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Romeo & Juliet by Shakespeare

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 2481 words Published: 25th Apr 2017

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Romeo Juliet Shakespeare

Romeo & Juliet

Romeo and Juliet is a tragic story based on two noble households in the city of Verona. These two houses have an ancient grudge between them which leads to violence and conflict. In the two families, two “star crossed” lovers will emerge and, suddenly the lovers will die because of the parents’ feud. As a result the play is tragedy. The reason for this is the two “star crossed” will die and we the audience know this from the start-this is given in the prologue. There death will also punish many of the characters from both of the houses; so many people will be affected.

Romeo and Juliet is believed to be written before the Elizabethan reign by the prominent English poet and playwright William Shakespeare, widely regard as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist.

Before the Elizabethan era plays where usually performed in public places, for example courtyards and large country houses. Up until Shakespeare’s time, plays were usually based on religion theme, stories from the bible and miracles. These plays meant to instruct people and teach them a moral lesson. Actors at the time were looked down upon by the people and many regarded them as there role model. As the world was starting to move this meant that people would use theatres to perform there plays. The Elizabethan era was experiencing a generation of new entertainment.

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The regulation of the theatre meant that the ordinary people would normally stand in the yard, the rich people where seating in the upper gallery, and the gallery above the stage sometimes used by musicians or spectators. As a tradition in the Elizabethan era woman were not allowed to perform due to religion reasons and this meant that the female roles were played by males, so the play of Romeo & Juliet, Juliet would have been portrayed by a male. As the years has gone by theatres was regarded as prestigious venue for entertainment during the Shakespeare’s time and to some extent it was more respected within the vicinity that was build in.

In Act 3 Scene 1, Shakespeare creates a lot of tension in this scene through characters. Benvolio starts the tension because, Benvolio says “I pray thee, good Mercutio, let’s retire. The day is hot, the Capels are abroad” This quote shows us that Benvolio is worried because the day is hot and the people are not in good mood in addition to that the Capulets are out and about, so Benvolio does want to meet them, he uses the word “retire” to Mercutio which means lets get of the street. Benvolio continues on to say “and if we meet we shall not scape a brawl- for now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.”

Benvolio suggests that if they meet the Capulets they want avoid a fight. Shakespeare uses words like “Mad blood stirring”, to build up tension because he wants the audience to be anxious. “Mad blood stirring” could also suggest that the people are mad and are willing to start a fight so they can have blood in their hands, by means of killing someone. Shakespeare also uses the technique of foreshadowing through the character of Benvolio to give clues to the audience by using words such as “Mad blood stirring”.

On the other hand Mercutio is not anxious about anything and does not care about the Capulets coming and he is prepared to fight or argue with anyone, as he says to Benvolio “And yet thou wilt tutor me from quarrelling!” this quote shows us that Mercutio does not want to be taught to quarrel and this also suggests that he can fight and will fight anyone, as he is not worried for his safety.

By Contrast the previous scene which is the wedding scene (Act 2, Scene 6), Romeo and Juliet are in happiness and joy. They are looking forward for there bright future and are happy to be wife and husband. There is a point near the end of the scene when Juliet expresses her love and feelings to Romeo, she says “But my true love is grown to such excess I cannot sum up sum of half my wealth.” This quote shows us that Juliet expressed her love to Romeo in a more romantic way and in a way where she can’t calculate the total amount of her wealth, that’s how deeply she loves Romeo. This entire romantic scene was about to change to its worst in Act 3, Scene 1.

Enter Tybalt, with other Capulets and servants. Benvolio is anxious because, he says “By my head, here come the Capulets” this quote tends to show that Benvolio is worried and, it suggests another thing because Benvolio is a peacemaker, he is a man with his will and is highly avoiding any feud from the Capulets. However Mercutio replies with a straight forward answer by saying “By my heel, I care not”, this quote also shows us that Mercutio is a person with no fear and has sarcasm.

