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Discuss why Act Three Scene One of Romeo and Juliet can be said to be The turning point of the play.

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Introduction

Homework Friday 1st December 2000 Discuss why Act Three Scene One of Romeo and Juliet can be said to be The turning point of the play. In this essay I shall try to put forward my point of view, this being that I believe that Act Three Scene One is the turning point of the play Romeo and Juliet. To do this I will look at the significant events leading up to Act Three Scene One and how they affect this scene and also the characters who are in the scene and their importance within the scene. Finally I shall summarise why I do believe that Act Three Scene One is the turning point in this outstanding play by William Shakespeare. Firstly then, I shall discuss the main events of the play leading up to this scene. The play starts with a civil brawl between the two houses: the Montagues and the Capulets. The Capulets present are Tybalt and three of his men, Sampson, Gregory and Abraham as well as the Benvolio, and some of the Montague men. However Romeo and Mercutio are not at this brawl. No one is killed but it is a dramatic entrance into the play showing very clearly that there is an ongoing feud between the two houses. We are also informed that this is the third civil brawl that has taken place so it is not just a one off. Prince Escales (the Prince of Verona where the play is set) warns the two houses in these words: " If ever you disturb the peace of our streets again, Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace." The prince is stating quite obviously that if there were another fight then everyone involved would not be exiled (banished from the country) but killed. Afterwards the Capulets announce that they are having a party. Obviously the Montague boys are not invited but instead they decide to attend the party, as Romeo wants to see the Capulet girl he is infatuated with named Rosaline. ...read more.

Middle

The next time he properly speaks is when Romeo has killed Tybalt and he advises Romeo in these words: 'Romeo, away be gone: The citizens are up, and Tybalt slain, Stand not amaz'd, the prince will doom thee death, If thou art taken, hence be gone away.' Here Benvolio is being a very good friend to Romeo. He is advising him to run away for obvious reasons which I do not have to repeat. Once Romeo has fled away from the scene it was just Benvolio and Prince Escales left. Benvolio is asked to tell what he saw. He goes on to give an honest account about what happened explaining that Tybalt killed Mercutio: 'An envious thrust from Tybalt, hit the life Of stout Mercutio, and then Tybalt fled.' He then explains that Romeo with his 'newly entertain'd revenge' killed Tybalt and then he' turn and fly'. He then swore on his life that that was the truth. This showed that Benvolio was a very honest and truthful character and even though he was loyal to his friend this did not come over authority. The next person who plays an important role in this act is Mercutio, another of Romeo's friends and another Montague. Mercutio is one of those men who do not take life seriously at all. He laughs and jokes about at every possible opportunity and doesn't seem to care about others opinion of him. In Act three Scene One Benvolio advises him to go as the 'capels are abroad'. Mercutio however does not care and instead starts up some silly tease/discussion with Benvolio about people who argue about small, unimportant things. When Benvolio announces that the Capulet men have come: ' By my head here come the capulets.' Mercutio replies with: 'By me heel I care not.' When Tybalt politely asks 'for a word' with one of the Montague men Mercutio decides to stir up a bit of trouble for the sake of it and replies: - 'And but one word with one of us, couple it with something, Make it a word and a blow.' ...read more.

Conclusion

It al happens so quickly, the two people getting killed, yet those few minutes affect the course of the play completely. In acts one and two the play is a romance, with a hint of action (such as the brawl at the start) and some hint at a bit of nastiness (with Tybalt vowing revenge). From Act Three scene one the play dramatically turns into a tragedy. At the end of Act two, when the couple got married there was a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, the houses could unite for the sake of the children and that there would not be any more fighting. Unfortunately with the deaths of Mercutio and that of Tybalt this is no longer a possibility. There is too much bad feeling on both sides and can you imagine what Juliet's parents would say if they found out about her secretly marrying the killer of their nephew? It would be indescribable. Moreover, poor Juliet is sitting at home and she hears the news that Romeo, who she has only just married, is due to be killed because he killed her dear cousin. She must be feeling shocked and awfully distressed as far as she is concerned she will never see Romeo again. She would not know who to be loyal to, her husband or her family? If Mercutio and Tybalt had not been killed I feel it is unlikely that Romeo and Juliet would die at the end. Why? Because if Romeo hadn't been 'on the run' Juliet could have just been honest with her parents and then she could have run away with Romeo but instead she had to take the sleeping potion... and we all know that things go downhill from then on. So I hope you now understand that Act Three Scene One is the turning point of the play. The course of events had to change then; there was no other option. The partnership of Romeo and Juliet could have been a good thing but instead it was a truly awful thing. Megan Burgess 9P 10 1 ...read more.

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