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How does Shakespeare make Act 3 scene 1 of the play, Romeo and Juliet full of tension and excitement for a modern audience and an Elizabethan audience?

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Introduction

GCSE Coursework Task on "Romeo and Juliet" How does Shakespeare make Act 3 scene 1 of the play, "Romeo and Juliet" full of tension and excitement for a modern audience and an Elizabethan audience? Act 3, scene 1 of "Romeo and Juliet" is one of the most exciting scenes of Shakespeare's famous Elizabethan play, which today is still incredibly popular amongst our modern audience. The scene is renowned for being exciting because of the conflict which occurs between some of the characters, and because of the extensive use of dramatic irony. This is also an important scene as the play changes within it from a comedy, into a tragedy. In the scene, Benvolio tries to persuade Mercutio that it's best to stay away from the Capulets and to avoid any quarrels, but as Tybalt appears, looking for Romeo, Mercutio challenges him to a fight. However, before the battle begins, Romeo appears and Tybalt attempts to challenge him, but Romeo refuses confessing his love for Tybalt. Mercutio, believing Romeo is frightened, steps in to fight Tybalt, and as Romeo attempts to stop the fight, Tybalt wounds Mercutio leading to his death, and runs away. Romeo then feels ashamed for not battling Tybalt himself, and when Tybalt returns, Romeo kills him. When Benvolio finally gets Romeo to leave the scene; The Prince, Montague, Capulet and their wives appear and are shocked to find Tybalt and Mercutio dead. Benvolio tells them Romeo killed both Mercutio and Tybalt, and the Prince decides to exile Romeo, threatening that if he returns, he will be killed. Dramatic irony occurs in fiction or drama, when the audience knows more about the true state of affairs than the characters do. Some of the most famous and powerful uses of dramatic irony occur when associated with tragedy. It can emphasise how limited human understanding is, and can show how terrible the consequences are of not understanding the situation. ...read more.

Middle

A plague o' both your houses! 'Zounds, a dog, a rat, a cat, to scratch a man to death! A braggart, a rogue, a villain, that fights by the book of arithmetic! Why the devil you came between us? I was hurt under your arm". Mercutio uses the pun "ask for me to-morrow, and you shall find me a grave man" to display a brief glimpse of humour before he died, as it could either mean you would find him a serious man, or a dead man. After he states this pun however, his character becomes serious as he curses both the Montagues and the Capulets, by saying; "A plague o' both your houses!". This is important, as Mercutio's curse stays with both the families, leading to the fatal end of Romeo and Juliet. Mercutio also accuses Romeo for his death, when he says "Why the devil you came between us? I was hurt under your arm". He uses the word "devil", which has connotations of evil, death and hatred. This can be connected to Mercutio dying and putting the curse onto the families. Earlier on in the play, we find out that Mercutio is bitter about love and dreams. He appears to find them delusional and destructive, and this is shown in act 1, scene 5, when Mercutio says; "O then I see Queen Mab hath been with you: She is the fairies' midwife, and she comes in no shape bigger than an agate-stone, on the forefinger of an alderman, drawn with a team of little atomi, athwart men's noses as they lie asleep". In this quote, Mercutio is telling Romeo that he shouldn't take notice of his dreams. He refers to Queen Mab, who is supposedly a fairy who drives her chariot across the faces of sleeping people and compels them to experience dreams of wish-fulfilment. Mercutio then also goes on to say; "True, I talk of dreams, Which are the children of an idle brain, Begot of nothing but vain fantasy, ...read more.

Conclusion

The actor should almost sigh when they say the line "Therefore farewell; I see thou know'st me not". He/she should also look directly into the eyes of the actor he or she is speaking to, then look away and almost wave, with a shrug, after saying the word "none". Benvolio says the quote; "Romeo, away, be gone! The citizens are up, and Tybalt slain. Stand not amazed: the prince will doom thee death, If thou art taken: hence, be gone, away!" A director would inform the actor playing Benvolio to at first be on his knees, at Tybalt's side, as if he has just examined the body. As he is kneeling, he should be gesturing with his hands for Romeo to flee, then eventually should get up, when saying the lines "hence, be gone, away!" and attempt to push Romeo away from the scene. The actor should say the words at a fast pace, almost shouting and in a panicked manner. Act 3 scene 1 of "Romeo and Juliet" would still be exciting for an audience during our modern era, as although the play was written a long time ago, the meaning behind the language used and the effect of involving dramatic irony, would still make the play as thrilling, exciting and as intense as it was during the Elizabethan era. This is shown as Baz Luhramm managed to create a version of "Romeo and Juliet" which appealed to our modern audience. He set the play in modern day America, but did not alter Shakespeare's script, still using the old English which was spoken back in the Elizabethan era. This helps the play to relate to a modern day audience, yet it does not lose the magic of the meaning behind Shakespeare's complex quotes. Baz Luhramm made act 3, scene 1 more thrilling by changing the swords involved in the scene, to guns. This helps to make the scene more intense, as a gun can be more lethal than a sword. ...read more.

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