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How do the soliloquies in Romeo and Juliet contribute to the dramatic effect of the play? Refer closely to three soliloquies in your response.

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09/01/09 English Coursework How do the soliloquies in 'Romeo and Juliet' contribute to the dramatic effect of the play? Refer closely to three soliloquies in your response. Today, 'Romeo and Juliet' is considered one of William Shakespeare's most famous plays. It is believed to have been written in 1595, and is about two star-crossed young lovers from rival families, who marry in secret and ultimately take their own lives. In Elizabethan theatre, soliloquies were frequently used, but in modern drama they have almost completely disappeared. This is because people do not believe that characters would talk to themselves when they are alone. Soliloquies were used as dramatic tools to let the audience know what the character is feeling, thinking, and their intentions and state of mind, without speaking to other characters. They also help to develop the plot and set the scene without the use of a narrator. Elizabethan theatres were often round, because it was easier to be heard by all the audience, and they were closer to the actors, so it makes them feel more involved which you would not have if you were too far away from the stage. This means soliloquies were more effective. The three soliloquies I have chosen are Act 1 Scene 5, Lines 43-52, spoken by Romeo, Act 2 Scene2. ...read more.


Shakespeare used antithesis to express conflict by using opposite words. The imagery makes the soliloquy have more impact, as it deepens the mood. The key theme of this soliloquy is love, and it shows Romeo talking in detail about his love for Juliet for the first time, apart from the first meeting at the Capulet's party, when he is entranced by her beauty. He shows how he really feels, 'It is my lady, O it is my love: O that she knew she were!' he says as she appears in the window, with an exclamation to show very strong feeling. Revealing his feelings to the audience allows the plot to move on a lot quicker, as they now know he really is in love with her, even though he knows she is a Capulet, and Verona is a patriarchal city, so the fathers have complete control over their daughters. The old rivalry means Romeo should hate all members of the Capulet family. The soliloquy shows a gentler side to Romeo, as before we have only really seen his sadness over Rosaline, and before he was always refusing to be cheered up by anyone's joking. He says 'O that I were a glove upon that hand, That I might touch that cheek!' in lines 22 and 23, he wants to touch her face because it is so beautiful. ...read more.


Also, they help the audience to understand the characters' personalities as well as showing their feelings, which is important because it makes the audience feel like they know the character better. If Shakespeare were to remove the soliloquies, it would be difficult to portray the characters' feelings without them verbalising it to another character, which would then mean it would be difficult to include dramatic irony to build up the tension. The soliloquies throughout the play all feature similar themes; love and death, and Juliet's often express her impatience such as the soliloquy at the beginning of Act 2 Scene 5 when she is waiting for the nurse to return with news of her and Romeo's marriage, and at the beginning of Act 3 Scene 2, when she is waiting for the night to come so she can see Romeo again. Soliloquies are not the most poetic parts of the play, those are the sonnets which appear throughout the play, and the Elizabethans would probably find the puns the most memorable parts of the play, as they are humourous. I think they are good parts of the play though, because when they believe that they are just talking to themselves, they will probably say what they really feel, whereas if they are talking to other people, they could keep some things to themselves. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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