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How does Act 3 Scene 1 create and increase the dramatic tension leading to the end of the play.

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Introduction

DRAFT How does Act 3 Scene 1 create and increase the dramatic tension leading to the end of the play Shakespeare, soon to become the world's most famous playwright, was in his peak of playwriting abilities during 1593 when he wrote Romeo and Juliet. He wrote to entertain in the Rose Theatre, Bankside in London. At that time London was a lively, highly populated place where aspiring writers and entertainers may go to claim their fortunes and in many ways still is. William Shakespeare had many rivals and obstacles to overcome and was living life on the edge. The Master of the Revels was able to shut down theatres at the strike of a pen as it was seen to be unholy to go to the theatre and many other writers also hoped for success, one of them being Christopher Marlowe. Romeo and Juliet was Shakespeare's first play that was exciting enough to really rival Marlowe, mainly because it includes, portrays and expresses basic and important emotions such as love, passion and violence which are still felt strongly to this day. This is one of the reasons it is studied, watched and respected in the twenty first century. Romeo and Juliet is set in sixteenth century Italy in 'fair Verona'. The play is set around two rival high status families from which two opposing 'star crossed lovers take their life'. ...read more.

Middle

When Tybalt arrives, the atmosphere changes and Benvolio warns "By my head here comes the Capulets." To which Mercutio replies "By my heel, I care not", showing Mercutios quick wit and his will for a fight although perhaps not a serious retort. In the play I feel that Mercutio's line should be spoken slowly and confidently as it is one of the key lines in the play signifying a violent challenge may arise during or soon after this scene. The mood really changes when Tybalt and Mercutio start quarrelling, starting off with Tybalt provoking Mercutio by insulting him by suggesting he is homosexual with Romeo "Mercutio, thou consortest with Romeo." Consort is an Elizabethan word meaning to keep company or to entertain. Mercutios response in my mind is very clever and quick witted as he turns the insult into a challenge to fight as he draws his sword as he describes as a "fiddlestick", "Consort? Dost thou make us minstrels? And thou make minstrels of us, look to hear nothing but discords. Here's my fiddlestick, here's that shall make you dance. 'Zounds, consort!". Dramatic tension is increased as the audience now fully expects a fight and may remember the princes warning. The similarities between Mercutio and Tybalt are now very clear but one difference is that Mercutio speaks in prose whereas Tybalt speaks in Poetry suggesting maybe that Tybalt is more sophisticated or Mercutio is in a mild rage unable to project his words clearly and Tybalt is more calm and confident. ...read more.

Conclusion

This turning point signifies the play is moving faster to the dramatic conclusion, building up the dramatic tension for later in the play. Romeo exclaims "O, I am fortunes fool." before leaving. This I feel should be shouted as it truly expresses Romeo emotions and feelings at this present point in time and it signifies the involvement of fate which is mentioned before in the play. Romeo leaves just in time as the Prince arrives along with Lord Montague, Lord Capulet and their wives. The Prince decides that punishing Romeo with death would be un-necessary as enough lives have been taken already so instead he banishes Romeo from Verona but he if he returns he will be killed. "And for that offence immediately do we exile him hence." This creates dramatic tension as it leaves the audience wondering what Romeo will do as he can either return to see Juliet and run the risk of being caught and killed or he can Stay away for Verona and not see his Juliet. During Act 3 Scene 1 the Elizabethan audience would have responded well because it was fast paced with lots of exits and entrances, violence and excitement. I personally feel that this is the most interesting and exciting scene as it unravels peoples true personalities and the dramatic tension is built up very well until two climactic fights. By Tom Davis ...read more.

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