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Explore Shakespeares Presentation of Act 3 Scene 1 as a Turning Point in the Play

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Introduction

Explore Shakespeare's Presentation of Act 3 Scene 1 as a Turning Point in the Play Romeo and Juliet was written by William Shakespeare in around 1594-1596. However, the original story goes as far back as around 200AD, before becoming popular in Italian literature in the 15th Century. Shakespeare based Romeo and Juliet on a poem by Arthur Brooke entitled "The Tragicall History of Romeus and Juliet". Shakespeare was very talented at updating and modernizing old tales. Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy, but it is interwoven with many other genres including romance, violence and comedy. He included the violence and comedy to keep the fickle Elizabethan audiences who indulged in bloodthirsty entertainment like bear baiting and cockfighting. Throughout the play, tension has been built up and by Act 3 Scene 1 the audience already knows many of the characters temperaments that there will be a tragedy. The first example of tension in the play is in the prologue. It tells of "star cross'd lovers", which hints at the involvement of fate. It also serves to develop the theme of conflict, using emotive words like "grudge, mutiny, strife, rage and fatal". It tells the audience that the two main characters will die, "who do with their death bury their parent's strife", and there is a pun on the word bury as the lovers are buried and the grudge is ended. ...read more.

Middle

Throughout the play Mercutio has been the joker of the play and he is often using puns and being outrageous. It is clear from the start of the scene that Mercutio is not in a good state of mind. He usually speaks in blank verse (using iambic pentameter) like a high status character, but at the beginning of Act 3 Scene 1 he is speaking in prose. Shakespeare has done this to show that Mercutio is in a foul mood and slightly crazed. After Benvolio suggests leaving, Mercutio becomes angry at him and starts ranting about how Benvolio is quarrelsome, using the pun "Thou wilst quarrel...for cracking nuts...because thou hast hazel eyes" Hazel is an eye color and variety of nut, so it creates the impression of eyes being cracked. When Tybalt arrives, Shakespeare presents him as being very respectful towards Mercutio and Benvolio; he speaks to Mercutio very politely, calling him a gentleman. Mercutio instigated the violence by saying "make it a word and a blow" he means blow as in a punch or a strike from a sword. But when Tybalt retaliates by saying "thou consortest with Romeo" Mercutio gets extremely angry because to be called a minstrel implied that one was a low status person like a musician, begging for money, and it also seems to suggest that Mercutio had a homosexual relationship with Romeo. ...read more.

Conclusion

marriage to Paris and the Friar having to create his flawed plan to get Juliet to Mantua, resulting in Romeo and Juliet's deaths. Act 3 Scene 1 is turning point for the play because Mercutio and Tybalt are dead; therefore there is no more humour in the play as it had all been provided by Mercutio. Romeo changes from a seemingly weak petrarchian lover to an angry murderer, (Interestingly, modern interpretations of the play leave out Romeo's murder of Paris because they want to preserve Romeo's image as the 'good guy'). Benvolio has failed to keep the peace again, the Nurse and Friar are in deep trouble with regards to the marriage and plans are set in place which leads to the demise of Romeo and Juliet. Fate, as Romeo would believe. Shakespeare presents many moral messages in Romeo and Juliet, the contrast of Love and Hate, men lusting and not loving. He questions male values and codes of honour, Act 3 Scene 1's fights over honour cause two deaths and cause most of the trouble which leads to the death of Romeo and Juliet. But most of all, he shows that love always conquers hate. Although there are many tragedies along the way, Romeo and Juliet's love buries the hate of their warring families. ...read more.

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