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Explore how effective Shakespeare's use of contrast is in Act 1 Scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet.

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Explore how effective Shakespeare's use of contrast is in Act 1 Scene 5 Act 1 Scene 5 is a particularly dramatic one. This is because it is the scene where the whole of Romeo and Juliet starts. It is the scene where Romeo and Juliet first see each other. Most of the parts in this scene come over a range of different moods. This scene begins with a busy and a worried mood. Then the Capulet and his cousin have a bit of reminiscing talk, which is a jovial and coarse. Then very soon after that there is a brief moment when Romeo lays his sight first time on Juliet and is impressed and talks about Juliet's beauty. After this Tybalt gets in a very angry and a frustrated mood as he over heard what Romeo was talking about. This is where Capulet and Tybalt have a little about letting Romeo be there and not spoil the party. After that, in strong contrast Romeo and Juliet actually talk to each other the first time ever. And then finally the nurse introduces each other. The changing moods of this scene are strongly in contrast with each other. As usual Shakespeare has used his language very cleverly and made different moods and also made is tricky. ...read more.


This part starts with Romeo asking a serving man about who Juliet was. Then he gets lost into his own thoughts about Juliet's beauty. This little bit particularly catches my eye. This little part is very poetic, which Shakespeare was an expert at. But the main thing is that the language in this part in romantic, passionate and also full of rich imagery. The lines in this part that caught my eye were, 'The measure done, I'll watch her place of stand, and touching hers, make blessed my rude hand. Did my heart love till now? Forswear I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.' These lines have the every bit of the moods in this whole part. These lines are romantic as Romeo is very impressed with Juliet's beauty. It is also passionate as Romeo feels to be with Juliet. The lines, 'O she doth teach the torches to burn bright! It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night as a rich jewel in an Ethiop's ear' clearly explain why this part is very full of rich imagery. This gives us an image like a rich jewel hanging upon an Ethiopian or a black person's ear, which is again a very brilliant use of imagery by Shakespeare. ...read more.


Here there are words like, 'holy shrine', 'gentle', 'pilgrim', 'pray', etc. which add more of the romance to it as it already has. All this gives the audience an idea that their love is very true and religious. The last part of this scene, where Romeo and Juliet are introduced to each other as enemies by the nurse, is in strong contrast with the previous part because, in the previous part they were all in a loving and romantic mood while after the introduction, the mood changes straight to curiosity. After this entire romantic mood going straight to a curious mood gives the audience an idea and the feeling that this is going to be terrible. The last use of the contrast that is the uses of the opposite words gives an extra understanding of the whole thing. Some examples for this are, 'love-hate', 'early-late', 'unknown-known'. The most important part is that these oppositions are used in one sentence. This gives an extra bit of the contrast. Altogether, this help the audience understand the scene properly and also it adds a bit of poetry. I particularly enjoyed this scene because this scene has got the most use of contrast in the whole play. But the most important thing is that this is the scene where they whole play starts as this scene is where Romeo and Juliet meet each other. PRATIK MEHTA ...read more.

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