Discuss the significance of Act 3, scene 1 in Romeo and Juliet with particular reference to how violence is used for dramatic effect

The idea of Romeo and Juliet is a mixture of romance, violence, conflict and tragedy. The plot of the play is about a two teenage kids who fall in love at first sight, knowing their rival families detest each other. So knowing this they are more in love with each other than they would be in ordinary circumstances. Just after meeting and falling in love they decide to get married as soon as possible as they feel their love towards each other is stronger than ever, but there’s always a hitch a any relationship, in this case Juliet’s father has promised for Juliet to be betrothed to Paris, the Princes nephew.

Juliet despairs at the idea of this and is worried her family will find out about her true love Romeo. To stop this from happening she devices a plan in which her family will think she has died. When Juliet’s family find out they instantly believe she is dead and are devastated, but Romeo never gets the message that Juliet’s plan of dying is fake, so he too ends up believing that she is dead and also ends his life.

The genre of the play fits into the tragedy section, when the death of Romeo and Juliet takes place at the end of this romantic story. The deaths of these characters are expressed in a very charming way, (as is the rest of the story) because they end their lives in devotion to each other. The love between the two is so strong that they are lost with out each other.

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Also in act 3 scene 1, Mercutio is stabbed and dies, this is done at the hands of Tybalt (Romeo’s rival). Romeo is incensed by this outrage, but also has feelings of guilt for Mercutios death, as Mercutio was under his arm when he was stabbed. He was Romeo’s best friend. Mercutio wanted to start trouble with Tybalt, but Tybalt was not interested in fighting anyone except Romeo, when Mercutio dies Romeo is so furious he wants to have revenge on Tybalt, Romeo turns to Tybalt and says to him “Either thou or I, or both, must go with him”. Romeo is ready to fight and finally takes his revenge on Tybalt, but after much deliberation and discussion Romeo is banished from Verona.

Throughout the whole play of Romeo and Juliet, death and violence are always connected to passion, whether the passion is love or hate. The love in Romeo and Juliet is a grand passion, and it can overwhelm a person as powerfully as hate. Some parts of the play consist of conflict. Conflict is a big part played by both families which leads to death or tragedy. In act 3 scene 1, all the themes; romance, violence, conflict, tragedy and death are all connected to present affection. No matter how the story of Romeo and Juliet is told, whether it’s about hate, love or death, it is always expressed in a romantic way, created through the outline of each theme. Death is another very exquisite theme. Love, hate and feuds appear to be the cause of particular deaths throughout the story. For instance the death of Romeo and Juliet, at the end of this romantic story was so dramatic that this created a powerful feel and ending towards the audience, the two lover’s lives were over. They killed themselves, showing their passion for one another, and how it became a strong bond.

Since meeting one another till the day they both died, their affection towards each other has grown, proving they cannot be separated. Also in act 3 scene 1, two deaths are committed in spite of family conflict and hatred. The death of Romeo’s best friend, comes as big shock to Romeo as Mecutio blames him (Romeo) partly for his wounding, but the tension is built upon Romeo and is forced to kill Tybalt for what has happened to his best friend because of their family quarrelling.

The Elizabethan society was more formal and easily shocked by events; where as a modern audience wouldn’t get as surprised. Elizabethan audiences were interested in going out to theatre productions, because this was a form of entertainment. Plays are given the effect of emotion on purpose so that the audience will react the way the play sends their message out. For example some plays are made to be sad, tragic and emotional whilst others are passionate and affectionate. Elizabethan audiences were in some way more sophisticated than the audience of the twentieth-first century. In comparison to a modern audience, when we go to see a new play or more likely a film, the storyline is familiar as it’s similar to other films or plays we’ve already seen, and some of the situations may also be recognizable and we may be able to predict the ending. We expect the novelty in the action so that it becomes more attention-grabbing. As modern audiences we don’t get too surprised at actions unless it is worthy of watching.

Romeo and Juliet are typical young people of their time because they were expected to be proper, for instance their manners, they are very formal and people expected no rudeness as this was not tolerated. This links to the play by the similarities of how love is portrayed and how violence was very formal. Violence would be a chance for men to duel against each other. This is similar to the part in act 3 scene 1 when Mercutio challenges Tybalt to fight (line 78/79). They fought with their swords due to the fact Mercutio adding fuel to the fire by saying to Tybalt “will you walk?” this obviously angers Tybalt to such a fashion that he too draws his sword starting the feud.

The play would hold audiences in excitement, especially the Elizabethans, because the scenes were directed in a more dramatic way than ordinary life. The scenes would have audiences at edge of seats; the curator loved shocking his audience into wanting more.

