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By what means does Shakespeare establish the main themes and characters and engage his audience in the Prologue and Act 1 sc I of 'Romeo and Juliet'? What are our expectations for the play to come?

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Introduction

By what means does Shakespeare establish the main themes and characters and engage his audience in the Prologue and Act 1 sc I of 'Romeo and Juliet'? What are our expectations for the play to come? 'Romeo and Juliet' is a perennial and universal play, tracking two young lovers, faced with adversity as they try to build they lives together, but inevitably end up dead because of their families' ancient feud. Before we even meet Romeo in Act 1 sc I we know he is lovesick when his father and Benvolio are discussing him saying, 'so early walking did I see your son', 'he gladly fled from me,' and 'shuts up his windows, locks fair daylight out,' showing that Romeo just wants to be by himself, he is avoiding his friends and just finding it hard to sleep. When we finally meet him the first thing he says is, 'is the day so young,' showing that time is dragging for him. ...read more.

Middle

When we first meet Tybalt we know that he is going to cause trouble when he says, 'what, drawn and talk of peace? I hate the word, as I hate hell, all Montague's and thee," showing that he is provocative and Shakespeare's use of tripling emphasises that he is a menace and he really looks down at the Capulet's. We know that Romeo hates the fighting when he says, 'yet tell me not,' which shows he doesn't want to know about the fighting and we have the fact that he is not involved in the first fight scene but ironically he still dies. We see there is animosity between the Capulets' and the Montagues' when the Prince says, 'thrice disturbed the quiet of our streets,' showing that it has happened more than once and it is very unlikely that Romeo and Juliet will ever get together. We see a twist in Act 3 sc I when Romeo says, 'away to heaven, respective lenity, and fire-eyed fury be my conduct now!' ...read more.

Conclusion

There is a contrast in tone from the beginning of Act 1 sc I to the end of Act 1 sc I. At the beginning we have Sampson and Gregory being crude and vulgar and at the end we have Romeo and Benvolio talking about Romeo's love for Rosaline. There is also the matter of the Public conflict of the families' and the Private conflict of Romeo. We see the echo of Act 1 sc I to Act 3 sc I which is a theme in five act plays- the twist is always in the third act. Apart from the issue of love and lovesickness, this play is very irrelevant to 21st century life. For instance Juliet relies heavily on her parents, and she has to have parental consent for everything, whereas in this day and age if we loved someone and our parents don't approve, it doesn't matter because there is always a way for people to be together. Rachel Obiago ...read more.

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