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How effectively does Shakespeare use scene 1 to introduce the main themes in 'Romeo and Juliet'. 'A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life' this immediately tells the audience the tragic fate

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Laura Martin How effectively does Shakespeare use scene 1 to introduce the main themes in 'Romeo and Juliet'. 'A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life' this immediately tells the audience the tragic fate of the 'lovers' mentioned in the first 6lines of the prologue. Warning the audience of the sorrow and heartbreak that the play will lead to. Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' is based on the hatred between two families, the Montague's and The Capulet's and how their anger and passion towards each other lead to the death of a beloved child from each family. Shakespeare uses Act 1, scene1 to introduce many of the main themes that appear throughout the play, these main themes are; Disorder, fate, light and Darkness, love and passion. Using this prologue Shakespeare is able to tell the audience the entire story line without them even watching the play. The line of the prologue beginning 'A pair of star-crossed lover....' tells the audience straight away of the fate of the two characters involved. This set the scene for an inevitable ending whilst warning the audience what to expect, this is also back up throughout the play because as soon as one good thing beings disasters follows closely behind. ...read more.


This is also observed later on in the play when Romeo and Juliet realise for the first time they are from 2 different, arguing families. This argument prepares the audience for other quarrels and brawls further on in the play. "What, drawn and talk peace? I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montague's, and thee. Have at thee, coward" this particular dialogue spoken by Tybalt not only reflects the aggressiveness of his personality but tell the audience of the hate and bitterness between the two families. Shortly following these events Benvolio enters, " Part, fools! Put up you swords, you know not what you do" this shows the audience the peacekeeper in the play, the man that attempts to separate the two families and stop the brewing fight/argument. When this does not work Lord and Lady Capulet enter, followed by Lord and Lady Montague. Both the Capulet and Montague Lords want to join in the fight but are stopped by their wives, who tell them that they are too old. As the wives hold the pair back the Prince enters with his 'men'. The Prince is seen as the figure of authority in the play; the person who controls all problems and is seen as someone who is capable of sorting out any feuding and arguments. ...read more.


The idea of courtly love originally came from a European tradition from the middle ages but still known in Elizabethan times. This was basically a set of rules/ expectations of people who fall in love. These rules stated a number of things this included "her coldness inflames the passion. He is consumed with melancholy and makes up verses about love" this is present in Romeo and Juliet towards the end when Romeo is desperate to see Juliet and in his last hours makes up several verses to calm himself and prepare himself to meet his wife, Juliet in heaven. The idea of marriage also originated in Europe and is also present in the play, this theme is only mentioned by Capulet once, when he is talking to Paris about his arranged marriage to Juliet. Juliet was pleased and honoured to have been asked to marry Paris until she meet Romeo, this is when she began to resent the arranged marriage. Capulet tells Paris the way to win his daughters heart, the themes of love and passion, light and dark and violence are continued throughout. Shakespeare very cleverly uses Act 1 Scene 1 to introduce these theme either through the prologue, what the first characters say or the actions and imagery that are used. Shakespeare was able to take all of this into account and still produce his own version of Brooks poem "The Tragic History and Romeus and Juliet. ...read more.

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