How does Shakespeare create sympathy for Romeo in Act 3?

Categories: William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was born on 23rd April 1564 in Stratford-Upon-Avon and he is the most famous playwright of all time. 'Romeo and Juliet' was written late in the 16th century and it is a tale of two lovers who have to keep their relationship a secret because their families hate each other. As a result of the families hate for each other the play ends in tragedy.

Throughout Act 3 Shakespeare creates a lot of sympathy for Romeo. Romeo gains a lot of sympathy in Scene 1 as he watches an argument between his friend, Mercutio, and Juliet's brother, Tybalt, unfold.

They and other members of the Montague family are discussing the prospect of a quarrel with the Capulets. Benvolio, another friend of the Montague family, says 'I pray thee, good Mercutio, let's retire: The day is hot, the Capulets abroad, And, if we meet, we shall not scape a brawl; For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.' He is saying that if they should see any of the Montages there's more than likely going to be a brawl.

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Tybalt then enters the scene and he is ready for a fight. Even though everyone wants to fight Romeo doesn't because Tybalt is Juliet's brother and to fight him could make Juliet unhappy. Tybalt and Mercutio begin to get frustrated at Romeos attempt to avoid a fight. Eventually Tybalt challenges him to a fight. He says 'Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries. That thou hast done me; therefore turn and draw.

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' Shakespeare creates sympathy for Romeo as the audience recognise that Romeo is in a difficult situation as he doesn't want to fight because he has just secretly married into the Capulet family, but he still has a duty as a Montague to fight the Capulets.

Romeos response to Tybalts challenge is 'I do protest, I never injured thee, But love thee better than thou canst devise.' He is refusing to fight Tybalt and this frustrates his friend, Mercutio, who says 'O calm, dishonourable, vile submission!' then draws towards Tybalt. Romeo now senses a fight between these two is inevitable and he tries to stop it. Shakespeare creates a lot of sympathy for Romeo as he can't stop the fight breaking out between his best friends and his wife's brother. Just after Tybalt draws his sword Romeo even says 'Gentle Mercutio, put thy rapier up.' This is a last effort to stop the two fighting. His efforts go to waste and Tybalt stabs Mercutio and kills him. As Mercutio is dying he exclaims 'A plague o' both your houses!'. This makes Romeo very distressed because Mercutio has just partly blamed Romeo for his death. This makes Romeo realise that his love for Juliet has made him soft and he now seeks revenge. He kills Tybalt as he acts on impulse. Benvolio tells the whole story to the Prince who immediately exiles Romeo. Throughout the scene Romeo gains a lot of sympathy as he tries to avoid a confrontation but at the same time he has to resist the urge to fight.

In Act 3 Scene 3 Romeo is waiting for his punishment in Friar Laurence's cell. He is visibly stressed and the Friar has just told him that he has been exiled. He says 'Ha, banishment! be merciful, say 'death; 'For exile hath more terror in his look, Much more than death: do not say 'banishment.' He is saying to Friar Laurence that he would rather face death than to be alive and unable to see Juliet. Shakespeare creates sympathy for Romeo because he is facing the prospect of never seeing Juliet again. The nurse enters telling Romeo that she wants to see him, but he misunderstands and in his state of anguish Romeo tries to kill himself. 'As if that name, Shot from the deadly level of a gun, Did murder her; as that name's cursed hand. Murder'd her kinsman. O, tell me, friar, tell me, In what vile part of this anatomy

Doth my name lodge? tell me, that I may sack. The hateful mansion.' He says he fears Juliet is dead and in a moment of intense stress draws for his sword, but Friar Laurence manages to stop him killing himself. Shakespeare once again creates a lot of sympathy for Romeo as he obviously very depressed at the fact that he is being exiled and therefore won't ever see Juliet again. In parts of this scene Romeo is even on the brink of insanity as he tries to come to terms with his exile. Eventually the nurse and Friar Laurence devise a plan so that Romeo can escape with Juliet.

Shakespeare creates sympathy for Romeo very cleverly. Romeo gained sympathy as he struggled to deal with the complex emotive problems he faced. There is a consistent link between love and death. When Tybalt challenges him to a fight he declines at first because he is in love with Juliet, but he then ends up killing Tybalt. When Romeo is in prison he tries to kill himself because he thinks that his love, Juliet, is dead. Overall Shakespeare whilst not overtly, creates sympathy for Romeo by describing the complex dilemmas Romeo faced, the struggle Romeo had to control his anger and emotions and the psychological impact it had on Romeo. Shakespeare encourages the reader to consider what would I do if I was in Romeos position. By making the reader feel empathy for Romeo, it is then much easier for the reader to sympathise with Romeo's predicament as they view his dilemmas through their eyes.

Updated: Nov 01, 2022
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How does Shakespeare create sympathy for Romeo in Act 3?. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

How does Shakespeare create sympathy for Romeo in Act 3? essay
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