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Discuss the importance of Act 1 Scene 5 and Act 3 Scene 1 in establishing character, theme and mood.

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Introduction

Charlie Ward Discuss the importance of Act 1 Scene 5 and Act 3 Scene 1 in establishing character, theme and mood. Act 1 Scene 5 and Act 3 Scene 1 are two of the most significant scenes in Shakespeare's play 'Romeo and Juliet'. Each contain important turning points which set the scene for the rest of the play and help to develop and vary the character's personalities. In Act 1 Scene 5, great tension is mounted because the audience know that Romeo is not a welcomed member of the Capulets' party, but in being there, he finds love at first sight. The reason that Romeo is at the party in the first place is that his cousin, Benvolio, tries to take his mind off Rosaline and suggests finding a new woman. This suggests that Benvolio is a kind, considerate character, and his name is probably linked to the word 'benevolent,' another word for considerate. Rosaline infatuates Romeo, but he does not feel true love in this infatuation: 'Feather of lead, bright-smoke; cold fire, sick health, Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is! This love feel I, that feel no love in this.' There are a series of oxymorons from Romeo in this passage. The use of this language develops the moping aspect of his character. Before they arrive at the party, Romeo gives a speech relating to death, 'Some consequences yet hanging in the stars', meaning in-directly that death is nearby, creating tension. This is the first of many examples of Romeo's fatalistic character - he believes that something significant will happen in the near future. Shakespeare refers to light and dark on many occasions, one being in Romeo's speech. Later on in the play, Romeo refers to Juliet as 'light' e.g. being the good in his life. He also refers to her in holy terms suggesting she is 'pure' and perfect, 'she doth teach the torches to burn bright', creating the image that Juliet is very pure. ...read more.

Middle

His mood is very calm but he also tells Tybalt he does not want his party ruined: 'you'll make a mutiny among my guests.' It is known from previous scenes that Tybalt is very proud of the house of Capulet, so it is now a suspicion of the audience that Tybalt will end up causing Romeo pain and anger. Tybalt disagrees with Capulet's comments and goes on to say 'I'll not endure him'. Capulet snaps his reply back to Tybalt by saying 'He shall be endured'. Capulet is now being very aggressive with Tybalt for trying to overthrow his master's orders. This shows the power Capulet has over Tybalt. He insults him by calling him a 'goodman boy'. This would be a double insult to Tybalt as he calling him a 'goodman' which means not a gentleman, and to call him 'boy' increases insult to the previous one. Throughout the rest of the scene Tybalt is evidently uneasy knowing that Romeo is at the party but cannot do anything. This creates tension, as the audience knows what a short-tempered character Tybalt is. 'To fleer and scorn at our solemnity?' Shakespeare uses tautology in this sentence to enhance the viciousness of Tybalt's character. 'Tis a great shame', showing Tybalt is ready to start a fight with Romeo, bringing out his short temper. When Romeo and Juliet are together, all other hatred seems to disappear, and they are in their own world, excluded from the rest of the party, as their only concern is to love each other and be happy. There is an immediate rapport between them - Romeo starts off the love sonnet talking in rhyming couplets, and Juliet immediately follows his lead, speaking with the same language structure. This is one of the methods Shakespeare uses to show love at first sight. When they talk to each other the speech is holy and pure, e.g. ...read more.

Conclusion

After Mercutio dies Romeo becomes furious, he says ' This day's black fate on moe days doth depend; This but begins the woe others must end.' This means that this day's misfortune casts a sense of foreboding over the days to come. He also blames Juliet's beauty for Mercutio's death: 'O sweet Juliet, Thy beauty hath made me effeminate, And in my temper softened valour's steel!' When Romeo kills Tybalt he realises the 'misfortune' that this will cause when he says: 'O, I am Fortune's fool,' once again referring to fatalism. Romeo is contemplating how his actions have been those of fate or fortune. Fortune has now fulfilled its latest desire by killing Tybalt. If the Prince, the apparent keeper of law and order in Verona, finds Romeo he will have him killed and Romeo knows that his death would destroy Juliet. The prince is outraged with what happened but because Mercutio was also killed, instead of giving Romeo the death sentence he banishes him. For Romeo, this is worse than being killed because he has to spend his life regretting killing Tybalt and is forced to stay away from Juliet. The Prince's language is very poetic and powerful. This shows that he is an authoritative and important character: 'Therefore use none. Let Romeo hence in haste, else, when he is found, that hour will be his last' shows that the Prince is very commanding as he has declared banishment to Romeo, and if he is found he will be killed. These two scenes in the play are arguably the most important, because they represent major turning points in the story line. They are also very dramatic scenes, particularly the fight scene in which two of the most important characters in the play are murdered. Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare's most famous plays, and will always remain one of the most tragic plays of all time, 'For never was a story of more woe, than this of Juliet and her Romeo.' ...read more.

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