Why is Act one Scene five of Romeo and Juliet an effective piece of drama?

Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy written by Shakespeare and is probably Shakespeare’s most well known and momentous play. The themes of forbidden love, romance, secrecy and tragedy are portrayed throughout the play. The story is located in Fair Verona and deals with a long standing dispute between two families the ‘Montague’s’ and the ‘Capulet’s’. Romeo is the heir to the Montague family, and attends a masquerade held by the Capulet’s where he encounters Juliet and finds a place in her heart.

They yet to find out that they belong to families who share enmity, which fate brings together as a pair of star crossed lovers. However, due to their family’s rivalry their love is forbidden. They continue to love one another even after finding out about their identities, which leaves them stunned and distraught. The consequences of the rivalling families lead to major problems for the couple and leads to their tragic death where they both commit suicide.

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Furthermore the two families realise that this could have been avoided and decide to end their feud and unite in order for the forgiveness of their children. In this essay I will try and explain how act one scene five is an affective piece of drama. In Act one Scene 5 we see how Shakespeare presents the themes of love and hate when Romeo and Juliet first lay eyes on each other and instantly fall in love and when Tybalt attempts to have Romeo removed from the party, as he loathes Romeo who is his sworn enemy.

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Shakespeare has used the technique of dramatic irony quite cleverly throughout the scene as well as the play, as the audience is in the know of events taking place in the play that the characters are unaware of. An example of this is when Romeo thinks that Juliet is dead so he commits suicide, however, the audience are aware that she is not really dead and has taken some poison. This has a more dramatic effect as the audience is kept in suspense and engaged.

Shakespeare has structured Act one scene five quite ingeniously as he constantly changes the moods and emotions in the play which keeps the audience engaged as they want to keep watching. Firstly he presents us with excitement and enthusiasm at the Capulet’s masquerade. “Welcome gentlemen. Ladies that have their toes unplagued with corns will walk a bout with you. Ah ha my mistresses which of you all will now deny to dance?” As Lord Capulet welcomes guests and encourages them to dance he is in a pleasant mood and is optimistic that his party will unite his daughter with Paris the prince of Verona as he wishes them to be married. This is then contrasted by curiosity when Romeo arrives at the party and sees Juliet dancing and asks a servings man who she is. “What lady’s that which doth enrich the hand of yonder knight?” Juliet is dancing with her cousin Tybalt who is enemies with Romeo. Romeo then goes on and compliments her beauty by pouring out a soliloquy and is falling deeply in love with her. “O she doth teaches the torches to burn bright.” This shows that Romeo is quite a romantic character as well as poetic as he is describing her beauty as an ‘earth treading star’ meaning she outshines the torches using similes and metaphors. . He also describes her beauty ‘As a rich jewel in an Ethiop’s ear..beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear…” In those days black people were know as ‘Ethiop’s’ and people considered them to be low standard however Romeo is saying that she is rare and valuable and people of earth are not worthy of her beauty, which is too good to be used and too rare and unique for the earth.

Tension increases in the audience because young Romeo should not be at the Capulet Ball and this tells us that he is quite daring and even a little bit troublesome. Following on from this anger and fury enters the scene when Tybalt realizes that there is a Montague at the party when he hears Romeo speak. “This by his voice should be a Montague.” Romeo and Tybalt are enemies so he believes that Romeo is a threat to the party, and an undercurrent of problems.”What, dares the slave to come hither, cover’d 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 skin…” In this quote Tybalt is saying that is he killed Romeo it would not b a sin as he would be protecting his family’s honour so from this we learn that family and honour means a lot to Tybalt. There is a lot of tension between these to characters which encourages to audience to want to no more, they would probably expect to see a fight or brawl however this does not happen leaving the audience waiting in suspense.

Romance and passion fills the scene when Romeo and Juliet lay eyes on each other. Romeo continues to use metaphoric and religious imagery when he finally does talk to Juliet, which shows he is passionate and respects her. “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 gentle kiss…” In this quote Romeo is comparing Juliet to a shrine, a place of worship as he believes that she is pure, precious and respects her, he is saying that he in the pilgrim and that he is unworthy of her love but will be if he touched or kissed her. He used religious imagery because as to get her attention and show her that his love for her is pure and is approved by God. The religious imagery makes the scene between Romeo and Juliet much more romantic.

