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Explain how Shakespeare makes Act 3, scene 1 such a memorable experience for his audience. To what extent does this scene confirm the status of Romeo and Juliet as "star-crossed lovers"?

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Introduction

Explain how Shakespeare makes Act 3, scene 1 such a memorable experience for his audience. To what extent does this scene confirm the status of Romeo and Juliet as "star-crossed lovers"? Act 3, scene 1 is a very memorable scene for the audience as they are presented with two, very dramatic fight scenes which result in Romeo's banishment from Verona. As a consequence of this Romeo thinks he will never see his wife, Juliet, again. Shakespeare cleverly changes the theme of the scene to 'hate' after Mercutio is murdered. What seems to be a playful fight between him and Tybalt ends in his own death. In an act of revenge Romeo then kills Tybalt in the second fight scene. The fight scenes give the audience a chilling reminder that the play is in fact a tragedy and that the unfortunate fate of Romeo and Juliet has already been decided. ...read more.

Middle

After the Prince's previous warning he is now subject to the death penalty. He describes himself as 'fortune's fool' which reminds the audience of the status of Romeo and Juliet, as 'star-crossed lovers' and prepares them for the tragic ending of the play. In Act 3, scene 1 Shakespeare cleverly uses the technique of dramatic irony. Romeo is the only character in this scene (other than the audience) who knows Romeo has married Juliet in secret. This creates dramatic irony and explains his strange actions and unwillingness to fight Tybalt. In this scene Shakespeare also uses juxtaposition. After the theme of 'love' was strongly emphasised in the last scene the theme of 'hate' is now used in this scene as a contrast. This strong contrast creates a very captivating scene for the audience. Even in Act 3, scene 1 Shakespeare uses a contrast between humour and drama. The scene starts off with Benvolio warning Mercutio about his temper and says: "I pray thee, good Mercutio, let's retire: The day is ...read more.

Conclusion

The two fight scenes in Act 3, scene 1 make this scene the most breathtaking visual spectacle in the play. There are two fights in this scene ; the first between Mercutio and Tybalt and the second between Romeo and Tybalt. In Shakespeare's play it simply says "they fight" while in Zeffirelli's 1960s film the two fights are portrayed rather differently. While in the fight between Mercutio and Tybalt the two characters are almost having a 'play' fight' (which ends in Mercutio accidentally getting killed), the fight between Romeo and Tybalt is shown as a more intense fight that clearly shows the two characters bitterly hate each other. Zeffirelli's version emphasises the violence of the scene and in particular the hostile assaults/murders, this makes the scene as a whole even more dramatic. Once the Prince arrives at the scene the characters start using rhyming couplets in their speech. This emphasises their protests to the Prince and the hatred of the other family. It also shows that the characters are upper class and prepares the audience for the Prince's decision. ...read more.

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