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Discuss the Dramatic Effectiveness of Act 1 of Romeo and Juliet

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Discuss the Dramatic Effectiveness of Act 1 of Romeo and Juliet By Lyndsay Roger Romeo and Juliet: one of the greatest known story's of all time. Before having seen it acted on the stage or having read the script, people are aware of the storyline and are captured by this tragic love story about "a pair of star cross'd lovers". The reason for this fame may come from the way the play deals with themes that were not only important in the late sixteenth-century, but are still relevant in today's society (love, hate, conflict and death to name but a few) or possibly because of the appeal the play has to all ages; romance, action, comedy - it has it all! To begin the play - a dramatic prologue that adds a suspense which continues throughout the play: a sense of foreboding every time anyone mentions anything ominous. Although the prologue gives away what is going to happen, it does not seem to ruin the rest of the play. Rather than not wanting to see the end of the play, the excitement is heightened - the audience wants to know why the "star cross'd lovers take their life". The prologue also sets the scene, establishing the conflict between "two households, both alike in dignity", and their "ancient grudge" and telling us the play is set in "fair Verona". It leaves us with no surprises, giving us a basic summary of the play in the form of a poetic sonnet. ...read more.


The servant finally tells him and departs, and Benvolio urges Romeo to attend the party, saying that he will find him someone so beautiful that Rosaline will look ugly in comparison. Romeo retorts to this with a speech saying that if he ever found another woman as beautiful as Rosaline, it would be like finding an idol greater than God, and that his eyes should be turned to fire and burned out of his head. Scene three is an unusual scene because it is one of the only scenes in the whole play which is focused solely on the relationship of the three women in the Capulet household - Lady Capulet, Juliet and the Nurse. The scene is quite a personal one. In this scene, we see the closeness between Juliet and her Nurse, clearly contrasting with the formality she has towards her mother and we get a detailed insight into the personality of each of the women. The Nurse is an appealing character to the audience because of her humour, very similar to that of the servants at the very beginning of the play -quite smutty, a relief from the tension at some points. The Nurse was the one who looked after Juliet ever since she was a baby, and because of this has almost become a part of the family. She has a long speech about Juliet in her childhood, which emphasises the strong bonds between them, but the speech has quite a rude theme, and therefore according to the Nurse's personality she feels the need to repeat it several times, to the humour of the audience. ...read more.


Meanwhile Romeo has caught sight of Juliet and is astounded by her beauty. His language to describe her is very different to his earlier language describing his love for Rosaline. He can find nothing bad to say about Juliet, compares her only to good things and describes her only using the prettiest of adjectives, similes and metaphors. His earlier lust for Rosaline only serves to make his love for Juliet seem even more romantic than it is and shows that his love for her is real. However, he does not realise who she is, yet when he begins to talk to her, neither of them think to introduce themselves, adding more to the obvious "love at first sight" clich´┐Ż that applies to them. They are both so distracted by the other that nothing else matters and the whole world seems to revolve around just the two of them. In the following speech they play a word game with each other, each twisting the others words into a new meaning and testing the other, then finally they kiss. It is a moment that the audience have been waiting for since they began talking and as they talk - whilst holding hands - the anticipation grows until finally they kiss. They have fallen totally in love, so when each finds out that the other is (as Romeo says) "My life is my foe's debt" or (as Juliet says) " My only love sprung from my only hate" there is too much between them to just go back and forget what happened. This is where the scene ends, leaving the audience waiting with eagerness to know what happens next. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 Lyndsay Roger ...read more.

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