As Tybalt approached them, he said “Gentlemen, good e’en: a word with one of you.” This quote shows us that Tybalt is speaking to Mercutio and Benvolio with respect because he uses the word “Gentlemen” and during the monarchy of Elizabeth people from noble houses were “Gentlemen” as they were rich. Rather usual Mercutio teases Tybalt and makes fun of him he says “And but one word with one of us? Couple it with something; make it a word and a blow.” Shakespeare is increasing the tension between the characters in a numerous way one way which is Tybalt, is starting to insult Mercutio in unacceptable way by saying “Mercutio, thou consortest with Romeo-“ this quote illustrates to us, that Mercutio is highly disrespected by the comment made by Tybalt.

Mercutio replies with fury by saying “Consort? What, dost thou make us minstrels? And thou make minstrels of us, look to hear nothing but discords:” this quote proves that being a paid musician is no better than a servant, so Mercutio doesn’t not appreciate it. While Mercutio is moving his hands to his swords, Benvolio interferes in the conversation by saying “We talk here in the public haunt of men! Either withdraw unto some private place,” Benvolio is suggesting to the two characters to go in a private place or withdraw there swords.

He then continues to say “And reason coldly of your grievances, Or else depart; here all eyes gaze on us.” On this part of the quote Benvolio wants them to stop the fight and both of them to go to their separate ways; in addition to that he wants them to be reminded of the words of the Prince, as the Prince said “If ever you disturb our streets again, Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace.” So Benvolio wants the feud to be stopped and he wants the other two characters to know that many people are looking as well if the fight happens both houses will face there consequences for their life.

Based on this conversation between the characters, Shakespeare creates humour through the character Mercutio in order to make the audience enjoy themselves and get into the play in a more respectful way. I have also realised that Shakespeare made Benvolio the peacemaker between the characters and Tybalt the brawler. This is a good technique through the characters because it makes it more realistic, interesting and exciting in this scene.

Romeo enters and Tybalt completely forgets about Mercutio and says to him “Well, peace be with you, sir. Here comes my man.” This quote suggests that Tybalt was looking for Romeo and he saw his enemy. When Tybalt says “Romeo, the hate I bear thee can afford No better term than this,--thou art a villain.” This quote proves us that Tybalt has so much envy in his heart and really insults Romeo, by saying “villain” because in the reign of the Elizabethan time that word was very insulting especially for someone like Romeo as he comes from a noble family. Romeo responds to him calmly by saying “Tybalt, the reason that I have to love thee Doth much excuse the appertaining rage To such a greeting:” this quote shows us that Romeo is trying to make peace.

Then Romeo rejects being called a villain. Tybalt continues to provoke Romeo by using the word “Boy” which is an insulting word as well. Tybalt continues to say “this shall not excuse the injuries That thou hast done me; therefore turn and draw.” This quote proves that the “injuries” that has been caused to Tybalt, is because Romeo went to the Capulets party which was insulting to Tybalt and wants to challenge him in a fight. But Romeo tenders the Capulets as he values his own name (which is the Montague) this is because of Juliet.

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Mercutio joins in the conversation and says “O calm, dishonourable, vile submission! ‘Alla stoccata’ carries it away.” This quote suggests that Mercutio gets in a very bad mood because his friend Romeo got insulted badly and, Mercutio seeing his friend doing nothing makes him look awful. So he is drawing his sword. Tybalt also draws his sword and says “I am for you!” This quote suggests that Tybalt doesn’t like to be embarrassed or get insulted and wants a challenge.

As both characters are fighting. Romeo raises his voice by saying “The prince expressly hath Forbid this bandying in Verona streets” this quote shows us that his reminding them about what the Prince said and is avoiding the fight, this reminds the audience the consequences of any fight. In order to try to stop this fight Romeo comes between them, obstructing the fight. Mercutio gets wounded.