In modern times plays would attract mainly the upper-class people rather than the lower-class as entrance fees were higher. The play would hold modern audiences in stasis as the play is not seen as so shocking. The impact on the audience is blander as devices and the use of language are no longer used.

The turning point in this play is where teasing started and gradually turned sour to where insults took place, this took a twist and turned violent, where everything goes wrong and there’s no going back.

Act 3 scene 1 is a very important scene of the whole play of Romeo and Juliet. There are various mixed emotions that the audience will endure throughout this scene this scene has great structure and is one of the main parts played because it is the first of two scenes, where the act of death has occurred, and where the characters show their violent characteristic between the two families.

Act 3 scene 1 has a lot of contrast because of it variety of language and style. The language throughout this scene changes to indicate the mood of the scene as well as its development throughout. You can see that Shakespeare has purposely used less verses and speech in this particular scene than others because it is a very active scene of violence and death. There is a variety of language used in the play for example prose is used quite a lot in this scene. It signifies insanity and the characters state of mind. “Good king of cats” not only is this seen as prose but also an example of an insult, that Mercutio says to Tybalt. He first refers to Tybalt as a “rat-catcher” because he is the “king of cats”, the leader of the pack. He says this to start trouble with Tybalt, so that they’d have a fight, but neither of them knows the consequences.

Violent language is another very important form of dialect in act 3 scene 1, especially the scene where Mercutio and Tybalt fight. “We shall not scape a brawl. For now these hot days: is mad blood stirring” Benvolio says this to keep the peace in his society, but still speaks of violence at the same time. Words such as ‘brawl’ and ‘mad blood stirring’ are violent words which create the tension and builds up drama around. As well as violet language, aggressive language is also used. It creates a disliking atmosphere from the character to the characters around them. Banvolio says “with a martial scorn” Benvoilio speaks to both families, applying that Mercutio’s death was done aggressively in disrespect by Tybalt.

Metaphors have purposely been used, to create the atmosphere of the situation. Mercutio implies to both families “A plague o’ both your houses”. After Mercutio gets stabbed, he says its nothing but “a scratch” but later admits that he has been ‘mortally wounded’. He is furious at both his best friend and his (Romeo’s) rival Tybalt. In anger he curses both of them and their families with ‘a dying mans curse’. He blames both families for him being wounded. This dialect from the play is a type of repetition as it is repeated three times during this scene.

Mockery is another form of language used in the play, it is not used as much but, the mockery builds up tension between the feuding characters. Mercutio mocks Tybalt by calling him “Alla stoccata” He provokes Tybalt with this nickname, trying to get a reaction out of him so that there would be a fight. Tybalt is insulted and tormented by this statement, so he is geared up for fighting him. Insults are also used in other ways as well, i.e. where Tybalt throws a classical insult to Romeo, also later in the play Rome is incensed and says “my reputation is stained with Tybalts slander,” which means he has just killed Tybalt with the blood of his death on his hands.

Although imagery is not a figure of language, in this scene it can be seen as a form of dialogue. All through act 3 scene 1 you can notice there is some imagery in the characters speech. One example is “I was hurt under your arm” Mercutio says this to Romeo explaining how he got stabbed and how it was partly his fault. Just from this dialect you can imagine how he was wounded, and also partly because of how he describes his cause of injury. It creates the atmosphere of violence and tragedy.

The stage craft within the play helps to express the dramatic importance of act 3 scene 1. This scene is in the middle of the play and is noticed as a crucial point. In this scene Mercutio and the Montague’s quarrel with the Capulet’s, this scene is just after Romeo and Juliet got married. He counts this as good news for him but would everyone else understand why they got married, he tries to tell everyone what he thinks is good new but instead a serious fight breaks out between Tybalt and Mercutio. It becomes dangerous when their weapons are drawn, which then results in the death of Romeo’s Best friend Mercutio. Romeos mood dramatically changes at this point “now Tybalt take the “villain” back again” Romeo is outraged and wants to fight Tybalt, and ends up killing him. Romeo is later banished from Verona as punishment, which leaves the two teenage lovers separated. Shakespeare has carefully arranged this scene to cause tension and contrast. Stagecraft is performed in a variety of media, but in this case it is a play and everything is performed through dialogue, scenes and stage directions, but they are meant to read rather than staged. A good example of this is when Mercutio gets stabbed from the fight, and has to leave as he has been ‘mortally wounded’ this is an example of a tragic exit.

Act 3 scene 1 is a key scene in Romeo and Juliet. This scene shows the consequences of hatred and feud and what can happen if it goes too far. Shakespeare uses dramatic devices to create tension and conflict. Shakespeare uses humorous effects, human characteristics and dramatic irony to create this. Dramatic irony indicates to the audience and characters, that the speaker expresses a meaning in a humorous or sarcastic way.

