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Consider the historical cultural influences of the play and how they are illustrated in act 1 scene 5 (act 2 scene 2).

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Introduction

Consider the historical cultural influences of the play and how they are illustrated in act 1 scene 5 (act 2 scene 2). Going to the theatre was extremely popular in Elizabethan times but it was also extraordinarily different from going to a play today. It was like a cross between going to a football match and going to a pantomime. Because of this the atmosphere was also amazing. Also the audience would laugh and jeer at the actors whilst they were acting. The lack of scenery meant that the actors used words to set the scene and so therefore the audiences were very imaginative. The play Romeo and Juliet is supposed to have been set in the 15th century. Italy was divided up into a number of independent states. The most important states were Venice, Florence, Milan, Naples and the Papal States (owned by the pope.) Each state had its own ruler. Verona is shown to have its own 'Prince,' though it is a part of a larger state of Venice. A feud between the families in the play tells us a lot about the constant battles and the importance of the ruling families of these Italian states. ...read more.

Middle

He is extremely polite and always remarks on how beautiful Juliet looks. The next morning when Romeo is talking to Friar Lawrence about his new love Juliet, he is consumed with melancholy, and wishes that she is at his side. What makes him even sadder is that Romeo knows Juliet is a Capulet and that they should not fall in love with each other. Romeo is so determined to see Juliet again that he breaks into the Capulets house to see her again. When Romeo has to look up at Juliet on her balcony to speak to her, this shows that she is 'worthier' and has more authority in the play over him. The besotted Montague says 'Juliet is the sun' confirming that Romeo thinks she is worthier than he is. This is Romeo following the tradition of courtly love and that love at first sight is real. Women didn't have any say in the matter of getting married in the Elizabethan times and they were often forced into an arranged marriage with a wealthy man. Like many other women, Juliet didn't want be forced to marry but she didn't hate Paris. ...read more.

Conclusion

'So show a pure snowy dove trooping with crows.' He then plucks up his courage and asks for a kiss. 'My lips two blushing pilgrims' ready stand.' I think he uses the word 'pilgrim' because the word 'Romeo' is the Italian for 'a pilgrim to Rome.' Throughout the scene she refers to him as a pilgrim maybe because of his names Italian meaning or because she is following up Romeos imagery. The 'pilgrim' gets his kiss. 'Thus from my lips, by thine, my sin is purged.' It is sinful to hold hands but by them kissing the sin they committed was removed. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this play. Who would have thought that such a happy starting would finish in such a tragedy? I thought Baz Lurhmann's film ending of Romeo and Juliet was much better that Shakespeare's ending because Romeo killed himself knowing that Juliet was still alive. This made the play more dramatic and an even more tragic ending to the play. Whilst doing this piece of coursework, I have learnt about the tradition courtly love which I think we still use today, how Italy was divided up into states and about Shakespearean theatre. But the best of all, I have read this fantastic play by the greatest play writer of all times! By Matt Butler Matt Butler ...read more.

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