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In Romeo and Juliet, how does Shakespeare use imagery and symbolism to create dramatic tension?

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Introduction

In Romeo and Juliet, how does Shakespeare use imagery and symbolism to create dramatic tension? William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet is set in 16th Century Verona. It concerns two main characters, Romeo and Juliet, and their fight to keep their love and themselves alive. Romeo and Juliet are the only children of two feuding aristocratic families, the Capulet's and the Montague's. At a party held by Lord Capulet, the two meet and instantaneously fall in love. Throughout the rest of the play we follow their journey of accelerated adolescence until they meet their tragic death. Some people argue that Romeo and Juliet epitomises the true essence of love, because it is so tragic; Romeo and Juliet die for each other, without any hesitation. Shakespeare uses linguistic and poetic devices to create dramatic tension for the reader. Through these carefully structured phrases and sentences, we the reader can know and understand the feelings which Romeo and Juliet are experiencing. Act One Scene Five This scene begins at Capulets house. He is getting ready for a feast to be held at his mansion. ...read more.

Middle

Juliet says this to the Nurse, not knowing that what she has just seen will occur in a matter of days. Act Two Scene One Romeo goes into the orchard. He speaks aloud of his love for Juliet, thinking that no one can hear him. In fact, Juliet has come out onto her balcony, but at first she is not aware of Romeos presence because she is so deep within her own thoughts. Juliet is still troubled by the fact that her only love Romeo is the son of her only enemy, the Montague's. We can tell that Juliet is feeling very confused at this time. She is only young and experiencing such strong emotions and feelings at her delicate age must be very hard for her. We observe this in her manner of speech at the beginning of this scene. In the next passage, Shakespeare uses more light imagery. Some may see the use of this light imagery to symbolise the youthfulness and innocence of their love. Romeo and Juliet are experiencing true love, a love so pure that it knows no boundaries. ...read more.

Conclusion

The protracted farewell - Juliet comes and goes twice from the balcony - is a charming way of conveying the excitement she is feeling and leads comfortably to the famous line, 'parting is such sweet sorrow.' Juliet's declaration of love is a convenient dramatic device. It speeds up the reaction and allows Romeo to step forward, announce his presence and immediately pledge his love for Juliet. Juliet finishes her soliloquy with 'take all myself.' Romeo then answers in the same vein; 'I take thee...' This could be perceived as an example of the close connection that Romeo and Juliet share, because he seems to finish her sentence for her. Conclusion In Romeo and Juliet, the language sometimes seems overloaded with linguistic tricks, puns, antithesis, paradox and oxymoron. In part this may be explained boy Shakespeare's love to play around with words. The basis of figurative language is the comparison. A form of direct comparison is a simile. A more subtle comparison is a metaphor. The continual references to light and lightning itself; all affect the audience's imaginative responses. Romeo and Juliet are 'star crossed lovers.' On one level, stars can represent fate - the pair are fated to die. On the other hand, a star us something which brightens up a dark nights' sky. ...read more.

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