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How does Shakespeare prepare the audience for the ending of Romeo and Juliet

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare prepare the audience for the ending for Romeo and Juliet? Shakespeare prepares the audience for the ending of Romeo and Juliet in a number of a ways. His clever use of language and dramatic devices and structures help prepare the audience for what is to come. The prologue at the beginning is vital in setting the tone for the whole play, as the audience are told what is about to happen. 'From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,/ A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;' This quote from the prologue, in Romeo & Juliet, is said by the chorus, which evokes a feeling of tragedy as choruses were always associated with Tragedy's, ever since they were first used by Ancient Greeks. The quote also gives us the context of the play, the hatred and the disrespect the Capulet's and the Montague's have for each other. It also reveals the end of the play by telling us that both the lovers will die eventually. The prologue is also in sonnet form, which brings to mind the fact that the play is associated with love, and that this leads them to their death. At the time that Romeo & Juliet was written and performed, in the 16th century, the most popular genre of play was 'Revenger's Tragedy'. This genre is mainly about revenge, death and bloodshed. ...read more.

Middle

The fact that Shakespeare made the last words said between the lovers something tragic, and not about love, gives the audience a clue as to how the play will end. Immediately after Romeo leaves, Capulet tells Juliet about his plans for her to get married to Paris in two days. 'Is she not proud? Doth she not count her blessed,/ Proud can I never be of what I hate,' This argument between Capulet and Juliet is very important in the context of the play, as an argument between a parent and a child, especially the daughter, in the time that this was written was extremely controversial. In the 16th century, in the society that Romeo & Juliet is set in, the society was a patriarchal one that is all the children will adhere to all the decisions that their father makes. As Juliet is disagreeing with her father, and not doing as she is told, she is seen as a rebel, and very arrogant, but the audience know she is only acting this way because she is already married. This creates a sense of dramatic irony, which adds to the tension, and makes the audience sympathetic towards Juliet, while also making Juliet seem extremely vulnerable. After Juliet refuses Capulet's plans for her to get married, he loses his temper, and uses a lot of portentous language. ...read more.

Conclusion

'Well, Juliet, I will lie with thee tonight./ And this same needy man must sell it me.' Romeo says that he will make sure that he and Juliet will lie in the same tomb, and it will be on that night itself. He also says that to kill himself he will buy a very deadly poison, from an extremely poor chemist. The fact that Romeo doesn't receive Friar Lawrence's letter and is misinformed about Juliet's death, is when the audience can fathom out that nothing will work out, and the story will indeed end in the deaths of both Romeo and Juliet. This causes the audience to sympathise hugely with both of them, not wanting either of them to die, especially not suicide, as it can be seen as a weakness of their character. Shakespeare uses a variety of language, dramatic devices and structures to prepare the audience for the end of the play, and the prologue, being sung by the chorus is a big clue as to what is to happen at the end. Shakespeare adds phrases and words to add to the sense of foreboding, which gives away the ending a few times. Shakespeare still manages to keep his audience gripped into the play until the last moment, as they want Romeo and Juliet to survive and have a happy ending, but right from the beginning, the prologue, we know that it all ends in tragedy. Word Count: 2,268 ...read more.

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