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How does Shakespeare create excitement and tension in Act 3 Scene 1?

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare create excitement and tension in Act 3 Scene 1? Act 3 Scene 1 of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is an important turning point in the play. This scene acts as a catalyst for all of the events that have already happened so far. It sparks off many more events, all of which build up to tragedy. After this scene nothing more is happy, this is predicted earlier on in the play. From early on doom is prophesised by more than one character. "These violent delights have violent ends," As friar Lawrence says in Act 2 Scene 6, even though he has no idea that anything will lead to death. He is very uneasy about the whole marriage. There is so much tension that has built up over the past scenes, as the Prince has appointed death as the punishment for the two family's next public brawl. As the scene opens I want Mercutio to stride in confidently and joking about with the other men, I only want there to be three or four other men with Mercutio and Benvolio. I also want for Mercutio to push the other men about a little, almost as if they are playing 'tag'. This is because it fits Mercutio's character, which we have seen much of in the past scenes, also as Mercutio has no worries to do with the Capulets because he is not a Mountague. However, Benvolio should lag behind and appear unwilling to be there, he should look all around him and then hurry up to Mercutio. When Benvolio says his first lines I want him to half mutter and half plead with Mercutio as he is worried about an incident with the Capels. "...if we meet, we shall not scape a brawl, For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring." In these first few lines we notice that the atmosphere is in complete contrast to the last scene of tranquility, happiness and peacefulness. ...read more.

Middle

Then Romeo should move over to Mercutio and place one hand on his shoulder as he says "Gentle Mercutio, put thy rapier up." However, Mercutio merely shrugs his hand off of his shoulder, says his line and begins to fence with Tybalt. I want for them to only make weak attempts at hitting each other though, so that it looks as if they are only practicing with each other. I want them to move all over the market place with Romeo, Benvolio and the men follow them in a rough sort of circle. When they begin to fight Romeo should deliver his lines in a broken manner, so he says parts of them, stops to wait and watch the fight. Also during the fight I want him to attempt to break the fight up a couple of times. He should try to break up the fight when he says "Tybalt, Mercutio, the Prince expressly hath Forbid this bandying in Verona streets." I want him to move over to Mercutio and try to pull his arms away from him, but he doesn't have a good enough grip on Mercutio so Mercutio pulls free and continues to duel with Tybalt. Then after one or two minutes more of fighting I want Romeo to step in front of Mercutio, facing Tybalt. He should try to hold Mercutio back from lunging at Tybalt. He should do this when he says "Hold, Tybalt! Good Mercutio!" Shakespeare gives us the stage instructions that "Tybalt under Romeo's arm wounds Mercutio and hurries away." This tells me that Tybalt needs to wound Mercutio from underneath Romeo's arm. I want Tybalt to aim for under Romeo's arm which is not facing the audience, this will make it easier if any mistakes happen and so that the audience can't see exactly what happened. Tybalt should take his sword out and move back a few paces away from all of the others, I want for him to stare at his sword and notice some blood on the tip, then to look back at the crowd then at his sword again. ...read more.

Conclusion

When he says his next lines I want the Prince to stare at Lady Capulet as if to silence her. After the Prince asks what should be done, who's blood should be given in order to set right matters I want for Lord Mountague to step forward when he says his lines, I want him to deliver them like you would to a good friend who need a little bit of convincing. "Not Romeo, Prince; he was Mercutio's friend; His fault concludes but what the law should end - The life of Tybalt." When he says the "life of Tybalt" I think Lord Mountague should point at Tybalt's body. As the Prince gives out Romeo's punishment I think that he should speak slowly, calmly and loudly, I want him to look from one family to another throughout the speech. I want for Lady Mountague to be weeping when she hears what is in store for Romeo, banishment and I want her to fall to the ground and to touch the Prince's feet. When she does this I want the Prince to move his feet away and look at her with disdain, then say this part of his speech "I will be deaf to pleading and excuses; Nor will tears nor prayers shall purchase out abuses." Once he has finished his speech I want the Prince, followed by the citizens to leave the stage in the direction from which he came, I want the Capulets to follow him, then Lord Mountague and Benvolio should pick up the still weeping Lady Mountague and lead her out followed by their servants. Once they have all left the stage I want the lights to dim slowly until it's totally dark as this is where the interval will be. This way no one will see Tybalt's body being moved and for what has happened so far in the play to be taken in by the audience. ...read more.

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