farms. But as more and more Americans eat a larger percentage of their meals away from home, the food service sector has shown strong growth. Across the poultry industry, food service accounts for half of the total sales while it only accounts for 0 percent of Perdue’s revenue. Perdue Farms acquired Gol-Pak to gain strength and expertise in the food service market, but they need to do more to become competitive and gain market share. 1

Environment Efforts

Perdue had some environmental issues with authorities. They were fined, and there is still a great amount of suspicion. Environmental issues present a constant challenge to all poultry processors. Perdue Farms tries to be pro-active in managing environmental issues. They have created an Environmental Steering Committee to oversee how the company is doing in such environmentally sensitive areas as waste water, storm water, hazardous waster, solid waste, recycling, bio-solids, and human health and safety. They have developed compact machine for use on each farm to dispose of dead birds, and they developed a way to reduce the waste by 50 percent by selling the liquid fraction to a pet food processor that cooks it for protein. One of the most fascinating solutions to the excess manure problem is they will process the excess manure into pellets for use as fertilizer. This would permit sale outside the poultry growing region. All these efforts will hopefully be translated into profit for Perdue Farms, and also improve their image tremendously. 1

Retail Market

There is a growing market for delicatessen and home meal replacements. Since Perdue chicken is known for quality, there is a great opportunity to partner with a national supermarket chain to market delicatessens under the Perdue brand name. They already have a large market share, and their new task is to create a unified theme to market a wide variety of products to a wide variety of customers. Industry experts believe that the market for fresh poultry has peaked while sales of value added and frozen products continue to grow at a healthy rate. So if Perdue can form a partnership with supermarkets in order to market high quality delicatessen and home meal replacements, there is a good chance for greater market share and profit. 1


Environment Threats

Environmental issues present a constant challenge to all poultry processors. Opponents argue that the growing, slaughtering, and processing poultry processes are dangerous to workers, inhumane to the poultry, hard on the environment and results in food that may not be safe.

Solving industry environmental problems presents five major challenges to the poultry processor.

1. How to maintain the trust of the poultry consumer

. How to ensure that the poultry remain healthy

. How to protect the safety of the employees and the process

4. How to satisfy legislators who need to show their constituents that they are taking firm action when environmental problems occur

5. How to keep costs at an acceptable level1

If Perdue cannot meet those expectations, they may incur fines, or even worse, there could be government laws and regulations that could fundamentally change how Perdue’s production operation operates.

Hostile Work Environment

Perdue sounds like quite the philanthropist; however, an article of the Monitor in 18 has suggested otherwise. It stated that Perdue has followed a profit-maximizing strategy expand production, shorten the birds life cycle and squeeze everybody involved in the process, beginning with the farmer. Perdue Farms brochures, for example, guarantee healthy returns to farmers who borrow $100,000 for a chicken house where they can raise flocks of day-old chicks on company feed. However, its contract must be renewed with each flock, and for a farmer facing a mortgage payment, the prospect of being cut off is frightening. We have no negotiating leverage, says David Mayer, one of Perdues 1,000 plus growers in North Carolina. 4

Not only has Perdue exploited the farmers but the “associates” as well, most of whom are black women. The Monitor went on to say that; “Perdue has increased output by mechanizing parts of his processing plants and increasing the line speed. Workers who eviscerated and cut-up 50 chickens a minute in the 170s now find themselves processing as many as 0 a minute. The employees have to repeat the same movements thousands of times daily until they simply wear out.” The article said that it was normal procedure for more than 60% of the workforce to visit the nurse daily and that there have been a plethora of health problems ranging from tendonitis to carpel tunnel syndrome, and that poultry workers quit their jobs at five times the rate of other workers. This is not surprising considering that the injury rate for poultry processors is one of the 10 highest in manufacturing, higher even than mining. 4

It is nice that the “associates” have a place to visit and get an Advil if need be, but we believe it to be imperative that Perdue addresses this issue soon. He may be reducing his financial cost only to replace it with human cost, and who can put a real value on humanity, especially if one of Perdue’s main goals is to “Place Perdue Farms among “One of the best places to work”?

International Expansion

Much of Perdue’s competitive advantage is gained from branding. In Asia, however, there is not a strong sense of branding. Shipping to Asia has its problems. Most delivery trucks in China are not refrigerated. So the poultry can begin to thaw as it is being delivered, limiting the distance it can be transported prior to sale. There was one shipload of Perdue Farms chickens that had been impounded using forged documents in Russia. Import duties and taxes are also a barrier. In China, import duty rates for poultry are a whopping 45 percent for favored countries and 70 percent for unfavored countries. And there is a 17 percent value added tax for all countries. Import duties and taxes in Russia have been similarly high. By investing in the international markets, there are social and economic consequences. There will be some negative feeling toward using Mexican and Chinese production facilities instead of producing locally. External customers may view international expansion as a threat to American jobs, and employees may have anxiety about losing their jobs as well. 1

