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How does Shakespeare use dramatic devices in Act 3 Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet in order to make it such an interesting and important scene.

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare use dramatic devices in Act 3 Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet in order to make it such an interesting, exciting and important scene? Romeo and Juliet is the classic love story written by the infamous William Shakespeare, the Elizabethan playwright. It is set in Verona in the early 16th century and tells the story of two households- the Montagues and Capulets, who are equally alike in power, wealth, social status and dignity, as said in the prologue ‘two households, both alike in dignity’. The youngest generation of the two households break into mutiny because of the hatred of the previous generations (‘from ancient grudge break to mutiny’). These endless feuds cause destruction and death to the streets of Verona (‘civil blood makes civil hands unclean’). However, two young and naïve members of the opposing households; Romeo, son of Lord and Lady Montague, and Juliet, daughter of Lord and Lady Capulet become entwined in a dangerous love rollercoaster, which was to be obstructed by their parents as the cold war of rivalry between the two households continued. This play however does not fit into the genre of romance, but tragedy as although Romeo and Juliet are ‘a pair of star-crossed lovers’, fate had planned events far from the fairy-tale happy ending for the both of them, a fact the audience have known since the prologue of the play- ‘star-crossed lovers take their life.’ Not only do the two main protagonists die an untimely death, but there are also many other deaths throughout the play, including that of Tybalt’s and Mercutio’s. Other tragic elements of the play include the fact that the two lovers cannot be united because of the brawls of the two families and that the only way to ...read more.

Middle

Tybalt then insults Mercutio by saying- ?thou art consortest with Romeo?? implying that he is homosexual and referring to his sexuality with Romeo. Mercutio reacts infuriated and weapons are then drawn and it seems that a fourth public brawl will be inescapable. Benvolio then steps in, urging them to go to ?some private place?, reminding both parties about the Prince?s warnings in Act 1 Scene 1- ?If ever you disturb our streets again, your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace?. However, his words of wisdom seemingly fell into deaf ears as Mercutio and Tybalt continued with their contention. Soon after this Romeo arrives at the fray, and is approached by Tybalt, whom he refuses to fight when challenged. Romeo attempts to explain that he could not fight Tybalt, as he had reasons to love him that greatly outweighed the reasons to hate him- reasons that he could not yet reveal to the play?s other protagonists (?but love thee better than thou canst devise, till thou shalt know the reason of my love; and so good Capulet??). Shakespeare creates dramatic irony (the audience having greater knowledge of the events of the play than the characters), with these few lines, as the audience of the play know the reason for Romeo?s love is his marriage to Juliet- Tybalt?s cousin. Dramatic irony is an effective technique to be used by Shakespeare in this scene as it makes the audience anxious to know if their interpretation of Romeo?s dialogue matches that of the characters on stage. Romeo would be a fool to get into a fight with his cousin-in-law, so backs down, a gesture which is seen as mature and noble by the audience but perceived as cowardly and weak by the characters in the scene- especially Mercutio. ...read more.

Conclusion

I think that this scene is very important in the context of Romeo and Juliet as it is the pivotal point in the play. It helps the audience to understand how important Mercutio was to Romeo, if it wasn?t for their friendship being as strong as it proved to be then Romeo would not have acted in the way he did and slain Tybalt. It also shows us a completely new side to Romeo, a character whom prior to this scene had been perceived as a plain and dull character, but now he seems like an emotionally complex character that is governed by his feelings and is prone to acting impulsively. Which explains why he killed Tybalt, his newly bonded in law, Romeo was blinded by the fury and murdered him in revenge for his best friend, without even considering the impact it would have on his relationship with his newly wed Juliet. Two main protagonists are killed off by Shakespeare in this scene; and it seems that these characters were destined to die for the plot to unravel. Shakespeare contrasts this scene to the mood of the previous scene (Act 2 Scene 6), which had a romantic, relaxed and generally atmosphere. Act 3 Scene 1 was written by Shakespeare and put directly in front of this scene in order to shock the audience and have their attention for the remainder of the play. Shakespeare successfully used a range of dramatic techniques in this scene and had the audience in his grasp throughout the entire scene. In my opinion I think that Act 3 Scene 1 is by far the best scene in Romeo and Juliet because it was unexpected and managed to shock the audience, it leaves everyone asking the same question- what does all this mean for Romeo and Juliet? ...read more.

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