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How does Shakespeare create an atmosphere of tension in Act 1, scene 5?

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare create an atmosphere of tension in Act 1, scene 5? In Act 1 Scene 5, Shakespeare creates an atmosphere of tension by using a variety of techniques to create a sense of excitement, romance and the undercurrent of danger. Shakespeare plays with the audience as there is strong love between Romeo and Juliet but the mood changes to one of conflict. The audience can sense the danger coming from this but the tension lowers when Lord Capulet calms Tybalt down. This scene does make the audience tense because of the changes in mood and their knowledge of tragic consequence at the end of the day. This scene is about the first meeting of Romeo and Juliet falling in love, unaware that their family have an ancient grudge against each other. This scene is a pivotal one as it is when Romeo and Juliet meet and fall in love at first sight, "What lady's that which doth enrich the hand of yonder knight." This scene also creates tension in the audience as there is conflict between Romeo and Tybalt and Lord Capulet and Tybalt. The mood changes dramatically in this scene. There is excitement at Lord Capulet's party because of the dancing and jubilant atmosphere created, "Welcome gentlemen! Ladies that have their toes Unplagued with corns will walk a bout with you." ...read more.

Middle

This creates a lot of tension as the audience would want to know what is happening at this precise moment. Whilst saying the soliloquy, Romeo does not know Juliet's name, so he compares her to something precious, "As a rich jewel in an Ethiop's ear". He talks to her about her beauty and tells her that she stands out like black and white, "So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows." Shakespeare uses metaphors and similes to describe her standing out against the, "Cheek of night." From the previous lines, Romeo has completely forgotten about his first love, Rosaline, and concentrates on Juliet but then when it comes towards the end of the soliloquy he asks himself a question "Did my heart love till now? Forswear it sight!" This shows that he made a mistake in thinking he was in love with Rosaline. Whilst Romeo is saying this romantic soliloquy, one of the Capulets, Tybalt catches a glimpse of him. This does have an impact on the audience. It raises the tension in the audiences as the mood goes from love to hate and conflict. It makes the audience think that there is going to be a fight between Tybalt and Romeo and that the consequences are going to be bad. Tybalt says, "Fetch me my rapier boy," because he is inflamed by Romeos presence and his authority to enter the Capulets house. ...read more.

Conclusion

Hate is displayed by Tybalt too Romeo as they are each others "Foes." These emotions that are displayed in the scene become a big impact on the audience as this makes the scene more interesting. The historic content in this scene affects the audience too. This is because in the olden days, you would have to know your lover well before you would be able to kiss them. In this case, Romeo and Juliet kiss each other the first time they meet. Also in this case they used to have arranged marriages but Juliet is supposed to be having an arranged marriage with Paris. At the party she is supposingly to be looking out for Paris who her parents have as intended her for but she has met someone's who her parents have approved. This shows that she has strong feelings about Romeo. In Act 1 Scene 5, Shakespeare does create an atmosphere of tension. He does this by using different techniques of language such as, metaphors and similes. Also he uses the sense of excitement, "You are welcome gentlemen. Come, musicians, play". Romance is created, "Did my heart love till now" and the undercurrent of danger, "Fetch me my rapier boy". Shakespeare plays with the audience by beginning with a jubilant atmosphere, introducing romance and ending with conflict. This scene does make the audience tense because of the changes in mood and the tragic consequence at the end. BY JULAN SHAH ...read more.

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