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Act 3 Scene 5 of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

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Introduction

Act 3 Scene 5 of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is a dramatic clash of different perspectives of love and individual freedom. How does Shakespeare use language and dramatic devices to bring out its full dramatic potential? Act 3 Scene 5 is a pivotal scene in William Shakespeare's renowned tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. It includes Romeo's departure to Mantua, where he has been recently banished, Lord and Lady Capulet's announcement that Juliet is to be married to Paris, and Capulet's subsequent outburst in hearing that Juliet is not willing to cooperate. The language and dramatic devices used by Shakespeare in this crucial scene need to be effective enough to convey the various obstacles faced by the protagonists. He uses a range of techniques in order to portray the characters in this scene as effectively as he does. The scene focuses on love, death and fate, and the consequences when these forces collide. The scene starts with Romeo and Juliet waking after their first night together. They are both intoxicated with each other, although Romeo is being relatively sensible, whereas Juliet is being much more stubborn, and refusing to admit what she knows is true; he has to leave. She says 'Wilt thou be gone? it is not yet near day: it was the nightingale, and not the lark, That pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear;'. The lark sings at dawn, this being the time when most birds wake up and sing (hence the 'dawn chorus'). The nightingale, however, the bird that Juliet insists her husband is hearing, sings even earlier in the morning, before sunrise and the harsh light of day. Birdsong is usually seen as a romantic concept, but in this case it is forcing the couple to part. ...read more.

Middle

This is a misunderstanding, however, as Juliet is saying she would make sure that her lover's death was as quick as possible, and cause him minimal pain. This is quite a mature thing to say, wanting her husband to avoid suffering, as opposed to a lingering death, which is out of character for Juliet. Lady Capulet later informs Juliet of her intended marriage to Paris, saying her father 'Hath sorted out a sudden day of joy,' meaning her wedding. This says a lot about what Lady Capulet thinks of love and marriage. She knows that her daughter almost definitely does not love Paris, but from her point of view that is irrelevant; she was married to Juliet's father because of his wealth and status, it was essentially an arranged marriage, and this 'day of joy' is how she views Juliet's arranged wedding. This is a very different view to the one held by Romeo and Juliet, who see love as very important, and got married days after meeting each other. Lady Capulet's view was the convention in the time in which this play is set; Romeo and Juliet's views were unusual. When he first enters, Capulet talks of Tybalt's death, and reacts in a similar surprised manner to Juliet's mother when he realises (or assumes) that Juliet is still crying over her cousin's murder. He says '...the bark thy body is, sailing in this salt flood...' Shakespeare uses a couple of metaphors here. By bark, he means ship; he has referred to a ship as bark several times before, not just in Romeo and Juliet. Capulet is saying here that Juliet, as a ship, is governed by her tears, or the sea, that she is being controlled by her emotions. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Nurse then leaves Juliet, and there is a dramatic change in tone here as Juliet becomes angry at her situation. Throughout the rest of the scene, she was pleading with her father, talking to her mother or speaking romantically to Romeo. Here, however, the way she curses is reminiscent of Capulet, you can imagine his reaction would be similar. 'Go, counsellor; thou and my bosom henceforth shall be twain,' shows how hurt she is by her Nurse's opinion, and that she is too angry to forgive her. Although she hid it whilst the Nurse was in the room, she has no intention of doing what the Nurse recommended. Juliet is saying that her 'counsellor', her confidante, and her friend, has betrayed her and will not be forgiven. This shows how much she was counting on the Nurse's support, and how much she relies on her for advice. Now, however, she has lost that trust, as the Nurse has essentially told her that Romeo does not matter, despite how deeply in love with him Juliet is. There are various ingenious dramatic devices and uses of language in this scene, and Shakespeare puts across all the characters and their opinions to allow the audience to follow the motivation behind all the arguments, as well as the beauty of the morning after Romeo and Juliet's bridal night. He uses a broad range of language to do this, and dramatic devices, like dramatic irony, and the misunderstandings between Juliet and her mother. This is a very important scene, and includes the culmination of issues up until this point, but also the introduction of new ones that the protagonists have to deal with. Romeo and Juliet remains to this day one of the most famous tragedies of all time and, thanks to Shakespeare's skilful portrayal, one that will endure for many years to come. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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