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How Does Shakespeare Create Tension in Act 3, Scene 1 of 'Romeo and Juliet'?

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Introduction

How Does Shakespeare Create Tension in Act 3, Scene 1 of 'Romeo and Juliet'? -By Alex Howes In 1595-6, William Shakespeare wrote a play of romance and tragedy, which was a great turning point in his career. Although he had already written a large number of historical plays, Romeo and Juliet was the great romantic tragedy which helped put Shakespeare in the history books, and established him as a serious playwright. 'Romeo and Juliet' is a story of fate, revenge, and two star-crossed lovers (as mentioned in the prologue). A prologue was needed in many Elizabethan plays as the audience needed background information to understand what the story was about. In 'Romeo and Juliet', the prologue or 'opening' suggests that the play is generally focused more on the fact of a long feud between two old families (Montagues and Capulets), than two star-crossed lovers. It shows this by starting the prologue with 'Two households, both alike in dignity', this emphasizes that the story is already focused on the two families, rather than Romeo and Juliet. ...read more.

Middle

This excites the audience, and also adds to the shock when an event occurs. The stage directions are also a huge factor in Act 3 Scene 1, because of it's fast-paced and action-packed style, the audience need to understand every aspect of what's going on, or they would become bemused in all the entrancing/exiting, this is due to the fact that in the 16/17th century, plays were performed on a round stage surrounded by stalls and chairs, known as an 'Elizabethan Theatre'. People needed to do know what was going on at all times, thus Stage Directions were needed. Upon the arrival of the Capulets, Mercutio deliberately misunderstands Tybalt when he asks if he is associated with Romeo, he mistook "Consort'st" for "Consort". Mercutio immediately takes this as an insult, and replies "Here's my fiddlestick; here's that shall make you dance". From this, we can see that Mercutio is already challenging Tybalt to a duel, as he is threatening Tybalt, hoping he would make the first move. ...read more.

Conclusion

this rephrases to "They killed a Capulet, so a Montague should be killed.". Lady Capulet states this rash fact due to her strong hatred for Montagues, which is now peaking due to the death of her son. She does not care in what circumstances it occurred, only that a Montague is to blame. The Prince then steps in to take responsibility, and thus banishes Romeo from Verona, ruining the constant companionship between Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare's use of tension is a cornerstone of 'Romeo and Juliet'. It creates different atmospheres, which made the scene more exciting for the audience. His use of pathetic fallacy and stage directions are also very important, because in Elizabethan theatres they would not have been able to use lighting effects to create the weather and feeling, so they had to have a narration throughout the play. So in conclusion I think that the most significant way Shakespeare created tension was by the weather, because it changed the atmosphere of the scene and also the mood of each character, which in turn caused drastic events to occur. ...read more.

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