After Mercutio gets stabbed he states it’s nothing but “a scratch, a scratch” Mercutio thinks that Tybalt stabbed him because of him insulting Tybalt earlier.

Contrast as a dramtic device gives the effect of different points of views for instance Romeo and Tybalt’s quarrelling and Mercutios death, due to this, Tybalt says to Mercutio “well peace be with you sir, here comes my man” Tybalt says to Mercutio that he is not the person he wants to fight, then after later conversation with Mercutio, Romeo replies “Tybalt the reason that I have to love thee Doth much excuse the appertaining rage to such greeting” Here Romeo relies with an apology for not reacting the way he expected, in a angry tempered way.

Sudden entrances and exits create a great atmosphere depending on how they enter the scene or play and how they exit. In act 3 scene 1 there are not many sudden entrances, but as the scene starts you could take the beginning of where Mercutio, Benvolio and Romeo all enter joking around as an entrance. This automatically makes you see that these characters have a witty personality, but then things slowly start to change when they sense that their rivals the Capulet’s are about. From this part onwards there is a tempered atmosphere in the air between the two rivals. Unlike entrances there is a particular part in this scene where a sudden exit occurs twice in a row, and this is where Mercutio and Tybalt fight and Mercutio ends up wounded, so fuming Romeo takes revenge and kills Tybalt. These two deaths make this scene tragically emotional for other characters. Not only do Mercutio and Tybalt exit this scene and the whole play tragically, but Romeo also exits from this scene right up until the ending, because he has just killed his rival Tybalt, and the Prince will not allow this in his city and is banished, so Romeo departs from this scene.

Benvoilio as the narrator is another ‘other dramatic device’, because he has always been the peacemaker throughout act 3 scene 1, but he often comes out with violent words, especially when he explains the feud between Tybalt and Mercutio and then how Romeo ended Tybalt’s life in a revenging feud. From lines 156 to 179 Benvolio acts as the narrator, speaking how the fight broke out between Mercuio and Tybalt and then Romeo and Tybalt. He retells the story of how the two fights came about. With one hand…with the other…” Benvolio speaks about how extreme they were fighting. He says they were fighting with ‘swords and daggers’. “Comes back to Romeo, who had but newly entertained revenge…” Benvolio says that before Romeo took action, he thought about it for a moment and then took his revenge. At the end of his narration, Benvoilio swears on his life that he is telling the truth, this just proves that he is a good person and this explains why he is a peacemaker throughout the play.

All the characters in the play have different characteristics which makes this play complete and gives the emotion to it. Tybalt’s character does not change at any point before or during act 3 scene 1, because he acts as the villain and is always has been a fiery person.

Romeo’s character is kind, gentle and is a Loving person before act 3 scene 1, but during this scene he is gentle and loving for only half the scene until the death of his best friend Mercutio happens, and Romeo feels it’s his position to fight Tybalt back for killing Mercutio.

Mercutio’s character is very humorous, joking and sarcastic. Mercutio’s sarcasm can be seen as a mockery towards other characters, for instance the fight between himself and Tybalt. In act 3 scene 1, Mercutio is still humorous, joking and sarcastic during the scene but up until his death. Which Mercutio partly blames Romeo for, so he turns on him and makes Romeo feel he is disloyal.

Benvolio’s character is a hot headed, concerned, a good and loyal friend and a peace loving person, which does not change before or during Act 3 Scene 1. His characteristics stay the same as he tries to make peace in act 3 scene 1 between the rivalries.

Tybalt calls Romeo a villain “thou art villain” Tyablt purposely says this to Romeo so that he’d agree to duel, as Tybalt would have no regrets in slaying Romeo. This is a classic insult thrown at Romeo, which Romeo doesn’t react to. Romeo then explains why he can’t fight him, and says he is not a villain and that he doesn’t know him very well. Romeo then apologises for not reacting the way Tybalt expected. “Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries that thou hast done me, therefore turn and draw” Tyablt says this because he feels angry and insulted by Romeo, so he insults him back with ‘Boy’. Tybalt thinks Romeo is mocking him and wants to duel him right away.

Romeo and Juliet are two young lovers who lose their lives due to forbidden love. In the whole play of Romeo and Juliet, the most common known theme that runs through the whole play is the theme of love. Love is a very major theme in this play. There are many types of love which appears during the play, for instance there is the quick and overwhelming love of passion. There is the opposite of passion, hatred. These types of love are recognizable in this play. One of type of love is the hated contractual love, meaning a decision is forced upon someone. Juliet is happily married to Romeo but is forced to marry Paris, if she didn’t she would be disowned by her family; she will be on the streets with no money or food and would no longer be a Capulet. This also raises issues of arranged marriage, and how love at first sight came about in the play, this acts as the base for the rest of the romantic story. Juliet had a very big decision to make; it was the streets or her family. This decision of marriage was forced upon her, and is an example of contractual love of Romeo and Juliet. This theme of love also includes the difference between love and hate, and how the Montague’s/Capulet’s rivalry prevent Romeo and Juliet from being together.

