William Shakespeare wrote the play `Romeo and Juliet` sometime between 1589-1595, nobody knows the exact dates of his plays. Shakespeare got his inspiration for the play from a poem that Arthur Brookes wrote, which was about 500 pages long and was only about 2 characters (Romeo and Juliet). The genre of the play is a tragedy and is just 1 of the many he wrote. The main contrast of the play is love verses hate. What we know so far up to Act 1 Scene 5 is that Romeo’s family – the Montagues and Juliet’s family – the Capulets have some hatred and rivalry between them but we don’t know why.
Earlier in the play there is a fight between two servants of the Capulets and Benvolio Romeos friend, we also know that Romeo is infatuated with Rosaline. In this essay I will be explaining and answering the question ‘ In what ways does Shakespeare make this scene important and dramatic’.
Act 1 Scene 5 opens with the serving men getting everything ready for Capulets party.
They create a chaotic and excited atmosphere, which sets the beginning of the scene. Capulet welcomes his guests and laughs and joke with them for example;
‘Ah my mistresses which of you all will now deny to dance’ – line 17
The consequence to this action is that he brings all the characters on stage and sets the mood of good humour. At the end of the 1st section Capulet talks to his cousin and they reminisce about the past for example;
‘How long is’t now since last yourself and I were in a masked dance’?
‘Berlady, thirty years’
Shakespeare uses Capulet and cousin Capulet reminiscing about the past to introduce the theme of old age and youth.
In section two Romeo is introduced into the scene. In this section Romeo sees Juliet for the 1st time and falls in love with her. He talks aloud and declares his love for her, Shakespeare makes this dramatic by using poetic language in Romeos speech for example;
‘As a rich jewel in an ethiops ear, beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear’ – lines 45,46
‘Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.’ – lines 51,52
This shows that Romeo is in awe of Juliet’s beauty, and was captivated by her, and instantly falls in love with her. Shakespeare also makes this section dramatic by using lyrical and poetical language; he also uses imagery in Romeos speech. The effect of the build up of tension is that it has been dramatically slowed down in this section.
In section three of Act 1 Scene 5 Tybalt (a Capulet) hears someone talking about Juliet and recognises that it is Romeo and is furious that a Montague is present at the party and is insulted. There is a direct contrast from the love expressed by Romeo to Juliet and the hatred tybalt shows towards Romeo. Tybalt’s hatred and anger is increased when he approaches Capulet and informs him there is a Montague present at the masked party, and Capulet does nothing about it, tybalt then starts to get more angry and attract the attention of the rest of the guests, Capulet is furious by this and uses his anger and temper to shut Tybalt up for example;
‘It fits when such a villain is a guest: I’ll not endure him.’ – lines 73,74
‘He shall be endured. What Goodman boy, I say he shall, go to! Am I the master here, or you? Go to!’ – lines 75-77
Capulet informs Tybalt that he is head of the household, and he must do what he is told and put up with Romeo being there at the party, and not kick off and make a fuss of it. As a result of this Tybalt is even more angry about the situation and swears revenge on Romeo, which he carries out later on in the play. The language used in this section is short and straight to the point sentences, where as in the previous section the language used was very poetic and, and longer sentences were used.
In this section Romeo and Juliet meet for the first time and their first words exchanged to each other are a written sonnet for example;
‘To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss’
‘Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much, which you mannerly devotion shows in this, for saints have hands that pilgrims hands do touch’ – lines 95-98
Shakespeare makes this dramatic by having the sonnet shared between the two of them he also makes it dramatic by using imagery throughout his section; the imagery used by Shakespeare in the sonnet is religious for example;
‘Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?’
‘Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.’
The love expressed by Romeo I think is more of an infatuation than genuine, real love, because before he met Juliet he was swearing his undying love for rosaline.
In the last section of Act 1 Scene 5 Romeo and Juliet find out each others identities and are shocked to know they have fallen in love with their families enemies.
Juliet finds out Romeos identity by the nurse and so does Romeo about Juliet, but they are both un phased by this and will carry on seeing each other for example;
‘My only love sprung from my only hate’ – line 137
This shows that she still loves Romeo despite the fact that he is a Montague.
This scene also has the contrast of love and hate for example;
‘That I must love a loathed enemy’ – line 140
This also shows that Juliet is a bit distraught when she realises Romeos identity.
I think Shakespeare has made this scene dramatic and effective by using imagery and the language he uses and the context in which it is used.
The sonnet that Romeo and Juliet share creates a loving atmosphere, and Tybalts hatred for Romeo creates a angry atmosphere which is linked to Shakespeare trying to create the contrast of love verses hate which I think he does successfully.
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