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Romeo and Juliet: how important is the opening scene of the play? How effective should it be on stage? (Deal with lines 1-11), the first mention of Romeo. Consider analyle, comment on characters, action, stage craft, the atmosphere and theme. The opening scene of Romeo and Juliet is effective because it’s full of humour and violence. These two characteristics are powerful on their own, but together they make the first scene witty and dramatic. The opening scene is important as it sets the whole atmosphere of the families on going feud.
The play opens with two Capulet servants (Sampson and Gregory) who are carrying arms, which is significant as they’re aware of violence and danger. They also use language to imitate violence such as, thrust, and strike. As they do this it amuses the groundlings watching, what amuses them is that they talk about violence then, violence towards women. “I will thrust the Montague’s maids to the wall” (Sampson). Which basically means that they’ll rape they’re women if they had the chance. These two Capulet servants are playing with puns in the first few lines such as, coals, colliers and coller.
Then they go on to describe their feelings about the rival family, the Montague’s. They imply these feelings towards the other family by saying that they’ll ‘thrust’ they’re women to the wall. By also challenging the other family whether they’ll be man or woman. Gregory points out that the feud is between the men, whilst Sampson replies that he doesn’t care and that he’ll fight the men and then ‘deal’ with their women, in a crude sexual way. The prologue suggests that the play is full of violence and tragedy. Although, the opening scene begins with a contrasting light hearted humour.
This scene should be effective on stage as it is the opposite of the prologue, and should entertain the groundlings with the crude humour and the intention of thrusting violence to the Montague’s women. The two Capulet servants provoke Abraham (a Montague) and another servant by biting their thumbs (which then, was considered as an insult). They carry on with their provocative humour when Benvolio (whose name means peacemaker) and Tybalt enter the scene. Sampson then steps aside, leaving Gregory to continue the fight with Abraham.
Benvolio quickly breaks them up “Part fools. Put up your swords, you know what you up. ” Tybalt then comes in and questions Benvolio (the peace maker) with his one of few lines “…… as I hate hell, all Montague’s, and thee. Have at thee coward. ” This line sums up that he enjoys violence implying that he hates the word peace. The atmosphere at this time is tense and humorous in some ways. It is humorous as a feud is beginning over nothing apart from a silly childish insult. This would amuse the groundlings, as it combines violence and humour.
As you know these two characteristics are powerful on their own, but together they make the play witty and interesting although humorous at times. This is what makes the play effective and successful. The feud is also very dramatic and a very important part of everyday life for both families, even the old come out of their houses and fight for their family even though their health pauses as a problem. The Capulet in question is old Capulet, whose wife makes fun of his ridiculous actions that follow “A crutch, a crutch! Why call you for a sword? ”
Lady Capulet implies that he needs a crutch more than a sword these days and refuses to let him take part in the feuding “Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek a foe”. This is a very important scene as it tells the audience the reality of this feud. Even the old and frail are willing to get up off their chairs and pull out their sword and help win the feud for their family. It strikes me that the only way to stop the feuding is by a warning from the prince of Verona. He orders them all to put down their weapons and tells Capulet and Montague that if anyone ever disturbs the peace again in this way they will be executed.
After all but Montague, Lady Montague and Benvolio exit the scene Montague questions Benvolio about how this quarrel started. Then, Lady Montague asks Benvolio has he seen Romeo today “O where is Romeo? Saw you him today? ” Benvolio tells her that yes, he has seen him and that he’s acting strangely. We know that he thinks he’s deeply in love with Rosaline and that his heart will never heal again. He’s also kept this affair a secret from his parents. It’s not until line 154 that Romeo enters the scene, his friend and cousin Benvolio is there to cheer him up from his deepened sadness.
Romeo describes how he’s feeling to Benvolio as if his whole life is up side down, and that this isn’t him “Tut I have lost myself; I am not here. This is not Romeo, he’s some other where. ” Benvolio tries without success to discover the name of the girl Romeo has fallen in love with. Romeo explains that she is not in love with him. “She’ll not be hit with cupid’s arrow. She hath Dian’s wit, and in strong proof of chastity well arms, from love’s weak childish bow she lives uncharmed.
She will not stay the siege of loving terms, nor bride Th’ encounter of assailing eyes, nor ope her lap to saint seducting gold. O she is rich in beauty, only poor, that when she dies, with beauty dies her store. ” The characters in this play are perfectly written with their personalities coming out strong throughout the play. Such as Benvolio, his name means peace maker, and that’s exactly what he’s done in scene one. Romeo in the first scene comes over as a conscientious teenager, but is mature also. By the end of this scene there is an obvious contrast of two things, love and hate.