• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Consider the dramatic significance of Act 1, Scene 5

Extracts from this document...


Consider the dramatic significance of Act 1, Scene 5 William Shakespeare introduces the story of Romeo and Juliet by using a prologue. The function of the prologue is to explain the situation, setting the scene in Verona and the quarrel between the families is old, 'ancient grudge'. The prologue informs the audience that the lovers are 'star-cross'd' and that their death ends the feud between the families; the prologue creates the dramatic back-drop of the play. By using a prologue, Shakespeare introduces the theme of love, informing the audience of the lovers. During Shakespeare's time, it was not unusual to introduce the play by using a chorus. The chorus would silence the audience and create an appropriate mood for the first scene. The chorus emphasizes that the lovers are fated and their love is 'death-marked'. The prologue helps create dramatic irony, the audience are aware that the play is a tragedy. Shakespeare's audience did not mind being given the same narrative structure; however, Shakespeare introduced a new level of contemporary entertainment. It is said that for this particular play, Shakespeare relies upon a narrative poem, "The Tragicall History of Romeus and Juliet" published in 1562 and translated into English. However, Shakespeare's play is not an adaptation of the poem because the relationship between Romeo and Juliet is much deeper and dramatised; the couple do not have many scenes together. ...read more.


Romeo talks a lot in rhyming couplets, which makes his speech sound more like a well-rehearsed speech than a true expression of emotional torment. When Romeo meets Juliet, his language becomes more sincere and passionate. Romeo seems desperate to fall in love, but it is an idealised kind of love that he wants; he is realistic, uncompromising and given to extremes, which helps the audience to prepare for his headlong fall into passionate love in Juliet. The audience can conclude that Rosaline is only his fancy and he could be cured if he would follow Benvolio's prescription and 'Examine other beauties'. In Act 1 Scene 2, the real twist of the play begins. The audience have not yet met Juliet but hear Paris confidently asking Capulet for Juliet's hand in marriage; this therefore produces tragic complications for Romeo and Juliet although they have not yet met. Capulet uses imagery to describe how young and unprepared Juliet is to become a bride. Juliet's 'ripeness' to be a bride is talked of in the same breath as summer 'withering'. Montague talks about Romeo being blighted like a bud bitten by a worm. These hints in the imagery prepare the audience for the upcoming tragedy. The love of Romeo and Juliet is full of promise and hope but doomed by fate. ...read more.


The interruption by the Nurse brings the lovers back into the real world from their state of isolation and they begin to understand what has happened. From the Nurse, Romeo learns that Juliet is a Capulet, the family so bitterly at odds with his own and whoever marries her will be very rich, although her wealth is of no interest to Romeo. Juliet wants to know if Romeo is married; if he is then her wedding bed will be her grave. Juliet's character has changed from an obedient child to determine and strong-minded young woman; however this could lead conflict with her parents' wishes to marry Paris. Again the Nurse is the source of information as Juliet learns that Romeo is her enemy; 'My only love sprung from my only hate', the audience feel sorry for the ill-fated lovers. Romeo and Juliet's hearts are tearing up as they learn that it will be difficult to be with their love, although it will be painful to be without; no matter what they do, they will suffer. This underlines the folly of the feud; if the two families would just accept each other, the feud would end and the lovers' would be able to be with their other-half. The audience will want to know how the next scene is laid out. The stage is at a tense and worried atmosphere after many opposites and contrasting moods, it is at an appropriate mood for the tragedy to unfold. Tangena Sultana English Coursework- Shakespeare 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Romeo & Juliet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Romeo & Juliet essays

  1. Marked by a teacher


    4 star(s)

    Within the context of her time, however, she displays great courage. She is not in a position to defy her father's demands, so she does the only thing she can think of: she plays dead. This shows the greatest act of maturity so far for Juliet Capulet, as she is

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Romeo and Juliet comparison

    3 star(s)

    It shows a decaying urban landscape contradicting 'fair Verona'. The font style of the writing is bold like Arial, and is in block capitals, making it clear to the audience what it says. In Zefirelli's, as the camera pans over the city, you can see that Verona is very pretty and fair, as the prologue says it is.

  1. Direct Act 2 Scene 2, the balcony scene

    They both jump and their heartbeats begin to beat faster as Juliet starts to say goodnight and Romeo climbs down the balcony. Juliet says "good night" on line 142 however it takes them much longer to separate. This suggests that even though they are very young they do truly love

  2. Romeo & Juliet Act 1 Scene 1

    He means to impress and so tells Sampson to say that Capulet is better. This triggers some anger and the servants of Montague and Capulet decide to physically attack one another. It does not however have the effect intended by Gregory. Benvolio's character is a rare one within this tragedy.

  1. How is dramatic tension built in Act 3 Scene 5 of 'Romeo and Juliet'

    She personifies fortune to be a person who has taken Romeo from her and says "if you have taken him from me, please bring him back" as fortune was fickle so it could have changed its mind again. With the absence of Romeo and the entrance of Lady Capulet, a sense of bitterness and resentment is introduced onto the stage.

  2. How did Shakespeare create tension in act 1 scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet

    Immediately after Romeo asks what is her mother and a nurse replies Juliet's mother is "the lady of the house." (act 1 scene 5)this also adds to the tension in the play. Romeo and Juliet falling in love is a problem because they don't know each others backgrounds but the

  1. Love and Conflict in Romeo And Juliet.

    "Have at thee coward!" Both men use their imagery based on fire. Benvolio describes Tybalt as "fiery". Tybalt uses his infernal imagery as he shows his Montague hatred, equal to his hatred of hell, hell being a fiery place of evil. "As I hate hell, all Montagues."

  2. Romeo and Juliet coursework- Analyse the balcony scene in terms of its significance for ...

    ' "O, I am fortunes fool." ' When Romeo says this it is almost a hint of fate and Romeos over dramatic character. Another typical example of Romeos romantic language is when he says that he would rather die than be without her ' "My life were better ended by

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work