Why is Act 1 Scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet such an effective piece of drama?

Categories: Romeo And Juliet

Juliet has been betrothed to Paris and the Capulets are holding a masked ball to celebrate. Earlier in the day the family had been involved in a brawl with their deadly enemies, the Montagues.

At the beginning of scene 5, Shakespeare makes the audience impatient by showing the servants preparing for the Capulet ball. They move with haste and panic, moving furniture and carrying dishes, calling out "He shift a trencher...scrape a trencher", and this helps to increase the audience's feeling of anticipation.

We know that the Montague boys, including Romeo, intend coming to the celebration wearing masks to disguise themselves and this feels us with anticipation and excitement because they might begin fighting again. Shakespeare manipulates us with effective drama at this point.

Lord Capulet enters and welcomes the guests. He is speaking in verse to create a different effect to the language spoken by the servants. He says "What man...tis not, so much..." and "Come Pentecost as quickly as it will".

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This makes the tone a lot happier and funnier than what it was before. This keeps the audience interest in it, as they would not get bored. It also emphasizes the difference in class between Capulet and the servants. Capulet is a very senior figure in society whereas the servants are just low life workers. The effect that Shakespeare gives here is the class between the societies. He clearly shows the ways different classes are treated.

At line 44 the audience see Romeo as he catches sight of Juliet and is immediately captivated by her beauty and he has already forgotten about Rosalyne, who was the girl he though he loved.

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We know that he has fallen desperately in love with Juliet as he says, "For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night". He is captivated by her exquisiteness. He uses many similes and metaphors to tell us about Juliet's good looks as he says, "she doth teach the torches to burn bright" and "so shows a snowy dove trooping with crows". He also declares that she is like a "rich jewel in a Ethiope's ear". This creates the effect of her being such a beautiful women that she might be like a diamond or another rich jewel. He also tells us that "did my heart love till now?" Romeo thought before that he loved Rosalyne, but now he knows that what he feels for Juliet now is actually love. At this point in the play the audience are aware that Romeo and Juliets families are enemies but the star crossed lovers are unaware of who each other are. This makes the play more fascinating and intriguing.

As her sheer beauty bedazzles Romeo, Lord Capulets nephew Tybalt catches sight and recognises Romeo and he sends a servant to fetch him his weapon. We know this because Tybalt says, "This by his voice is a Montague...Send for my rapier boy". Tybalt is extremely angry that Romeo Montague has entered the Capulet house. He wants to kill Romeo. He feels it is a disgrace to his family. Tybalt goes at once to tell his Uncle that Romeo has trespassed, but Capulet wants his nephew to leave Romeo alone. "Verona brags of him". Capulet heard good things about this young man and he knows that Romeo does not harm those who don't harm him. Tybalt does not like Capulets decision and he still wants to kill Romeo. Tybalt says, "To strike him dead...not a sin." This is saying that he feels that if he killed Romeo it would not be a sin as he is doing it for his family and it serves Romeo right for entering the Capulet ball. He calls Romeo a "villain" and sets out to kill Romeo. Here we see the harsh truth of Tybalt. We see that he is determined enough to kill Romeo. The audience hopes and prays for this not to happen but we know that it is more than likely that Tybalt will eventually come after Romeo and attempt to murder him.

When Romeo and Juliet first meet at line 96 it is love at first sight. Romeo speaks first to Juliet. He opens up the conversation saying, "If I profane with my unworthiest hand, this holy shrine, the gentle fine is this"; he is saying that her hand, her beauty is like a sacred shrine. It is perfect and that there is nothing wrong with her. He is taken back by her exquisiteness as he says, "My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand." Romeo knows he must kiss her as she says "...stand to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss." When they talk to each other they refer to one another as Pilgrims, beginning on a journey of love. We understand that they want to desperately kiss each other. Romeo takes Juliets hand in his and says, "...Let lips do what hands do". As he says that, they kiss for the very first time. "You kiss by the book" is what Juliet says. She is very impressed with Romeos kissing. The audience are very happy that Romeo and Juliet have shared their first kiss. We feel cheerful that we could have just witnessed the start of an amazing relationship. Although we hope that they end up together we know at some point the truth of their families will catch up with them. We want to carry on reading the play to see whether or not Romeo and Juliet will accept the fact that they are enemies.

As they are talking, Juliets nurse calls her over telling her that her "...mother craves a word with you". Romeo is a bit suspicious and asks the nurse "what is her mother?" The nurse then replies, "Her mother is the lady of the house". Romeo is horrified at this realisation. He says, "Is she a Capulet? O Dear account my life is in my foes debt" meaning that he is in love with his adversary, his foe, his enemy. We are very apprehensive about whether Romeo will carry on trying to meet and see Juliet, now he knows who she really is. This also makes us very nervous.

As the guests leave Capulets ball, Juliet is very distressed to discover that Romeo is the only son of Montague. Juliet wants to know his name so she asks her nurse to go and ask him his name. Juliet says, "Go ask his name-if he be married, my grave is like to be my wedding bed". She is saying that if Romeo is married then she might as well not carry on living, as there is nothing to live for. We know that Juliet is committed to Romeo because of what she has just said. She would not be able to live with her true love. "My only love sprung from my only hate...that I must love a loathed enemy". Juliet tells the audience that she has fallen in love with Romeo, her enemy. She can't help with what her heart is telling her. We can tell that Juliet is horrified to learn that her only love of her life is the person who she is should to despise the most. Shakespeare makes the audience very nervous when Juliet finds out whom Romeo is. We want everything to be all right between them but we don't know yet whether they will eventually have a relationship.

In Act 1 Scene 5 Shakespeare creates the atmosphere with great effect. We as the audience feel very apprehensive about what is happening in the scene and what we have just witnessed between Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare creates excitement and interest with great effect. The mood in the play changes all the time. At one point the mood is romantic with Romeo and Juliet meeting and kissing for the first time. There is also an aggressive type of mood in the play with Tybalt wanting to murder Romeo for entering the Capulets ball. The dramatic impact this play has is enormous. Shakespeare uses different language and moods to keep the audience interested and fascinated. He uses a contrast in verse and prose and also changes the mood from romantic to aggressive and angry.

I feel that Shakespeare makes Act 1 Scene 5 a very good piece of effective drama. Mainly because he keeps us interested in the play by using dramatic dialogue. I thoroughly enjoyed what we read of the play, which was Act 1 Scene 5, and I will certainly get hold of a copy and finish reading 'Romeo and Juliet'.

Updated: Nov 01, 2022
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Why is Act 1 Scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet such an effective piece of drama?. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/act-1-scene-5-romeo-juliet-effective-piece-drama-new-essay

Why is Act 1 Scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet such an effective piece of drama? essay
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