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Before Romeo and Juliet even meet at the masked ball in Act one scene five.

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Introduction

Before Romeo and Juliet even meet at the masked ball in Act one scene five The prologue is written in the form of a sonnet. It starts by introducing the two households and their 'ancient grudge'. The play is set in "fair Verona", Italy. Italy was regarded as a wealthy, romantic country in which romantic plays were often set. We are then told that the deaths of "star-crossed lovers" is the only way to end their "parent's rage". It tells us the end of the play before it has started which sets a sombre mood. The audience will see the characters struggle yet know they are always doomed to fail. There is also a reference to the stars. This is continued the whole way through the play and gives the impression that the stars determine the characters' fate and they are not in control of their destiny. This all adds to the dramatic tension. Shakespeare mentions 'death', 'death-marked love' and 'fatal loins', which all add to the fear of the audience. He does not let us know the reason behind the grudge. This prevents the audience from becoming biased towards one side, and creates sympathy as we feel that the more modern characters like Romeo and Juliet don't have much to do with the grudge. It also reinforces the self-perpetuating nature of the feud. ...read more.

Middle

Romeo decides to go to the Capulet's party to see Rosaline, and not as Benvolio suggests, to "Compare her face with some that I shall how and I will make thee think thy swan a crow." In scene three Juliet's mother asks her, 'How stands your disposition to be married?' Juliet replies, 'It is an honour that I not dream of.' Lady Capulet shows her desire for her daughter to be married, as she tells her that she, herself was a mother to Juliet at her age. The nurse is quite excited about it as she says 'a man, young lady; lady such a man. As all the world, why he's a man of wax'. Juliet tells her mother, 'I look to like if looking, liking move. But no more deep I will endart mine eye. Then your consent gives to fly.' She isn't goingg to do anything that her mother doesn't consent to, but she will look. This has significance to what happens later because she did exactly the opposite and fell in love with Romeo and eventually got married to him without letting her mother know. Towards the end of the scene, Romeo predicts the consequences of him goingg to the ball. He says that 'some consequence, yet hanging in the stars' shall lead to his death. This is also a reference to 'star-crossed lovers' from the prologue. ...read more.

Conclusion

Suddenly there is total silence as they are told off by the prince. It is a very dramatic way of changing the atmosphere. Calm, quiet music plays as Lady Montague and Benvolio talk of Romeo, and we are first introduced to him on a beach at sunset which is very romantic. We are introduced to Paris as "Bachelor of the year" on magazines, showing his suitability to Juliet and why her parents approve of him. We see Paris and Lord Capulet together which shows their friendship. Instead of the Montagues finding out about the party from Peter, they see it on television and decide to go. We meet Juliet in a big mansion as she and her mother get ready for the party and talk about Paris. Lady Capulet is very bossy and loud. The nurse is smaller and friendly and it seems that she and Juliet have a good relationship. Fireworks are going off which are romantic and shows that it is a big occasion. Fate also plays a major role in this play and Baz Luhrman has interpreted "he that heth the steerage of my course, direct my saile" as a point when Romeo is taking drugs and loses control. As it is a masked ball, all the characters are in costumes. Romeo is dressed as a knight. This symbolises that he is a hero. Also, when he first sees Juliet, he says, 'What lady's that which doth enrich the hand of yonder knight?' Juliet is an angel which implies that she is innocent. ...read more.

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