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How does Act 3, scene 1 fit into the structure of 'Romeo and Juliet', and how does Shakespeare create dramatic tension in the scene?

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Introduction

How does Act 3, scene 1 fit into the structure of 'Romeo and Juliet', and how does Shakespeare create dramatic tension in the scene? Previous to Act 3 Scene 1 Romeo and Juliet marry each other. This is a big problem because the Montague's (Romeos family) and the Capulet's (Juliet's family) are involved in, what seems like, an enormous feud. Nobody knows what it is about exactly, not even by the end of the play, but it is obvious that it is about something very important to both the families as it seems to have gone one for years and years. I am made to think this from the line "From ancient grudge break to new mutiny" The word 'ancient' suggests that it is old and happened years ago. In fact I think that the feud is so old that not even the actual characters know what they are arguing and fighting about anymore. Romeo and Juliet weren't even born when it started and were just born into it. As were all of the others characters in the play. With this in mind then it seems unfair that they should have got dragged into it, it wasn't their fault their families had issues with one another. The feud is very foolish and the violence is very stupid in this play. Sampson begins a fight between the Montagues and Capulets at the start of the play that could have easily been avoided. He insults the Montagues by flicking his thumb from behind his upper teeth. Nowadays that wouldn't have been seen as a n insult but back when that feud was taking place they found it very insulting. ...read more.

Middle

Mercutio is a relative of the Prince and a friend to the Capulets. Even though Mercutio is seen as the joker in the play he does have a sensible side to him. "Why that same pale hard - hearted wench, that Rosaline, Torments him so that he will sure run mad." He feels sorry for Romeo here even though he has no need to as it is not for that reason that Romeo did not go home last night. Mercutio thinks that Romeo is still upset that he can't get Rosaline to love him back but in fact his love for Rosaline has gone "With Rosaline, my ghostly father? No; I have forgotten that name, and that name's woe." This shows that although Mercutio jokes around he can care for people as he is saying that Rosaline is bad for making his friend feel so lonely and sad. This shows that Mercutio is a good person and very altruistic. He sees Tybalt as a joke and in Act 3 Scene 1 mocks his sword fighting style. Mercutio finds the whole feud a joke and really enjoys fighting like Tybalt. From the start of the play it is obvious that Mercutio is a bit too cocky for his own good and it seems inevitable that something will happen to him to serve him right. Which it does later on in the play. Mercutio loves to wind people up and there is evidence of this in Act 1 Scene when he teases Romeo "Romeo! Humours! Madman! Passion! Lover! Appear though in the likeness of a sigh." ...read more.

Conclusion

He find the whole thing a game, I think the reason for Shakespeare doing this is to make the readers want to read on to find out what happens to Mercutio. As Mercutio seems a bit too laid back and cocky about the whole thing. Some readers may think that Mercutio has the chance of being punished for not taking the feud seriously and want to see if he gets his comeuppance. Mercutio is purposely not avoiding a fight so if something bad happened to him, which it does, it'll serve him right. But he can be a very sympathetic and loving character too so it would be a bit harsh to make him die. The readers or audience would find this very tense as they don't know whether they would be upset for Mercutio if he died or if they'd think it was his own fault for messing around. As soon as Tybalt enters the scene it is obvious that there is some tension between Tybalt and Mercutio. Tybalt says ""...good den;a word with one of you" but Mercutio replies in such a way that provokes Tybalt. "And but one word with one of us? Couple it with something make it a word and a blow" Mercutio is trying to wind Tybalt up and is looking for some reaction from him. This is yet another sign of Mercutio certainly not trying to avoid a fight but looking for one. The tension is increased when the readers become aware that Mercutio has a sword "...Here's my fiddlestick..." This raises the tension as it means that actual physical harm could come to Tybalt and vice versa if Tybalt has a sword too, which considering the time this is set in, probably has. ...read more.

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