Why is act 3 scene 5 so effective in Romeo and Juliet? Essay
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Act three scene five is one of the most important scenes in the play Romeo and Juliet. The reason for this is, is the fact that it is an effective piece of drama. It has meaningful lines which are well written and well acted to make it so effective. Romeo and Juliet is read in almost every school today and has influenced other plays and films like 2003’s Underworld, where it was more or less the same, except the Montague’s and Capulet’s were replaced with vampires and werewolves.
In the previous scene, we have heard Capulet talking with Paris about the forthcoming marriage between Paris and Juliet.
At the beginning of act three five, we learn that Romeo and Juliet have spent the night together. This mixed with Romeo’s recognition that if he stays he will die, and our knowledge of what is likely to happen if they are caught, provide the audience with a dramatic opening to the scene. The events of act three scene five effects the rest of the play in a larger and more superior scale than any other scene. The scene contains action packed romantic moments which interest the audience and keep them on their toes, which makes the scene the core of the play.
Romeo has been sent into exile and the pain really starts to kick in because the newly wedded Romeo and Juliet have to say goodbye to each other, knowing there is a chance they will never see each other again which makes the goodbye scene a memorable moment for the audience. The exchange between Romeo and Juliet in which Romeo speaks of being “put to death” hints at future disturbance. It reminds us that despite their declaration of love for each other all is not well, there is a tense atmosphere lurking under the surface. Juliet’s exchange with her mother reveals that she mistakenly believes that Juliet weeps for Tybalt.
The tension as Lady Capulet callously vows to have her revenge on Romeo; “We shall give him such an unaccustomed dram. That he shall soon keep Tybalt Company” We know by this quote as Lady Capulet uses dramatic irony that Romeo will indeed join Tybalt in the near future and lady Capulet sees Romeo as been a criminal. At the same time, Juliet reveals in an aside to the audience that she desperately seeks to deceive her parents into believing that she too wishes that Romeo was dead, heightens the drama of the scene and shows the effect of death and how it takes it toll.
Another reason why the scene is so effective is because of the vehemence with which Capulet attacks Juliet when she refuses to comply with his order that she must marry Paris is, arguably, the dramatic climax of the scene. He files into a violent rage, threatening Juliet. “Drag thee on a hurdle thither” This quote shows Capulet’s outrage and anger towards Juliet as she does not want to marry Paris and threatens her to come to him. This alters Juliet’s relationship with her parents and won’t be the same again. This leads Juliet into final tragic action when she says she will kill herself if Friar Lawrence does not come up with a plan.
After the tirade of verbal abuse in which Juliet is called a disobedient wretch and a tallow face, suggests that Capulet is prepared to use physical force to make Juliet obedient. The mounting terror of Capulet’s repeated threats add to the drama of the scene. The contrast between the gentle opening of the scene and the savage events of Capulet’s outrage make the scene so powerful. Things do not get better for Juliet when she is betrayed by the nurse which leads her into further final tragic action and definitely plays apart in making the scene effective.
The scene contains many examples of Shakespeare’s language and finest poetry which makes the scene effective. His language consists of linguistic devices such as oxymoron to show the conflicting feelings in the scene. A good example of this is Romeo and Juliet. One minute they are over the moon, happy because they are in love and have just been married and the next are sad because Romeo has been sent into exile. It also shows they love each other but have to be parted. Shakespeare uses an exceedingly good class of enjambment by not using punctuation at the end.
“No nightingale, look, love, what envious streaks Night’s candles are burnt out” The lack of punctuation shows the depth of feeling in the scene which makes his language and poetry superior and makes the scene effective. Shakespeare also uses dramatic devices such as Juliet’s final soliloquy. This is important in making the scene effective because we hear Juliet speak to herself in private, away from the nurse so we know she is saying what she really feels. In the scene act three scene five Romeo and Juliet speak in rhyme to persuade each other that Romeo should stay a little longer.
