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How does Shakespeare make Act 3, Scene 1 dramatically effective?

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Introduction

In the following essay, using just one scene from 'Romeo and Juliet', I am going to examine the many techniques used by William Shakespeare to answer the following question: How does Shakespeare make Act 3, Scene 1 dramatically effective? As soon as you read the opening lines of Act3, Scene 1 you can tell that they will soon be followed by violence and intensity although it is quite unexpected after the romantic and blissful wedding scene. Straight away, Shakespeare prepares us for conflict and brutality as Benvolio starts the scene, by telling Mercutio to go indoors because 'the day is hot, the Capels are abroad, and if we meet we shall not scape a brawl'. This immediately creates tension and is dramatically effective because we already know that fighting is banned in Verona streets and would lead to greater consequences. Benvolio knows that the dry, torrid weather means fights are more probable and these conditions also mean that they are hot, tired and not in a fighting mood. In his fourth line, Benvolio follows by saying, 'for now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.' Italian summer afternoons are quite hot, and it is sensible to retire to the shade or even indoors, so that is why the ever cautious Benvolio, is trying to recommend this to Mercutio. ...read more.

Middle

This is effective because we know that Tybalt is getting angrier as Romeo resists fighting him and we know that they will end up fighting whether Romeo defends himself or not. When Romeo says 'good Capulet, which name I tender as dearly as mine own, be satisfied', Tybalt and Romeo's friends are shocked and puzzled because they do not know why Romeo suddenly values Tybalt's name as much as his own. It is foolish of Romeo to think that Tybalt will be satisfied as it just makes him more bloodthirsty. This is dramatically effective because it again shows irony and creates tension as it leaves us thinking how long can Romeo's short temper last before he gives up and fights Tybalt? Mercutio is appalled at Romeo and is humiliated by him because he is seen to be acting like a coward: 'O calm, dishonourable, vile submission'. The major word her is 'dishonourable'. Romeo is not acting like a respectable man. Consequently, Mercutio feels it is his duty to defend his friend's 'honour' and confronts Tybalt instead. Here Shakespeare shows us the seriousness of the situation, how aggravated and impatient Tybalt is becoming and the extent of Mercutio's loyalty to his friend Romeo. ...read more.

Conclusion

But Tybalt 'slew' Mercutio so surely Tybalt should not have lived? Lady Capulet is just being biased. Shakespeare makes this part of the scene dramatically effective because from line 136 onwards, the characters speak in rhyming couplets to add rhythm, interest and emotion to the end of the scene. The scene is nearly over as Lady Capulet and Old Mercutio battle it out over Romeo's future. Finally, the scene ends with the Prince's decision: Romeo's life will not be taken s he was provoked by the death of Mercutio. Instead he will be banished but will he ever see Juliet again? What will happen to their relationship? How will they cope apart? This concerning and dramatic scene leaves readers with many questions and eager to know what will happen next. Overall I think this is the most effectively dramatic scene in the play because it expresses a variety of emotions from Mercutio's witty comments to the excitement of the fights and also the sadness of the outcomes. The range of mood can go from high to low in a matter of lines and there is a strong atmosphere throughout. The dramatic irony used makes you feel part of the play itself and you do feel for the characters as though they were real. Stacey Wilding ...read more.

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