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Explore how Shakespeare creates dramatic impact in the Prologue and Act 1 of 'Romeo and Juliet'.

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Introduction

Explore how Shakespeare creates dramatic impact in the Prologue and Act 1 of 'Romeo and Juliet'. Shakespeare creates a lot of dramatic impact in the play 'Romeo and Juliet'. Shakespeare does this by using key themes, breaking the taboos of his time and setting up the audience's expectations for the rest of the play. 'Romeo and Juliet' is a romantic tragedy. The play is about two lovers from two opposing families who mend the quarrel between their families by tragically dying. Shakespeare's use of the two opposing families (The Capulets and The Montagues) introduces the key theme of social class; in Shakespearean times it meant a lot to come from a high class and have a lot of money. Other key themes introduced in act one are sex and virginity, love, age, comedy, fairytale themes, fate and the audience's expectation. Shakespeare uses contrasts throughout Act one to create different moods in the scenes and to show the difference between the characters. In scene one there is a contrasts between the characters of Romeo and Benvolio. Romeo's character is adolescent and thinks he "should forget to think" because he is so in love with Rosaline. However in contrast Benvolio is very down to earth and tries to give Romeo advice such as to "examine other beauties". This scene shows the types of contrasts that Shakespeare uses, as the audience sees the difference in Benvolio's character and Romeo's character. Act one is important because it is the beginning of the play; it introduces the characters and their personalities through the events that happen in the first act. ...read more.

Middle

Shakespeare uses oxymoron's such as "heavy lightness" or "feather of lead" to illustrate Romeo's confusion. Shakespeare often uses sudden changes of moods to excite the audience and make an impact on the scene. The scene where Benvolio is comforting Romeo is a big contrast to the opening scene. In the opening scene the servants talk about physical sex without mentioning love, as though it has no meaning. However Romeo talks about love as if it where something more special. This contrast can be seen in the difference between the characters quotes. The servants use words such as "push" and "thrust" but Romeo uses phrases such as "kiss fair ladies". Romeo's use of the word "fair" shows that he sees women as people whereas the servants' use of the words "push" and "thrust" shows they see women as objects. This contrast in the two scenes is dramatic and interesting to the audience. Another difference between the scenes is how Benvolio reacts to Romeo. Benvolio always answers to Romeo. He asks him questions in a caring way to try and find out why Romeo is upset and to try and comfort him. Romeo affects the audience in such a way so that the audience thinks of nothing else but love when he enters the stage. Romeo's metaphors of compassion and romance and of "still-waking sleep" and of "a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes" interact with the audiences' emotions. In doing this the audience can experience how he feels. It is important that the audience hear about Rosaline because it allows the audience to see Romeo's love mature as he falls for Juliet. ...read more.

Conclusion

However the end of the scene is yet more dramatic when Romeo finds out that Juliet is "a Capulet" and Juliet finds out that "his name is Romeo, and a Montague". Shakespeare has made the opening of Romeo and Juliet dramatically effective in many ways. Firstly he surprises the audience by telling the audience what is going to happen in the play. This is unusual and creates an expectation for the audience. Secondly he uses sonnets to express true, devoted love finishing a dramatic scene with rhyming couplets. He does this in the prologue using the words "attend" and "mend". Shakespeare uses contrasts throughout "Romeo and Juliet" to create dramatic impact with contrasts in mood, events, characters and language. The first act is important because it grabs the audience's attention with the violent opening. It also introduces the characters to the audience and sets the relationships between the characters for the remainder of the play. "Romeo and Juliet" is still relevant to audiences today as the current issues raised in the play are still around today such as the Muslims fighting in Iraq. It is also a timeless love story that is often repeated with slight variations in films and books. This means that the story of "Romeo and Juliet" is still popular with many people. In my opinion Shakespeare has used clever ideas, language and atmosphere in this play to make it dramatically effective and to create an impact. The opening Act is creative and keeps the audience guessing what is going to happen next it is also comic, with Shakespeare's play on words as the audience sees in scene five with the pun on the word "move". In conclusion "Romeo and Juliet" is a romantic and moving play which I have enjoyed reading and analysing. ...read more.

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