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The first scene of Romeo and Juliet

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English Literature Coursework - 4th Draft The first scene, apart from gripping our attention, introduces us to the main themes and gives us an insight into major characters. Discuss. The first scene draws the audience in as it started with conversation between Sampson and Gregory, who were servants of the Capulets. This was soon interrupted by a brief skirmish between the Montagues and them. This is a frequent occasion between the two major families, as Prince Escalus mentioned, "By thee, old Capulet and Montague, have thrice disturb'd the quiet of our streets". This denotes that it is not the first time this conflict devastated the city, but the third. Also, Gregory emphasises the magnitude of the disagreements by saying that "the quarrel is between our masters and us their men". Both the Montagues and the Capulets seem to despise each other a lot, hinting that there will be further disagreements later in the play. For example, Sampson pointed out that he wishes to "show myself a tyrant. When I have fought with the men, I will be cruel with the maids - I will cut off their heads." This also shows the form of conversation they have as entertainment, which consists of boasting about themselves and their fighting abilities. Moreover, they demonstrate their vulgar humour regarding Soon, the audience is captivated by the brief skirmish between the two parties. ...read more.


His appearance is brief in this scene, but shows his personality, and reminds the audience that this trait will get him killed later on. Lord Capulet is still eager to fight despite his old age, and he asked for his "long sword". However, his wife, Lady Capulet, decided that a "crutch" would suit him more since he is an elder. Lord Montague sees the Capulet's as "villains", and he is also eager to fight, asking for his wife to "hold me not, let me go." Yet, the comparatively more passive Lady Montague replied - "Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek a foe." Prince Escalus, although he is not a main character, is vital as he informs the audience of the age-old dispute - "By thee old Capulet, and Montague, Have thrice disturbed the quiet of our streets". He is a man of justice, although not completely unbiased since he has kin in both the Montagues and the Capulets, and presents his interest in this ancient feud and the two families. The main theme of Romeo and Juliet is of course, love. This is shown by Romeo, who in scene one, is obsessed with a Capulet girl named Rosaline. He used extravagant prose to demonstrate his love, such as "She hath, and in that sparing makes huge waste: For beauty starved with her severity, Cuts beauty from all posterity....". ...read more.


Fate plays a major role in Romeo and Juliet, as only through fate the two lovers meet. Scene 1 depicts how Romeo, through destiny, had met Rosaline Capulet. Furthermore, Prince Escalus warned the families that "if ever you disturb our streets again, your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace". This prophecy came true in the end, as Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet both sacrificed their lives due to the grudge between their kin. In conclusion, the main characters are first introduced in the first scene, as readers learn about the primordial feud between the Montagues and Capulets, and how the different members of the families interact with each other. The scene draws in the audience's attention by starting with a brief encounter between the servants of the opposing families, which lead to a more serious conflict, later dispersed by Prince Escalus. Romeo was also first introduced in this scene, consoled by Benvolio. Furthermore, a variety of themes are illustrated by the characteristics of the characters themselves. For example, Escalus represents justice while Tybalt represents rivalry. The plot of Romeo and Juliet may be predicted from the first scene alone, which may be of a use for the audience to foresee the development of characters and themes alike. Name: Christin C Class: 11M Subject: English Literature Date: 11th March 2002 ...read more.

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