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How does Shakespeare turn the scene from its light-hearted beginning to the tragedy that unfolds at the end of the scene

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare turn the scene from its light-hearted beginning to the tragedy that unfolds at the end of the scene? Shakespearean plays are typically two types of genre - a comedy or a tragedy. These conventions are usually separated in each play. However, Romeo and Juliet has aspects of both comedy and tragedy. Both of these aspects are shown in Act 3 Scene 1, which can be seen to be one of the most decisive scenes in the entire play, as it reflects the play as a whole. At first glance, Romeo and Juliet looks like a basic tragedy, however throughout the play; there are elements that depict hints of a comedy as well. Act 3 Scene 1 contains both of these fundamentals. This scene begins with some jocular comedy, but ends in tragedy and two deaths, which reflects the play as a whole. In the previous act, Romeo and Juliet have just wed, although this is a joyous moment in the play, it marks a grave turning point, of which much pain and suffering will develop from. ...read more.

Middle

Hot symbolises anger and rage, which hints to the audience that something may heat up. In addition, the smartest of the audience will realise that after every peak of happiness i.e. the marriage, an event is needed to bring the mood back down to its normal level. Things begin to develop when Romeo refuses to fight Tybalt and neutral Mercutio provokes Tybalt to fight him instead. He uses taunts like "And but one word with one of us? Why not couple it and make it a word and a blow" which during Shakespearean times would have been considered dishonourable, and therefore the culprit must pay. Tybalt still refuses to fight Mercutio and once more returns to challenge Romeo - "This shall not excuse the injuries that thou hast done me, therefore turn and draw!" Again, the dramatic irony means that we know why Romeo does not want to fight, however this leaves Tybalt in the dark. ...read more.

Conclusion

This change of heart from Romeo reflects how the play itself is pivoting. It is changing from something that started out as a bit of fun, but ends in heartbreak. Romeo knew that he did not have to fight Tybalt - "This day's black fate on more days doth depend, this but begins the woe others must end" yet when he kills a close friend, honour is brought back into the equation - "Staying for thine (Mercutio) to keep him company, either thou or I or both must go with him" Act 3 Scene 1 is the turning point of Romeo and Juliet. This scene turns the play as a whole from a lighthearted comedy to a tragedy, as it is this scene that decides each characters fate, and how it shall unravel. This scene can portray Romeo and Juliet - it starts happily yet ends with two deaths, as does the play itself. Mercutio's curse comes true "A plague on both your houses", and this - the pivotal scene in the play marks the end of all happiness for Romeo and for Juliet9. Robert Hanson THA ...read more.

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