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How does Shakespeare build up tension in Act 3 scene 1? What do we learn of the characters? Do they behave as we would have expected?

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare build up tension in Act 3 scene 1? What do we learn of the characters? Do they behave as we would have expected? Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet', is a very dramatic play and act three, scene one is one of the most dramatic and climactic parts. This scene builds up tension and anxiety, leaving us wondering, at the end, what will become of Romeo and Juliet. At the beginning of act three, scene one the audience already knows that Romeo and Juliet have been secretly married. This is an example of dramatic irony, as none of the characters except Friar Laurence and the Nurse know this. This help to build up tension in the scene. In the previous scene Friar Laurence was uneasy about the marriage and its consequences. This is clear when he says, "These violent delights have violent ends". So, even before this scene, the audience are anxious to see hoe things will turn out for the young couple. Act three, scene one starts with a warning, spoken by Benvolio, "I pray thee, good Mercutio, lets retire; The day is hot, the Capels are abroad, And if we meet we shall not 'scape a brawl, For now these hot days is the mad blood stirring." ...read more.

Middle

Zounds, consort!" This build up tension between the two characters. At this point Romeo arrives and this stops Tybalt and Mercutio arguing. Tybalt sees Romeo and immediately insults him. He says, "Romeo, the love I bear can afford no better term than this: thou art a villain." Romeo is in a very romantic mood, naively thinking that because he is happy, so is everyone else. Romeo replies to Tybalt's insults with word of friendship and love: "I do protest I never injured thee, But love thee better than thou canst devise. Till thou shall know the reason of my love. And so, good Capulet, which name I tender as dearly as my own, be satisfied." Romeo's actions are mistaken by Tybalt as an insult and by Mercutio as weakness and submission. Tybalt and Mercutio don't know why Romeo is acting in this way; this is dramatic irony, as the audience knows that Romeo has secretly married Juliet and this builds up tension in the scene. Perhaps this would have been the time for Romeo to tell everyone about his marriage to Juliet if things were to stand a chance of turning out happily - but Shakespeare needs to create a more tense and dramatic atmosphere. ...read more.

Conclusion

When Tybalt returns, he and Romeo begin to fight. This builds up more tension as, again, the audience is wondering what will be the outcome. Romeo eventually kills Tybalt and flees, the scene ends with the prince declaring that Romeo is to be banished from Verona forever. This leaves us wondering what is to be the fate of Romeo and Juliet. In this scene, all of the characters act as we would have expected them to. Tybalt is his usual, cold and fearsome self, not accepting Romeo's offer of peace and killing Mercutio. Romeo is in stark contrast to Tybalt, acting very romantic and happy, until his sees Mercutio is dead and starts fighting Tybalt. Mercutio also acts like we have would have expected him to by taunting Tybalt and trying to pick a fight with him. Benvolio is in contrast with Mercutio as he is frightened of getting caught and asks Mercutio and Tybalt to 'reason coldly' of their differences. Lady Capulet acts as she always does, out of hatred for the Montagues. Her grief at the death of Tybalt seems to be overshadowed by her desire for revenge. Alex Warham English ...read more.

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