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Ac1 Scene 5 is a key scene in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet - Describe why it is so important, and how Shakespeare's stagecraft adds to the scene's dramatic qualities.

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Introduction

Ac1 Scene 5 is a key scene in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Describe why it is so important, and how Shakespeare's stagecraft adds to the scene's dramatic qualities William Shakespeare was born in 1564 and then died in 1616. Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare's most well known tragedies and was written sometime between 1589-1595. Most people know about the "star crossed lovers". Its popularity is probably because the story of young lovers, opposed by their parents, yet remaining true to each other until death, and is one that is repeated in every generation. Another reason why it is so popular with the youth of this generation is because of the Baz Luhrman film which was produced in 1997 and started massive actors at the time, including heart-throb Leonardo Di Caprio. Act 1 Scene 5 is a central scene in the play because it marks the beginning of the relationship between Romeo and Juliet. From the start of the play, we have been introduced to the long-standing, bitter feud between the Montague and Capulet households, and the civil unrest that has been caused in Verona. We also know about the rivalry between the young men of the two families and their friends, particularly Benvolio + Mercutio (Montague) ...read more.

Middle

Neither Romeo nor Juliet know what Capulet has said about him: they assume that Capulet would see him as an enemy. Tybalt's dark prophecy that "this intrusion shall/ . . . . . . convert to bitterest gall" prepares us for he ultimate confrontation between himself and Romeo, when he is killed and Romeo is banished in accordance with the Princes decree. "Immediately we do exile him hence" When at last Romeo and Juliet do actually meet and speak to each other, Romeo shows the extent of his passion for this girl whom he has just met by using religious imagery to describe her: "the holliest shrine". This emphasises how much he loves her, and worships her, as he would worship God. He speaks of himself as being unworthy of her. She is so pure and good and beautiful in his eyes. Juliet picks up this imagery in her replies, and encourages him, by telling him that palmers (pilgrims) kiss the hands of saints and therefore he can hold her hand: "holy palmers kiss". Encouraged, Romeo uses an extension of the religious imagery to ask for a kiss. "Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?" ...read more.

Conclusion

So the scene progresses with Juliet dancing and Romeo watching, but all the time her attention is focussed on him. The discussion between Tybalt and Capulet precedes this in the film, so that the dramatic action of the lovers meeting is emphasised and extended, without any distractions. When they finally speak, Romeo has crept up beside Juliet and takes her hand, and pulls her away from the crowd, as he says "If I profane with my unworthiest hand / This holy shrine....." The physical attraction is intense, and the words, hand holding and light-hearted repartee quickly gives way to passion so that the young couples are too involved to care who sees them. Their discovery that they are enemies is made when Romeo sees Juliet being taken by the nurse to her mother in the Capulet household and as h realises the truth, the nurse tells Juliet that he is a Montague. The scene ends dramatically with Tybalt's words which prophesy the "bitterest gall" which will occur as a result of this night. This is a dramatic ending to the party and the liberties Baz Lurhman has taken with the text can be defended by the increases in dramatic effect. ...read more.

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