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How does Shakespeare make Romeo and Juliet dramatically interesting for the audience? Refer to the first act in detail.

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Introduction

Habib Saeed 11:26 Ms. Stott English GCSE Coursework 17/10/06 How does Shakespeare make Romeo and Juliet dramatically interesting for the audience? Refer to the first act in detail. Romeo and Juliet is a play which can be described and perceived in many ways but the plot and the core of the story has the ingredients of a tragedy. A tragedy in the sense that even though the play revolves around 'love', in the end, 'hate' prevails. Shakespeare manages to create drama throughout the play with many other factors such as, anger, romance, excitement, comedy and tension. Of course, I am only analysing the scenes in Act 1, but even so, there is drama in abundance for the audience to be enthralled. The prologue sets the story up perfectly summarising what the play is about and even how long it is, whilst the scenes which follow, all have different focal points such as the drama of scene one, the comedy of scene three and the love and romance of scene five. All of these scenes are dramatically interesting for the audience, through use of language, emphasis on the 'ancient grudge' and many other aspects. The prologue is at the beginning of the play and gives the audience the details of the plot, and reveals that there is going to be a tragic ending. The prologue is a sonnet. A sonnet is used for various reasons. It may set the scene for a film as it can usually help people to understand the storyline better. It also rhymes which gives a poetic aspect. The prologue lets us know that not only will the play be a story of love but it will also feature an essence of hate. At the beginning of the prologue, it sets the scene, it tells us 'In fair Verona where we lay our scene.' It then briefly describes the two families - the Capulet's and the Montague's. ...read more.

Middle

The people of that century respected and looked up to authority in Elizabethan times a prince that kept the order and there was a strict hierarchy of power and wealth which is shown in the play by the prince giving orders and stopping the feud between the two families. When the play was written in the Elizabethan times the culture of the people, was to get married very young which is shown by Romeos and Juliet age, Romeo was about sixteen and Juliet was fourteen, in our time the 21st century people don't get married until there in their twenties. If a modern day audience went to the theatre to watch this play it wouldn't be acceptable because in the play Sampson expresses his opinion about women, "Tis true and therefore women, being the weaker vessel, are ever thrust to the wall" A '21st century' audience would not agree with this because we are all equal and he refers to women as being the weaker sex which wouldn't be seen as acceptable in our times. In Act One, Scene Four Romeo, Mercutio, and Benvolio are on their way to a masked ball in Capulet's mansion. Benvolio has an invitation and is going to slip Romeo and Mercutio in. Romeo is still miserable; even though he knows Rosaline will be at the party and he will have a chance to see her. Mercutio tries to cheer up Romeo with an imaginary story about 'Queen Mab'. Shakespeare includes extremely interesting and dramatic characters in his play; one of these is Mercutio, who is Romeo's best friend and is lively, witty, daring and these characteristics keep the audience entertained, and interested in the play. He also is very changeable as we can see when he talks about 'Queen Mab', this particular speech adds to the dramatic quality of the play. He is always living his life on the edge and always looking for something new and exciting to do. ...read more.

Conclusion

Juliet, like Romeo, is surprised when she learns of her love's identity. The Nurse informs her that he is Romeo, the only son of the Montague family. Juliet is heart-broken that she loves a 'loathed enemy'. They are left in despair as they both realise the danger of their situation being from two enemy households, 'my only love sprung from my only hate'. Juliet says 'my grave is like to be my wedding bed' and the final rhyming couplet of the second sonnet ends with 'bitterest gall', both of these ominously link to their fate. This scene does make the audience tense because of the changes in mood and the tragic consequence at the end. In conclusion as well as the themes the language and styles used by Shakespeare that have an effect on the way that the audience thinks about the play, the depth of character that is created by Shakespeare is also very effective. That is when all of these things are put together they make 'Romeo and Juliet' such a complex plot and have the desired effect on the audience. Throughout Act 1 and probably the rest of the play, Shakespeare shows that love and hate are inextricably linked; where there is one, there is always the other. Consequently, love is presented in a negative way showing it as vicious and dangerous and even true love can result in something destructive as it is constantly mixed amid hatred. The amount of tension William Shakespeare can manipulate an audience into feeling is quite extraordinary, and proves once more why he is still being studied and performed four hundred years after his death. He was absolutely exceptional in the way he perfected the use of each technique. His most effective method, in my opinion, was that of dramatic irony followed closely by the use of oxymorons. All in all, I think Shakespeare builds up tension exceptionally well which makes the first act of the play emotional, exciting, funny, and ultimately a dramatically interesting story for the audience. 1 ...read more.

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