This makes the scene stand out compared to other verses in the play which are blank and makes it effective. “O now be gone, more light and light it grows” “More light and light, more dark and dark our woes” This rhyme makes the scene stand out and shows the persuasion going on to stop Romeo from leaving so soon and shows how strong their love is. While Romeo and Juliet use rhyme to express their love Capulet uses no punctuation at end to express his anger. The themes in the play also make the scene effective, the themes in are the lark and the nightingale, the lark is a bird which signals darkness.
In this scene Romeo has to say goodbye to Juliet for he is forced into exile. This is the last time they see each other alive, although they do not know this at the time. They have just spent the night together and when they awake the sun is coming in through the window and the lark is singing so they know it is morning; Juliet says “Believe me, love, it’s the nightingale” This is just a last ditch effort to keep Romeo here with her. Shakespeare includes this theme of the birds to show Romeo and Juliet doesn’t want to be parted.
Stage craft plays a part in making the scene effective because this scene takes place in Juliet’s bedchamber. We may see a bed, but no other furniture is needed. Juliet’s costume may show that she has been in bed – though her parents do not suspect that she has had Romeo’s company. Otherwise, the scene relies mostly on speech. The characters play a huge part in making the scene effective. For example Juliet’s pains for having her parents turn against her and the dilemma involving Romeo will make the audience sympathise for her. For a piece of drama to be truly effective the audience must be involved and care about the characters.
The audience will definitely respond to Juliet’s desperation with her parents turning on her and the nurse stabbing her in the back which make the audience go through different emotions. As a result of this will make the scene more effective. Theatricality also plays a part in making the scene truly effective because prologue we know that Romeo and Juliet commit suicide. Therefore the interesting thing is to see how it all comes about. At the beginning of the scene Romeo and Juliet get married, but right from their wedding day we know there is a chance they could be found out.
This builds up suspense and tension in the audience wondering if they will get caught. It is also interesting for the audience to see how danger builds up and leads them into desperate actions. The audience are also kept on their feet as the scene differs greatly from happy to sad which makes it effective. The historical context and contemporary relevance makes the scene effective. At the time Elizabethan England was protestant, but many people were secretly catholic. As a result of this the audience could view the Capulet’s and Montague’s as two religious clans like Catholics and Protestants.
The Capulet’s and Montague’s could also be put into the world of full of divisions throughout history, like different Muslim sects in Iraq or Protestants and Catholics in Ireland. The original story of Romeo and Juliet would have been known as Shakespeare’s time of writing but in fact he only adapted it. Act three scene five is effective partly because it gets to the heart of what it is like to be torn away from your true love; a story of two people divided who were brought together by love will always have a effect on the reader or audience, as this play has.
The role of women back then was a lot different than what it is like today. Back then fathers owned their daughters like we own a pet. The scene shows how powerful fathers were over their daughters as Lord Capulet takes control over Juliet’s life and Juliet does not get s choice of what goes on. She can only go out to family parties, and not to see friends. Her parents do not have a good relationship with her, but they are very powerful figures in her life, and she dare not disobey them, until she met Romeo, where she could not withdraw because of her strong love for him.
Being devoted to your parents and never disobeying them was the custom in the Elizabethan period, but less so today, although parents would probably like it to be that way. A girl reading the play today would be astonished although some religions still believe in arranged marriages. The great and significant thing is about the play is that Romeo and Juliet are easily recognised as lovers and as people torn apart by love, even in our common language. Act three scene five is an effective piece of drama and is the core of the play Romeo and Juliet.
It contains all devices needed to make it truly effective and great. It contains good language and poetry, great actors, theatricality, good historical context and contemporary relevance. All these features blended in with good acting makes the scene do powerful and special. As we know the play is still very popular worldwide today and is the basis of many books and films like 2003’s Underworld, and is read in almost every school today. If this scene had not been an effective piece of drama the play would have been lost in time as many of Shakespeare’s contemporaries had been.