The main themes in act 3 scene 1, are mainly tragedy, violence and society at war. These themes are very significant. The violence in this scene makes this scene important because it results in death for two characters. The reason why violence breaks out is because of both families and their societies at war. This makes a big impact on the younger generations of these families, as they feel it is their right to fight as well. When both rivals meet in the streets Tybalt wants to fight but only with Romeo, but Romeo is not up for a fight as he has just married Tybalt’s cousin Juliet. Romeo feels that if he fights Tybalt, it would be like fighting one of his ‘kinsmen’ – his own kind. So Romeo’s best friend Mercutio can’t stand back and watch Romeo ruin his pride, so he fights for him. This is where the outcome becomes death for Mercutio. “I am hurt…I am sped” Mercutio says that he has been hurt, mortally wounded. He says he has been ‘sped’ meaning he is finished. So this is where the tragedy commences in the whole play and this scene.

The turning point in this play is where insults, mockery, teasing and threats were thrown from one another, which then all gradually turns bitter: Mercutio – “that shall make you dance” He says this as a threat, due to what Tybalt said to him. Mercutio takes it the wrong way and immediately fires a threat. Tybalt then insults Romeo “thou art a villain” Tybalt says that Romeo is a villain. Mercuito then mocks Tybalt with a nick name “Alla stoccata” Mercutio tries to get a reaction out of Tybalt with mocking him with this personalised nickname. There is no going back when everythinbg goes wrong and everything turns violent. The turning point of this scene is when Mercutio and Tybalt fight, leading up to Mercutio’s demise. It is the first of two parts where death has made its self known. The other is where the two families reveal their violent sides.

I conclude that in the earlier stages in the play, it changes from comedy to tragedy. We can still make out the comedy in act 3 scene 1, as Tybalt makes a joke about Mercutio saying “thou consortest with Romeo.” Also when Mercutio is dying, Mercutio still makes jokes “Ay a scratch, a scratch.” These jokes would have made the Elizabethan’s laugh.

Mercutio’s death becomes the turning point, and changes the play, this pivot’s on the line “O Romeo, Romeo, brave Mercutio is dead”, because Mercutio is the joker of the play so when he dies all the jokes die too, and so characters turn at this point. Romantic Romeo becomes Romeo the Violent, his revenge on Tybalt shows that tragedy will follow. We must consider the Princes warning, “Your lives shall pay the forfeit of peace.” This was said earlier in the play. The Prince banished Romeo instead of having him killed due to the death of both Mercutio and Tybalt. Before Mercutio dies he curses both families “A plague o’ both your houses”, Elizabethan audience’s believed in curses, they believed they had power, and due to the fact this curse was a dying mans curse made all the difference.

Romeo is now banished and Juliet is confused and scared because she had to pretend that she was dead, because she doesn’t want to marry Paris and is in love with Romeo. In some ways you could say that fate is against them because, since Romeo and Juliet have got married everything seems to be taking a turn for the worse. Juliet is confused because the only person she can love, was from the family which her parents hated.

The fact that the play has opposites can be seen as Romeo wanting to be friendly to Tybalt but in the end killing him, and Mercutio is great friends with Romeo, but curses him at the end, Mercutio fights because of the loving friendship he has for Romeo.

So we can see the importance of this scene because it shows where the play changes from comedy to tragedy and its important because characters change, and also Shakespeare changes the language to show the difference in comedy and tragedy.

Act 3 scene 1, is a significant scene as violence is used to create dramatic effect towards audiences. We can see that it starts from violence and turns to tragedy where someone gets killed, which gives a lot of quality to the play. This sends out a theatrical appearance where the audience get hooked in to the play. The audience become enthusiastic to know more about what’s going to happen.

In my opinion I think that act 3 scene 1, is a very interesting scene. It is very energetic and full of actions. This scene also allows you to see different sides of characters and how it results into death. The ending of this scene was a very astounding, and was the reason for wanting to read on. It was a great ending to the scene, and it gave dynamic to the rest of the play. The situations that came across in Romeo and Juliet could no longer or are very unlikely to happen today.

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Discuss the significance of Act 3, scene 1 in Romeo and Juliet with particular reference to how violence is used for dramatic effect. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/discuss-significance-act-3-scene-1-romeo-juliet-particular-reference-violence-used-dramatic-effect-new-essay

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