Shakespeare creates suspension through Mercutio when he was dying. Mercutio repeated “A plague on both your houses” for several times in the play. This quote has a major impact and effect throughout the whole play because Mercutio died in the arms of his own friend in top of that he curses both families, because that was there fault that he died. I believe, the reason why Romeo and Juliet died at the end of the play is because the curse said by Mercutio. This fits with the theme of the play because there fate and destination is been said.

There are many dramatic impacts, when the characters enter the scene and exit. That creates a lot of tension with in the audience. Firstly when Mercutio was dying, he curses both of the families. Tybalt exits the scene and runs with his followers, the reason why he runs with his followers, is because he is afraid, he is shocked and he knows that Romeo will eventually kill him. Benvolio exit’s the scene and soon re-enters the scene to inform Romeo that his friend Mercutio had died of his wound, saying “O Romeo, Romeo, brave Mercutio's dead!” .

Tension rises with its maximum because the audience will ask themselves how Romeo will react upon the death. Tybalt re-enters the scene and tension is rising like a hurricane but the audience will still wonder what both of the characters will do. Romeo killed Tybalt tension increase to boiling point as Romeo regrets killing Tybalt and says to him “O, I am fortune’s fool!” , and blames Juliet for being soft. Although the audience are wondering what the Prince will do. The officer enters the scene tension is still growing vividly because he knows who killed Mercutio.

As the Prince, Montague and Capulet, their ladies, servants and attendants enter the scene, both families are blaming each other. On one hand Benvolio is saying who started the fight to the prince. On the other hand Lady Capulet is blaming Romeo for killing Tybalt and she believes that Benvolio is standing up for Romeo. In addition to that she says “Romeo must not live” this quote suggests that lady Capulet wants Romeo to be extinct. However the prince comes to a conclusion and chooses not to kill him and says “immediately we do exile him hence!” Now that the audience know that Romeo has been banished from the city of Verona they will ask themselves where he will go next.

Shakespeare uses a lot of dramatic irony. Dramatic irony means when the characters on stage are ignorant but the audience knows his/her fate. The dramatic irony on this scene is when Romeo married Juliet. This is a dramatic irony because the characters are unaware of the wedding, so the audience are the only people to be aware about it. This dramatic irony has made a big effect because it was a miscommunication that caused that major brawl. If Romeo informed Mercutio and Benvolio about this wedding no one would have been wounded or died in this scene as these both characters would have been more aware of the situation.

The conflict between the characters has a major impact with in the audience because they will react with sympathy. The dramatic irony involves the audience because it makes them want to stop the fight. The audience will also react in fear because they do not want to see both characters die whether there good or not. In top of that the reaction of the audience is they want them to have peace between each other. Moreover the audience wants to tell Romeo about his wedding to Tybalt but he can’t as he fears the brawler.

This play is linked to previous scenes for example the brawl at the start of the play because the prince warned both household not to cause any feud, if so they will face there consequences. But most of the characters tend to ignore the real issue and they did what was acceptable to them but not to the authority. It can also be linked to the feud of the Montague and the Capulets as mentioned in the prologue “from ancient grudge” the prologue suggested that this feud has been going for years and this feud want stop until the “Two Stars” lovers die as there fate was said in the prologue.

In conclusion I believe that this scene has a major affect with in the audience because many people had to suffer as a result of this feud. This scene was made as a turning point in the play because, is where all the important things happen for example Romeo being exiled from the city of Verona. At the end the audience will have some interest because the Prince’s word influence the audience because, as we the audience would imagine if they obeyed and listing to the Prince’s word, nothing bad would happen to any of them.

Based on my personal Knowledge I believe this scene is more of an emotional melodrama rather than tragedy. This is because many characters loose there life for only a minor reason and that reason is the feuding of there parents. If both household made peace and love for each other, but instead the love that both characters had, ended them being dead, I also believe that this vileness between this two houses is maybe due to the religion that they believed in, because this play is believed to written before the Elizabethan era, because during the reign of Mary I people used to fight to follow one another’s believe e.g. Catholic and Protestant.


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