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Act 3 Scene 1 is a pivotal scene. How is tension created? How does it affect the dramatic action of the play?

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English Coursework - Max Carter 11EB Romeo and Juliet. Act 3 Scene 1 is a pivotal scene. How is tension created? How does it affect the dramatic action of the play? William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet is believed to have been written around 1595. The story is, of course, about a pair of star-crossed lovers. Two teenagers pursue their love for each other despite the fact that their families have been at odds with each other for decades. The story combines sword fighting / duelling, disguise, misunderstanding, tragedy, revenge, humour, and some of the most romantic language found in literature all in the name of true love. From the audience's point of view the play could be seen as a deep, romantic love story where love rises above everything else. However this love is quite ironic as it occurs between two members from rival families; The Montague's and The Capulet's, these two powerful families have been feuding with each other for years. Until the key events in this scene unfold, the play is portrayed as a romantic love story but as the scene draws close to the end, the atmosphere is a lot darker and actually develops into a tragedy. Mercutio (close friend of Romeo and the Montague family) is one of the only characters in the play who is able to provide frequent comic relief. ...read more.


Benvolio is tired and does not wish to become involved in another brawl, particularly as he forbidden to do so by the Prince. "I pray thee good Mercutio, let's retire. The day is hot, the Capels are abroad, and if we meet, we shall not 'scape a brawl, for now these hot days, is the mad blood stirring." Benvolio is basically saying here, let's go hone because the Capulet's are around and if we happen to meet them, we will not escape a fight as they are looking for trouble. The language used in this short quote is quite dramatic and enthralling. Where Benvolio says, "these hot days, is the mad bloody stirring", he gives an image or clues to the audience of things that could happen in the foreseeable future. Mercutio being the trickster that he is shrugs off Benvolio's words and replies with a longer quote which opposes Benvolio's comment and accuses Benvolio of being the one that always starts the fights. "...Thou wilt quarrel with a man for cracking nuts, having no other reason but because thou has hazel eyes..." Mercutio is very clever with his language and he frequently shows the audience this as the scene develops. With this line, Mercutio is talking in response to Benvolio's comment about going home. Mercutio is quite blunt here and directly tells Benvolio that it is him who starts the fights and often they are for no need, as explained when he mentions fighting with someone for looking slightly different. ...read more.


After all, you wouldn't risk your life to satisfy honour against a peasant who you could simply exert your noble status on to have whipped, jailed or killed, with little consequence. You only duel your peers, people with whom you have no other easy recourse for justice. If you disagree with someone, it is your responsibility to your own word, and your opponent's to theirs, to bring it to a duel, because only when facing death against live steel is your commitment truly tested (God, of course, will grant victory to the one who is right, and what self respecting and angry nobleman would believe God wasn't with them?) Even those who fought duels and lost were more honourable and worthy than a man who cowers from confrontation. By the same token, it shouldn't matter if you were a fresh young apprentice of sword-fighting and the one who had done you wrong was a recognised master. If you are in the right, and they in the wrong, divine justice will guide your blade to victory. Duels were also sometimes used to settle blood feuds that had ravaged families for years; in one instance, a duel of twelve people was arranged, six from each of the disputing families, and they negotiated terms for over a year as to who would fight whom first. After that, it was open season. All but one of the twelve was slain. In the play Romeo and Juliet, Tybalt challenges Romeo to a duel to settle an ongoing dispute between the Montague and Capulet families. ...read more.

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