You will be playing the part of Romeo in my adaptation of Act 1 scene 5 of ‘Romeo and Juliet’. In order to play the part effectively it is vital that you understand a number of things about Romeo’s character and the play and how I wish you to act the role. To summarise the narrative so far you need to understand the themes presented to the audience in the first Act of the play. The themes have been tragedy, fate and love. Throughout the first act the audience have explored the setting of the play which is in Verona, a romantic, catholic city that strongly reflects many of the key themes in the play.
Information regarding the characters, location, period of time and family life necessary to effectively understand the play in its true context. Shakespeare’s England was Elizabethan England and therefore the audience should be aware that the play will be reflective of the period of time it was written in. Women in Elizabethan times were often unattainable and withdrawn from the men and marriage was not commonly about love. Therefore Juliet is justly concerned when the nurse tells her Romeo who she loves is “The son of your great enemy.
” Juliet’s concerns are not only because of the feud between the Montague’s and Capulet’s it is also because women had little control over who they married. Courtship was the process commonly practised in Elizabethan times between noble men and women at a time when people rarely married for love. Marriage was viewed as a business proposition as great fortunes could be at stake through inheritance. The economics of marriage were ingrained into society so emotional and physical desires of a man or women were less important this was reinforced by religion at the time as it was thought people should have control over their desires.
The church had a significant impact on the behaviour of people at that time. People were expected to be restrained, moral and to be seen to do the right thing at the time. Women were especially repressed through a male oriented church. Young women were expected to be submissive and primarily concerned with domestic life. Women were not commonly educated formally and any education they did receive would revolve around domestic tasks and proper manners, so they could not dishonour their families.
Family honour was regarded very important especially among wealthy, noble families as it was seen as essential maintaining their security and that of future generations. The emphasis on family honour explains why Tybalt is so quick to react angrily at Romeos presence at the masque: “Now by the stock and honour of my kin, To strike him dead I hold it not a sin”. You gain access to the Capulet celebration by disguising yourself as a pilgrim. Pilgrims, to show their faith made long journeys to the shrines of the Holy Land. They brought back palm leaves as proof of their visits, and so were known as ‘palmers’.
When acting the role of Romeo you should explore his responses to the circumstances of the play, which will give you an insight into his character and motivations. Romeo is a young member of the Montague’s a noble family who are in high social standing therefore you would have good manners and a good education. Romeo has a dramatic response to his feelings towards Juliet when he first sees her and his language is an example of hyperbole which demonstrates the passionate and impulsive side of his character which I would lie you to portray when acting the role.
The hyperbole of the language should be reflected when you speak the lines “O she doth teach the torches to burn bright” in an exaggerated and passionate way. Romeo’s romantic nature is also a key factor you should consider when developing this character his response to her beauty is to exclaim: “Did my heart love till now”. It would be appropriate for you to speak this with your hand on your heart which would symbolize to the audience that your words are heartfelt. You should also think about the response of other characters to Romeo and their descriptions of him.
“Verona brags of him to be a virtuous and well governed youth” therefore though the character can be at times reckless this should not be over emphasised. Romeo appears to demonstrate a strong belief in the role of fate his life “He that hath the steerage of my course direct my sail”. Shakespeare uses Romeo to develop the theme of fate throughout the narrative and therefore you should present Romeo as having a strong respect for fate and its role in his life. You compare Juliet to a shrine and saint. Religious imagery runs thought your conversation..
I want you to play the role as a ‘knight in shining armour’, self assured, loyal, impulsive and passionate and at times hasty. You come from a wealthy, Roman Catholic background and your family is in a feud with the Capulet’s. . You are a member of the Montague’s a high standing aristocratic family. You family is in a quarrel with the Capulet’s, a noble family which has been going on for generations. You don’t want anything to do with the quarrel and keep out of the battles. You are depressed by your unrequited love for Rosaline.
You think of Rosaline as a swan beautiful, graceful, and elegant but Benvolio can see the other side of her as a swan haughty, aggressive and arrogant and beyond your reach. When we look at the language Romeo uses talking about Rosaline we can tell that he is acting how he thinks a courtly lover should, it lacks depth and uses lots of oxymoron’s loving/ hate, heavy/ lightness, sick/health and so on so. He is confused and being artificial. You go to the masque hoping to see Rosaline In scene 1 act 5 when you meet Juliet your conversation is written as a sonnet that were popular and highly esteemed activity in the Queen Elizabeth’s court.