Key Strategic Issues

Environmental Problems

As mentioned in the threat section, there is an environmental problem in the Delmarva Peninsula due to the chicken waste. The problem is caused by waste water polluting the area’s water. It is still yet to be proven that the poultry industry is to blame for this, but it is the common understanding among local people. Perdue has been fined for various environmental violations, and they are trying to find ways to improve on this situation. One of the things that they did through their R&D is coming up with a solution to make fertilizer pellets from chicken waste, and ship them out to other states. Another thing is selling dead chicken to pet food producers to cook proteins for pet food. They are also relocating their production facility to other areas away from the peninsula to decrease the concentration of chicken producers there. 1 All these actions are positive for the environment and Perdue’s image, but they need to move most of their production facilities out of that area to avoid more problems.

International Expansions

International markets are very attractive to Perdue due to its large potential and saturation of US market. Their main export is to Asia and Europe, and they even have a production facility in China. Everybody likes chicken, not just the Americans, Asians, and the Europeans. There is opportunity to expand to Latin America to get a head start on grabbing market shares. International expansion is not without it down sides. Exporting costs are high, and there is always the uncertainty of social cultural problems.

Advertising for the Product Line

Most of the advertising done by Perdue is mainly focused on their chicken, but right now they sell more than just chicken. They have a line of ready to eat meal replacements and other products. As more and more Americans eat out and consume ready-to-eat meals, Perdue needs to establish a name for themselves for their product line, not just their chickens.

Geographical Expansion to Midwest

Perdue does not have a market presence here in Minnesota or any states west of the Mississippi. There is the potential to double their domestic sales if they expand and cover the remaining states. There is serious competition in the Midwest, because there are many poultry producers here. By entering these markets, there might be retaliations by other producers to enter markets currently dominated by Perdue.

Creating a Brand Name Abroad

International expansion for Perdue is good in Japan because the Japanese have the concept of brand name commodity, but not in the country of China. They don’t understand why one chicken from Perdue is superior to chickens from the local producers. This is a major problem to Perdue because their reputation of producing quality chicken is their main competitive advantage in the US. As more and more US companies start doing business in China, the Chinese will eventually grasp the concept of brand recognition. Perdue needs to have an advertising campaign abroad, and keep up the quality of their product in order to establish this brand recognition in China.


Competitive Advantage

It is important for Perdue Farms to realize that the competition is catching up in terms of product quality, name recognition, and vertical integration. Although Perdue Farms still leads the industry in those areas, competitors are not far from matching, or even bettering Perdue Farms in those areas. All the top competitors in the industry have the similar structure and strategy. To accomplish their goal of $0 billion in sales by 00, they need to develop a more distinguishable competitive advantage to flourish in the future. With the current industry status, Perdue Farms will have a tough time in meeting their goal if nothing changes.

Food Service

Perdue does not have a large market share in this segment of the market. Studies have shown that more and more Americans eat out at restaurants, and this means that the demand for more chicken in this segment of the market. Also, restaurants want better quality chicken to prepare dishes that they can command a premium price. This is great news for Perdue Farms. They need to increase their market share in this segment because this is where the growth in the U.S. will come from. Emphasis on quality needs to be reemphasized, and they should have an advertising campaign to target the foodservice market buyers.

Consumer Retail

The consumer market in the US is saturated. The growth in this market is minimal. Perdue already has dominating market share in some geographical segment of the United States, mainly in the East and Southeast. As studies have shown, there are more and more meal replacement items eaten by Americans. Perdue needs to cover the entire United States, since it is easier to do that than expand internationally. They also need to create more meal replacement items since they will be the majority of the growth in the consumer retail segment.

International Sector

International markets have the highest potential for growth, but they also have the highest risk involved as well. Uncertainties can really hurt the company. The international market is attractive enough that it is worth the risk of entering. Perdue is headed in the right direction with their international expansion, but they are still behind when compared to Tyson Foods, which has international operations in more than 100 countries. Perdue needs to implement their international strategy one step at a time, and keep forming strategic partnerships with foreign producers to learn and enter the foreign markets. They don’t have the size that Tyson Foods has, so they don’t really have a second chance if one of their international operations were to go disastrously awry.


The environmental issue is a double edge sword. They can hurt Perdue if there are government regulations or penalties targeted at poultry producers, but it can benefit Perdue if they can find a way to reduce the problem, and at same time, build a positive image for the company. Their R&D has developed a way to convert waste into fertilizer, and Perdue should integrate this operation into their business. They need to come up with a solution to solve the pollution problem in the peninsula before the regulations hurt them.


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American Meat Institute. 0 Nov

10Perude Farms Incorporated-Fact Sheet. 00. Hoover’s Online. Nov. 00

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