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Examine the dramatic qualities in Act 3 Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet

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Introduction

Examine the dramatic qualities in Act 3 Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet Act one scene 3 is one of the most important scenes in the whole play as it decides the fate of Romeo and Juliet. In an earlier scene Romeo gatecrashed a party at the rival Capulet house and met his true love Juliet. Shakespeare has already explained to the audience in the prologue that the lovers cannot have a happy ending, which started to build dramatic tension from the beginning of the play. Shakespeare shows how much Romeo loves Juliet in two ways. Firstly, he forgets his burning love for Rosaline and falls in love with Juliet at first sight. Secondly, despite the tension between the two families the "star-crossed lovers" fall in love straight away and are married only days after. This love is very important for the dramatic tension in the act 3 scene 1 as it means that Romeo has betrayed his family and is now related to his rivals the Capulets, meaning that he has every reason to stop the tension between the families but cannot explain his actions to his friends. Romeo does not realise that by turning up at the ball uninvited he has greatly insulted Tybalt, Juliet's hot headed cousin, who now wants revenge. The audience does know this and it adds to the dramatic tension. The audience also know that fighting will result in the death penalty as the Prince has forbidden fighting. So the scene will determine if Romeo can be forgiven by Tybalt and the families can become united, or if Tybalt ...read more.

Middle

The audience knows this, as when Romeo enters Tybalt at once dismisses Mercutio and focuses his attention on Romeo... " Peace be with you Sir, here comes my man." Mercutio replies angrily "But I'll be hang'd, Sir, if he wear your livery". This means that Romeo is loyal to Mercutio and will not be Tybalt's servant or wear the clothes of his family. This is ironic because Romeo has not yet told Mercutio that he is married to Tybalt's cousin so now his loyalty also belongs to Tybalt. "I do protest I never injured thee, but love thee better than thou canst devise". At this point Romeo is the pacifier, which is ironic, as he will leave the scene as the aggressor having killed his new cousin, Tybalt. Romeo cannot explain why he will not fight .."Tybalt, the reason that I have to love thee doth much excuse the appertaining rage to such a greeting". Then at the end of the scene when Mercutio is dead Romeo's attitude to Tybalt has changed ..."May fire-eyed fury be my conduct now". This means he will avenge Mercutio's death by killing Tybalt and acting on impulse instead of thinking about his new wife's feelings. This is building dramatic tension even more as the audience know that Romeo does not want to fight but is pushed into it by Mercutio's death. At the end of the scene when he has killed Tybalt Romeo knows that his actions will result in his death and parting from Juliet. ...read more.

Conclusion

Up until that point he has avoided trouble but the death of his friend is too much and he loses control. Act 1 and scene 3 turns the play from a romance to a tragedy as it contains the two most important murders in the play and is the turning point for Romeo and Juliet, as the audience know from the prologue "a pair of star-crossed lovers will take their lives." The mood of the play darkens from here as the comedy and romance is lost. At the beginning of the play the Capulets were said to speak highly of Romeo and maybe he could have united the two families by marrying Juliet. Then suddenly and unexpectedly he has killed Tybalt and there is no chance of any happy ending. When Romeo is banished he feels the punishment is worse than death as he will not be able to see Juliet. Shakespeare uses the deaths of Tybalt and Mercutio to build the dramatic tension of the play to a peak. Mercutio's death is used to create a bad feeling between him and his former good friend Romeo as Mercutio does not die straight away his death is prolonged to allow him to curse the two families twice. The death also builds the tension between Tybalt and Romeo as Romeo feels that he has to avenge Mercutio's death. The audience know a fight must come in this scene but Shakespeare takes time for the fight to occur and uses dialogue to increase the tension. The pace of the speech increases until finally Tybalt is dead. This tragedy seems terrible, but in only a few days Romeo and Juliet will lie with Tybalt in his Tomb. ...read more.

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