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Act 3 scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet is one of the key scenes in Shakespeare’s play. Consider why this scene is so important and show how a production of it could be directed to create its full dramatic impact for the audience.

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Introduction

Act 3 scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet is one of the key scenes in Shakespeare's play. Consider why this scene is so important and show how a production of it could be directed to create its full dramatic impact for the audience. Isobel Griffiths 10LA William Shakespeare's play 'Romeo and Juliet' is the classic love story of two 'star crossed lovers' tangled up in their family's 'ancient grudge'. Set in the Italian city of Verona, in the late 16th century, 'Romeo and Juliet' depicts the tragedy caused by the Montagues and the Capulets hatred for each other. Act 3 scene 5 is a key scene of the play and shows Juliet's dilemma as her parents try to force her to marry Paris, a respectable young man of Verona, when she is already secretly married to Romeo Montague. The scene is set on a Tuesday, and Romeo and Juliet only met on the previous Sunday. They first saw each other at Juliet's father's ball, and fell in love instantly; '[Juliet] shines like a rich jewel in an Ethiop's ear'. However, as Romeo and Juliet are of conflicting families, they marry in haste to overcome their impracticality of seeing each other. When they marry, Juliet is unaware of her parent's proposition for her to wed Paris, and this scene depicts the problems she faces. ...read more.

Middle

Juliet speaks ironically later on in her refusal. 'I will not marry yet, and when I do I swear it will be Romeo, whom you know I hate.' With these words, Juliet is trying to convey to her mother how much she does not want to marry Paris, even saying that she would rather marry Romeo. If the situation were not so tense and apprehensive, the audience would almost laugh at the irony. Lady Capulet should be shocked by her daughter's revelation, but she should also be almost dismissive in her voice. 'Here comes your father; tell him so your self.' Lady Capulet cannot be bothered to argue with Juliet, and feels her husband will be able to sort it out. When Capulet enters, the audience will be worried about how he will take the news of Juliet's refusal to marry Paris. There is dramatic tense in this part of the scene. Capulet makes a point of mentioning Juliet's tears (a stage direction from Shakespeare.) Capulet may think Juliet's tears are of sorrow and grief for Tybalt. 'What, still in tears?' He is quite tender in what he says; 'in one little body thou counterfeits a bark. Capulet then asks his wife 'have you delivered to her our decree?' In Lady Capulet's reply, she presents even more dramatic irony. ...read more.

Conclusion

Juliet must be feeling incredible isolation, and that she is trapped. She then pretends to the nurse that she agrees to her marriage with Paris. 'Thou hast comforted me marvellous much..... Tell my lady I am gone.... To confession and to be absolved.' The nurse then leaves, and this is the last time we see her. After the nurse exits, Juliet has a soliloquy. Shakespeare uses this opportunity to let the audience know what is going through her mind. Juliet feels betrayed by the nurse and thinks she is a hypocritical coward. 'O most wicked fiend.' She does not know whether speaking ill of Romeo when she has praised him before is more of a sin than telling her to break her marriage vows. Juliet only has one other person she can go to for help; 'I'll to the friar to know his remedy; if all else fail myself have power to die. Juliet is so desperate she even contemplates suicide. This is relevant later on in the play. In conclusion, I think that act 3 scene 5 is one of the most eventful scenes in Shakespeare's play, even though it only includes four characters. It is important to understand the scene, as it has meaning throughout the rest of the play. The scene wreaks dramatic irony and ambiguity which is why an audience watching the play would be engrossed. ...read more.

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