Romeo’s language matches his character because he speaks in verse, which has the last word of each line rhyme especially in his soliloquy about Juliet’s beauty. This technique matches his character because only the significant characters of the play speak in this way. This is shown especially between the lines 42 and 49 where Romeo first lays he eyes on Juliet. The soliloquy contains many couplets where the last words of each line rhyme. “O she doth teaches the torches to burn bright….It seems she hangs upon the cheek of the night..” This soliloquy is spoken by Romeo as it is important and expresses how deep his love is and how much he admires her beauty.

Juliet is being quite disobedient as her father expects her to marry the rich young man called Paris, however she does not seem to be giving a direct response of a yes or a no when her mother asks her. She may believe that she is too young and does not feel she is ready for marriage as she says the lines, “..it’s an honour that I dream not of..” This scene may make the audience more engaged with Juliet’s character as modern people would not think about marriage at the age of 13. Nor would they marry unwillingly or for family status. From this we can say that her love for Romeo is real as does the way in which she uses religious imagery. “Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much, which mannerly devotion shows in this; for saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch, and palm to palm is holy palmer’s kiss…” This is the first time Juliet speaks to Romeo, and where she realises that this is no little crush it is true love!

Like Romeo, Juliet is also romantic but not as experience as he is. “You kiss by th’book” This line is said after Romeo and Juliet share their first kiss, what she is trying to say that his is an experienced kisser as this may have been her first time and she can see that he is confident. This may leave her feeling shy yet excited as she is receiving such passionate compliments.

The mood of the scene changes when Juliet realises that Romeo is an enemy. “My only love sprung from my only hate, too early seen unknown and know too late!…” Juliet is heartbroken and shocked as she learns that the first boy she has ever fallen in love with, is the son of her enemy. When she first seen him it was too early to say that she loved him, but as soon as she had found out about his identity it was far too late as she had already fallen deeply in love.

Tybalt is the opposite of Romeo and his language shows this “Fetch me my rapier, boy. What does the slave come hither, covered with an antic face, to fleer and scorn our solemnity? Now by the stock and honour of my kin, to strike him dead I hold it not a sin.” Shakespeare had Tybalt say this after he hears Romeos voice and realizes that a Montague has dared to come to the party. You can tell that his family honour means a lot to him as he talks about the ‘honour of my kin..’. He sees the Montague’s as a threat to his family and believes that if he kills Romeo he will not be committing a sin as he is looking out for his family. He believes that Romeo has come to the party to mock and make fun of the party and his family. Through the lines Tybalt speaks, you can say that he is quite violent and aggressive as he talks about striking Romeo dead. Tybalt also has a big ego and a lot of pride, Lord Capulet allows Romeo to stay in the party which infuriates him. “It fits when such a villain in a guest, I’ll not endure him” Tybalt is reluctant to Capulet as he says that Romeo is allowed to stay at the party, he cannot stand Romeo and despises the idea of him being at a Capulet party. In the end Tybalt accepts that Romeo will be at the party. “Patience perforce with wilful choler…makes my flesh tremble…I will withdraw, but this intrusion shall, now seeming sweet, convert to bitterest gall” In this quote Tybalt is saying that he is forced to be patient to get his revenge, so to be loyal to his uncle he is willing to withdraw and accept Romeo at the party. He is also saying that he will act sweet in front of Lord Capulet but soon the sweetness will convert into poison and his true evil side will come out.

When Tybalt enters the scene the mood becomes quite tense and irritated, especially when Capulet his uncle embarrasses and humiliates him ” He shall be endured. What goodman boy! I say, he shall; Go to, am I the master here or you? …You’ll make a mutiny amongst my guests? ..set a cock hoop, you’ll be the man?” Lord Capulet is being sarcastic when he calls Tybalt ‘goodman’ which means the head of the house, as he believes that Tybalt will let loose insolence and cause a rebellion in front of his guests, he believes that Tybalt should stop being so petty and arrogant and leave Romeo in the party. He is asking a rhetorical question, which he knows Tybalt will not dare to try and answer, Capulet is now frustrated at Tybalt and no longer wishes to discuss the matter. Tybalt is left feeling utterly humiliated and embarrassed.

When Tybalt enters the scene the mood becomes quite tense and electric, especially when Capulet his Uncle embarrasses and humiliates him ‘He shall be endured: What, goodman boy! I say, he shall: go to; am I the master here, or you? go to’. In this quote Capulet orders Tybalt to let Romeo be and not to be so arrogant. He calls Tybalt names and asks a rhetorical question. This shows that Capulet is now really angry and has become tired of Tybalt’s request to throw Romeo out.

