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Romeo & Juliet

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Romeo & Juliet Many people consider a tragedy to be a play or story, which includes an element of death and disaster, the play Romeo and Juliet fits into this category. With their fate already mapped out, Shakespeare ends the secret love affair of Romeo and Juliet with their deaths. The tragedy has a didactic purpose; Shakespeare wants the audience to learn how to avoid making the same mistakes as the characters. Shakespeare cleverly begins the play with a prologue, which sets the scene for the rest of the play. The prologue tells us about an "ancient grudge" between two families and how only the deaths of "star-crossed lovers", one from each enemy, could end the feud. This brief revelation of the plot of the play allows the audience to concentrate on how and what led to the two lovers deaths instead of a surprise ending with death. The fact that the prologue is written as a sonnet emphasises the theme of love. A sonnet typically uses very elaborate and poetic language and this can be seen in the prologue, such as "their death-marked love". However this also creates a theme of violence and death, which carries on throughout the rest of the play by mentioning "civil blood makes civil hands unclean" and "their parents rage", it sets the scene for the rest of the play. ...read more.


The audience immediately sees the peace-making ways of Benvolio by trying to calm the servants down by saying, "put up your swords, you know not what you do". Whereas the arrival of Tybalt is very dramatic showing his aggressive and violent behaviour towards the feud. Tybalt relates the word "peace" to his hatred of "hell" and calls Benvolio a "coward" for asking him to "put up thy sword, or manage it to part these men". This reckless behaviour inevitably leads to them fighting and causes a riot in the street including civilians. The involving of the civilians refers back to the prologue "where civil hands makes civil hands unclean". Shakespeare gives the audience a taste of what is going to happen in the rest of the play by including the fight so early on. This emphasise to the audience the importance of the feud and how it affects the innocent civilians of Verona. Shakespeare uses the arrival of Capulet, Lady Capulet, Montague and Lady Montague to once again humour the audience. Both Capulet and Montague see the fight and request for their swords to join in. Both wives hold back their husbands saying that they are too old to fight and "a crutch, a crutch! ...read more.


Benvolio tries to convince Romeo o "examine other beauties" but he claims, "Thou canst not teach me to forget". However, the audience know that it is not Rosalind that Romeo ends up with which could be an argument about whether Romeo's elaborate way of speaking about his emotions in this Act 1 are artificial. All of the themes of love, hate, conflict and fate in the play are actually introduced in Act 1 Scene 1. Shakespeare does this to make sure that the audience are able to grasp the actual point of the play. What the play is about is told immediately, when Romeo is talking of his love for Rosalind, he actually sums up what the play is about in just one line, "Here's much to do with hate, but more with love". In conclusion, the events and themes, which are shown in Act 1 Scene 1, predict the future tragedy. The combination of love and hate is bound to end with death. The audience hasn't even seen or heard of Juliet yet which emphasises Shakespeare's point of the whole play. Shakespeare wants the audience to concentrate on how the characters come to their tragic end so they can learn from its didactic purpose. ...read more.

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