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How does Shakespeare create tension in Act 1, Scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet?

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare create tension in Act 1, Scene 5? This scene is an important scene to the entire play because it starts the journey for Romeo and Juliet when the two young lovers eyes first meet each other. Romeo and Juliet follows a typical love at first site story. Shakespeare describes them as 'two star-cross'd lovers' and in this scene the audience see when they first set eyes on each other showing the significance of the scene. The audience are aware of the different rival families Romeo and Juliet belong to, they are also aware that Romeo and Juliet will end up taking there life, in this scene the audience are left eager to find out the rest of the story that leads to such woeful ends. Act 1 scene 5 begins with a short dialogue between servants rushing around to prepare for the Capulet dinner. This is a frantic dialogue setting the scene for an important moment. This shows how significant this scene is as when everyone is rushing around during the party and excitement the audience suspect Romeo and Juliet might meet amongst the chaos and fall in love. It is important that the ball is masked as Romeo and his friends are at a Capulet party in disguise, the masks symbolize Romeo and Juliet being strangers to each other. ...read more.

Middle

When Romeo and Juliet meet, the language and imagery they use is very effective. Romeo uses words with a variety of religious connotations to woo Juliet, these efforts are playfully denied, as Juliet is so young she has not had much experience with boys and finds Romeo's clever language hard to resist. Juliet tries to not play to easy to get and flirts by making Romeo work to woo her. This is shown when Romeo says, "Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?" and Juliet replies, "Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer." This playful sense adds to the tension of the scene because all the while these two teenagers are flirting and talking the are entirely unaware that they come from rival families and the true strength of this rivalry has just been emphasised by Shakespeare showing that the families are prepared to go so far as to kill for just stepping foot in one another's house. Having wooed Juliet, Romeo kisses her and they fall deeply in love. Soon after Shakespeare brings the audience back to realize the rivalry and it starts to dawn upon Romeo his love is a Capulet. He talks of his life being owed to his enemy. Here in the scene there is a sense that Romeo is now lost and suddenly chaos starts to break out as his cousins rush him from the Capulet's house and the banquet comes to an end. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is shown on stage in a variety of ways, in Shakespeare's time there would have been few ways of showing the emotions, only acoustic music, props and different ways of acting would show the emotions. However in modern day theatre lighting and music technology are available to producers. This play was written over 400 years ago when people thought about love in a very different way from today. This is shown simply as Juliet is roughly 14 to 15 and already being pressured to wed from her mother. This was seen as not only acceptable but expected for a girl of Juliet's age. It is clear from Romeo and Juliet that as soon as girl hit puberty she was expected to settle down and make a family. Love was also thought of as religious, the theme of Romeo and Juliet flirting is religious throughout as Juliet refers to Romeo as a 'pilgrim' and Romeo refers to Juliet as a 'Saint.' All of this builds tension in Act 1 Scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet because it keeps the audience having a greater knowledge than the characters, from the opening scene (prologue) of the play the audience are aware that Romeo and Juliet will take there lives and Shakespeare keeps them guessing with twists and turns as to how such a young couple end up in such a terrible way. ...read more.

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