Shakespeare has Tybalt use an aggressive and violent language style to suggest that Tybalt is vicious and mean, almost like a ‘baddie’. He gets Tybalt to talk about death and revenge on Romeo, constantly throughout the play. “To strike him dead…” He also talks about his family honour and gets angry very quickly when he thinks that Romeo is at the party to mock his family. This is the exact opposite of the way in which Romeo talks and words like “If I profane with my unworthiest had…” These are the words of a innocent and gentle hearted character, who does not talk about death or revenge.

Tybalt’s role in this scene is crucial to the rest of the play because he decides he will take revenge on Romeo, as he had come to the Capulet party. This scene is pivotal as his actions cause events to take place later on in the play. His actions in act one scene five are in connection to t he scene act three scene one where he wants to fight Romeo but fights Romeos best friend Mercutio, as Romeo is now related to Tybalt after being married to Juliet. This has disastrous results, as Mercutio is killed by Tybalt, leading to Romeo taking revenge on Tybalt by killing him. In this scene we see a different side of Romeos character as he is more distraught, and angry as his best friend had been murdered so he seeks revenge. Due to this, Romeo is banished and after many other events and confusion both lovers commit suicide. So because Tybalt reacted the way he did at the party and due to the fact he wanted to take out revenge, he was responsible for the events that had followed, and the consequences of the death of his cousin Juliet and her lover Romeo.

Capulet behaves as the perfect host in this scene as he welcomes guests at his party and addresses a number of people at his party. “Welcome gentlemen….” “The ladies who don’t have on their feet will join you in dance!…” “Come musicians play!” He welcomes the gentlemen, and encourages the ladies to dance and the musicians to play, he is quite a merry and happy person as he wants his guests to have a good time.

Shakespeare has Capulet in this scene introduce the theme of authority and power. This happens when he disciplines Tybalt “…I would not for the wealth of all this town here in my house do him disparagement. Therefore be patient, take no note of him; it is my will, the which is thou respect, show a fair presence and put off these frowns…” Lord Capulet clearly states that he thinks that Romeo is a good boy and is not able to cause any trouble, as well as that he does not wish to shame or dishonour Romeo in front of everybody and wants to save himself embarrassment. He says that Tybalt should be patient and take no more of him, and that if he respects Lord Capulet he will not worry about Romeo and forget him.

Capulet brings the theme of authority and power later on in the play as well as has a change of character in act three scenes 5. He wishes her to marry young Paris however she retaliates and does not accept the proposal which enrages her father. ” … doth she not give us thanks? Is she not proud? doth she not count her blest, Unworthy as she is, that we have wrought So worthy a gentleman to be her bridegroom?” Lord Capulet approaches to give Juliet a guilt trip and is making her feel hurt and upset, by saying that she is ungrateful for the things her parents have done for her. Shakespeare has him say that she is not good enough for Paris however, he is willing to marry her, and that she is not being grateful for this. Juliet goes on to say that she is grateful but not proud of being a Capulet, as she knows that her love for Romeo is forbidden and blames the fact that she is a Capulet. This infuriates Lord Capulet and we see a more ferocious and aggressive side to him. “Hang thee, young baggage! Disobedient wretch! I tell thee what: get thee to church o’ Thursday, Or never after look me in the face: Speak not, reply not, do not answer me…” He isn’t asking Juliet to marry Paris, he is now ordering her and dragging her as he does so, he refers to her as baggage and is warning her that is she does not marry on the Thursday he will have nothing more to do with her, in other words he will disown her. This shows that he can be vicious and volatile when he does not get what he wants. In my opinion I believe that Lord Capulet has a Jekyll and Hyde kind of character as his mood constantly changes throughout this scene as well as the play; he starts off as a very enthusiastic and merry character, this is then contrasted by the theme of authority and power, this again changes later on where he is more vicious and volatile.

To conclude, an audience would find act one scene five dramatic and tense as the play consists of many different themes including: tragedy, coincidence, forbidden love, fate and family rivalry. He has cleverly used the technique of using more than one mood and emotions in his scenes and constantly keeps the atmosphere tense by continuously using contrasting moods, for example uses love and romance then moves onto hatred and anger. As a result of this, the audience is more engaged and remains interested in play. This scene is relevant as it is a pivotal scene where events take place which causes a chain reaction, where more events take place because of it. Despite the fact that ‘Romeo and Juliet’ was written many years ago many of its themes and ideas still exist today. The idea of family hatred, and the deaths of lovers can still be seen in present day whether it due to religion race or status. This play sends out a message to its audience that love happens and takes place, and is not something that you can control.

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

Why is Act one Scene five of Romeo and Juliet an effective piece of drama?

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