Act one Scene Five is the heart of the play. It is where Romeo and Juliet meet and fall in love with each other. The previous scenes in the play led up to this, as all the drama starts from this scene. In the previous scenes, the Montagues and the Capulets fight with each other, because they have had a long-lasting family feud. Benvolio persuades Romeo to go to the Capulet feast “Your lady’s love against some other maid That I will show you shining at this feast, And she shall scant show well that now shows best.
” Romeo agrees to come “I’ll go along, no such sight to be shown, But to rejoice in splendor of mine own.” Lady Capulet tells Juliet that Paris wants to marry her “Speak briefly: can you like of Paris’ love?”
The scene starts with a short appearance of the servants; this stops the audience from ‘fidgeting’. They have no other purpose in this scene other than catching the audiences’ attention, as this scene is very important.
Throughout the scene, Romeo is masked, as this is the only way William Shakespeare could get Romeo and Juliet to meet each other, as their families have an ongoing family-feud. The family feud goes back years before any of the characters were born, yet it still continues because neither family is ready to forgive and forget the past. “Draw, if you be men. Gregory, remember thy swashing blow.” They have been seen fighting in the public streets and displaying violence which involves the townspeople.
When Lord Capulet enters and greets the guests, we need to be able to tell that he is powerful, arrogant and people respect him a lot. Capulet shouts as he enters, this catches the audience’s attention and gives him a sense of authority at the same time. He is sometimes interfering, commanding, and controlling, but at the same time, he can be courteous and generous, as he appears at his party. I would put him on a staircase which emphasis the fact that he is ‘above’ everyone else, in terms of status. The fact that he shouts his greeting has the underlying purpose of getting the audience to sit up and pay attention after being allowed to get comfortable during the servant conversation.
All the Capulets will enter the scene together, but I would make Juliet enter after her family, to indicate to the audience that she is special. As Juliet enters the scene, we need to let the audience know that Romeo has noticed her. Firstly, we need to let the audience know who Juliet is. We can indicate to the audience who Juliet is by making her costume stand out. I would give her angel wings to make her stand out from all the other girls at the party. We can also use the lighting effect, Chiaroscuro. The areas of light would be around Juliet, while the area of darkness would be the rest of the set. To indicate to the audience that Romeo has noticed her, I would get the guests to stand on either side of the staircase and make Romeo walk out to the center, which will be lighted up a little, where he will stare at her for a few seconds, realize that he is out of line and walk back to the side. We can tell Romeo notices Juliet as he says “What lady’s that which doth enrich the hand of yonder knight.”
If I was to portray this scene to a modern audience, I would make Juliet older than she would have been be during Shakespeare’s time, because girls would get married young and the audience would find it unethical. Earlier in the play (Act one, scene four), Romeo has said how much he loves Rosaline. “I am too sore enpierced with his shaft to soar with his light feathers, and so bound, I cannot bound a pitch above dull woe: Under love’s heavy burden do I sink.” When he sees Juliet, it is love at first sight. “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight. For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.” This leads us to believe that Romeo is fickle. Rosaline is used to show the depth of Romeo’s feelings for Juliet. Once he sees her, he forgets all about other women.
Tybalt is the first to recognise Romeo through his disguise, and would kill him if not for his uncle, Lord Capulet’s forbidding of it. “This, by his voice, should be a Montague Fetch me my rapier, boy.” Tybalt overhears Romeo and this leads to an argument between him and his uncle Capulet, Juliet’s father. Capulet doesn’t allow Tybalt to fight because he doesn’t want to spoil the party. Capulet’s father also respects Romeo. When Tybalt rebels against his uncle, Capulet says “He shall be endured, Am I the master here or you?”
To emphasis authority, I would get Capulet to slap Tybalt. Tybalt resolves to seek revenge upon Romeo for gate-crashing the masked party. “Patience perforce with wilful choler meeting Makes my flesh tremble in their different greeting. I will withdraw: but this intrusion shall Now seeming sweet convert to bitter gall.”
Romeo and Juliet eventually meet each other and start talking. They flirt by comparing a sin to kiss, but also a prayer to a kiss. Using this metaphor, Romeo ingeniously manages to convince Juliet to let him kiss her. The metaphor holds many purposes. Juliet is compared to the image of a saint, a role which she is willing to play. The Anglican church of Elizabethan times saw it as blasphemy; a kind of idol worship, whereas the Catholic Church believed that the honoring of saint’s image was acceptable. Romeo and Juliet’s love has been opposed by the social structures of family and honor, it is shown here, that it could be, opposed by religion. This could be a possible link to more freedom over religious choice, as during Shakespeare’s time, diversity of religion was being accepted following the reign of Queen Mary.
Another reason why reason they flirt by using metaphors is because during William Shakespeare’s time other etiquette authors used this technique. Baldassare Castiglione pointed out in the early 16th century, that if a man used a metaphor as a pick-up line, the woman could pretend she did not understand what he meant and therefore allowing the man could leave without losing his honour. However, Juliet openly understands what he means and plays along with him. Juliet transforms from a timid, young girl to a more quick-witted, mature one during this single conversation.
Both Romeo and Juliet are surprised and disappointed as they discover that the other is an enemy from the opposing family. It is the Nurse who informs Romeo that Juliet’s “Mother is the lady of the house”, and Juliet that Romeo is, “The only son of your great enemy”. Romeo considers his “Life is my foe’s debt”, while Juliet acknowledges that, “My only love sprung from my only hate”. Romeo and Juliet have come to “Love a loathed enemy”. The hatred between the two families separates them from each other.
The audience knows that Romeo and Juliet are going to die. “A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life; Whole misadventured piteous overthrows Do with their death bury their parents’ strife.” Dramatic Irony is present in this scene, as Juliet will die for loving him. “Go ask his name.-If he be married. My grave is like to be my wedding bed.”
In conclusion, as this is one of the most important scenes in the play, Act one scene five is considerably dramatically effective. Shakespeare uses Capulet’s speech to set the mood of the scene, which is a happy mood. This is a contrast to the beginning of the play, so this scene is already different. Shakespeare used Romeo’s expression of love to enhance the mood of the scene.
Tybalt’s speech is used to bring back the conflict between them and also to use the key theme of hate. Finally, Shakespeare adds the kiss of Romeo and Juliet, to amplify the passion and drama, but also to express a key theme of the play, love. These two themes lie throughout the whole play, and the reason why this scene is popular is because many people can relate to these two themes, of love and hate. The scene ends on a cliffhanger, which leaves the audience watching long into the night by carrying over the suspense at the end of the scene.
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