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Exploring Act 3, scene 5 - How does Shakespeare develop Juliet's character?

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Introduction

Exploring Act 3, scene 5 How does Shakespeare develop Juliet's character? Romeo and Juliet was written in 1595 by William Shakespeare. The play was set around 100 years before it was written. It was based on a story, which Shakespeare has read which was called 'The Tragical History of Romeous and Juliet', by Arthur Brooke, which was published in 1562. The play was set in Verona, a city in Italy and the story had such an effect on Shakespeare that he adapted it to suit his own ideas and turned it into a play. It could be seen that he had written the play to underline the status of fathers and daughters at that time since at the same sort of time, he wrote 'A Midsummer's Night Dream' which also involves a daughter wanting to marry someone against her father's will. This play, unlike Romeo and Juliet, is a comedy production. In Shakespeare's theatre, his play would be staged on a large platform with seating and standing audience. The audience would rely mainly on language and voice tone of the characters to understand the jokes, puns and themes of the play. They used few or no props, so strong emphasis was put on the actors to use their bodies and voice to tell the story. This way, the audience had to build pictures in their head. Scenery was basic and the audience had to use their imagination to build ideas in their heads and scenery for each different scene. Throughout the play up until this scene, Shakespeare has pointed out that Juliet is young and innocent, for example in Act 1, scene 3, the Nurse says 'Come Lammas-eve at night she shall be fourteen,' which means that Juliet will be fourteen on Lammas-eve, which was the 31st July, meaning that when she married Romeo, she was only 13 years of age, as the story of Romeo and Juliet spans only 5 days. ...read more.

Middle

The violence in this play is set against the peacefulness of Romeo and Juliet when they are together. Love is an important theme in this play and appears in many different forms. Different characters talk about love from very different points of view. The love for example, between Romeo and Juliet is deep and passionate and is more powerful than hatred and even death. The use of language in the play can help the audience understand a lot, such as the oxymorons spoken by Romeo, in Act 1, scene 1. They help the audience grasp the concept that two completely different things can seem very similar, such as when Romeo says 'O heavy lightness, serious vanity'. This echoes the message that Shakespeare may be trying to tell us; love and hate can be very similar, because Romeo and Juliet are meant to be enemies, yet they have fallen deeply in love and have got married. My opinion on Juliet is that before she marries to Romeo, she is rather young and reliant on her family and the Nurse. Yet now she is married, she gives us the impression that she doesn't need the help of her Nurse anymore. We as the audience can see that she will not benefit from isolating herself, but the mixed emotions she is feeling are driving her towards her inevitable death. The language used by Lord Capulet in this scene is rude and aggressive towards his daughter and this can be emphasised to the audience by seeing his body language and hearing his tone of voice. The play is full of examples of different kinds of disorder. Imagery is used throughout the play to emphasise the danger of disorder. The images of the sea suggest unpredictable and uncontrollable danger. The disorder of life in Verona is emphasised by the use of imagery to do with sickness and disease. For example this society is full of 'cankered hate'. ...read more.

Conclusion

This shows the audience the severing of Juliet's esteem and friendship with the Nurse. Both Romeo and Juliet are now left completely alone. Romeo is banished to Mantua and Juliet deserted by those whom she looked to for help and support. The audience can feel helpless and pity for the characters to see them meet such a terrible ending, and they cannot do anything to prevent it. When the chorus says 'A pair of star crossed lovers take their lives...' it can make the audience feel helpless as they see Juliet saying that she has a premonition that she will be a tragic end. Fate is an important theme in this play. From the very start, we know that Romeo are Juliet are a pair of 'star-crossed lovers' or fated to disaster. Romeo also says he feels his future is 'hanging in the stars' and he is 'fortune's fool. The overall structure of the play and the way the story unfolds produced a feeling of inevitability and certainty about the ending. Neither Romeo nor Juliet can really escape because just when things look as if they are going to improve, some new disaster strikes. Because the Nurse has betrayed Juliet we can understand how she feels as the Nurse is no longer providing the comedy and humour she did before. We as the audience can feel betrayed. Shakespeare could have done this because he may have wanted us to feel sorry for Juliet so he made us experience the feeling of betrayal. In this way, Juliet's feelings can be understood easier. Shakespeare has developed Juliet's character in such a way that we can almost feel how she is feeling and pity her. Now, only the Friar remains faithful, but even he will fail them at the hour of greatest need whilst they are in the tomb. Juliet says that she will try the Friar's plan, but if it fails, she knows she has only one course of action left to her when she says 'If all else fail, myself have power to die.' Here the coming tragedy is signalled once again. ...read more.

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