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Explore How Shakespeare Creates a Dramatic Climax in the First Meeting between Romeo and Juliet.

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Explore How Shakespeare Creates a Dramatic Climax in the First Meeting between Romeo and Juliet The first meeting between Romeo and Juliet is a special moment in the play for numerous reasons: their love amid the hate of the feud between their families, the time of their meeting and the place in which they meet all contribute to the dramatic climax. To draw attention to Romeo and Juliet's first meeting, Shakespeare uses the sonnet - a complex and highly artificial verse form, popular in the 16th century and generally regarded as the proper medium for love poetry. Romeo starts with devout religious utterance: If I profane with my unworthiest hand, This holy shrine... He develops the religious image for four lines, which rhyme alternately (ABAB), then Juliet picks up the same image, speaking the next four lines in the same pattern (with rhyme CBCB). A third quatrain is shared between the two (rhyme DEDE) and a final couplet is spoken - the first line by Juliet, the second by Romeo, who clearly takes advantage to kiss Juliet at the end of this line. Then move not while my prayers effect I take The sonnet form is used to emphasise the lovers' isolation from the society in which they live; and the way in which they share the same extended image and same verse form emphasises the harmony of their thoughts. Even so, one should notice that Juliet manages to tease Romeo a little within the solemn expression of devotion. ...read more.


The point of the joke is, of course, that Juliet will lie on her back when a man makes love to her. Thus, the Nurse's view of love creates comedy. When we first meet him, Romeo is a rather tiresome young man, endlessly complaining in the elaborate language of love then fashionable about his sorrows because Rosaline rejects him. He is playing the part of the Petrarchan lover. The love poetry of the medieval Italian poet Francesco Petrarch was widely imitated throughout the Renaissance. It established literary conventions of how to behave and how to talk when in love. In Elizabethan love poetry we meet, over and over again, lovers who behave just like Romeo. They dote upon one lady; live only for her; express their feelings in elaborate extended images and rhetorical phrases; they are devastated if she frowns on them and overwhelmed by joy if she smiles. It is an elaborate, exaggerated ideal, almost a religion of love. Mercutio recognizes the fashionable posturing of Romeo's behaviour when he says: Now he is for the numbers that Petrarch flowed in Romeo regards Rosaline as beyond all women in beauty: The all-seeing sun Ne'er saw her match since first the world begun He swears his love for her in religious terms - he worships her, and resorts to ingenious imagery to say so. He talks of his depression at her rejection of him in the same exaggerated way. It is difficult for the audience not to feel that he is wallowing in self-pity, and the oxymorons with which he endeavours to describe his feelings sound very much like contrivance: Why then, O brawling love, O loving hate, O anything, of nothing first create! ...read more.


it is of very long standing (an ancient grudge). There is a reason that Shakespeare spends so much time on this feud: although everyone else in the play may be full of good sense, they are all also engaged in a feud which is the opposite of love. The audience cannot prefer their way of life to that of Romeo and Juliet, who want nothing to do with the feud. In short, the world of Romeo and Juliet's love seems a haven of peace and love removed from all this brawling and hate. There are many factors that contribute to the dramatic climax at Romeo and Juliet's first meeting. By the end of Act 1, Shakespeare has fully engaged the audience in the love story of which the first meeting is the beginning, yet it feels like a climax given its context and nature. The prologue tells the audience at the very beginning of the play that this is to be a great and tragic love story, and thus the lovers' first meeting at the end of Act 1 is long-awaited and -expected by the audience, creating dramatic tension. The first meeting is short but intense - private yet in a public place - and tragedy immediately threatens. The young lovers are presented sympathetically, encouraging the audience to believe in the prospects of the relationship, even against their better judgement, and to rejoice at their happiness. The meeting also creates anticipation for the rest of the play, as the audience wonders what will become of Tybalt, the feud, and most importantly of Romeo and Juliet. Jo Harris 11Bg/K PJo 25/11/2003 - 1 - ...read more.

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