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How does Shakespeare use imagery in his play Romeo and Juliet to intensify the drama create atmosphere and illuminate the central themes?

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Introduction

GCSE Coursework: Shakespeare - Romeo and Juliet How does Shakespeare use imagery in his play Romeo and Juliet to intensify the drama create atmosphere and illuminate the central themes? In Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet", Shakespeare uses imagery to create atmosphere, intensify drama and illuminate central themes. By using a variety of metaphors, dramatic irony, figurative language and by exploiting poetic forms, he conveys meaning and character excellently. He incorporates all of these dramatic devices to convey the plot and reveal those things that were Elizabethan concerns. In act 1, scene 5, Shakespeare uses a vast range of imagery to convey the meaning. Throughout this scene there is a very religious image coming across. Romeo talks of Juliet as if she is holy, as if he sees her as the Virgin Mary. Catholicism was illegal at this time and religion was an Elizabethan preoccupation, so suggestions that Juliet was like the Virgin Mary was not sacrilegious. Shakespeare uses metaphors to show this: "this holy shrine." Shakespeare uses this to show Juliet's beauty and to show Romeo's admiration for her. He also uses effective personification, "patience perforce" to show the hatred of the two households as a person. The feud between the two families is a major issue in this scene and in the whole play. ...read more.

Middle

He also uses a simile to compare what Friar Lawrence is saying to something the audience can relate to. "Heckled darkness like a drunkard reels". Shakespeare uses oxymoronic language to show that the plants symbolise love. As mentioned before some plants contain medicine while others contain poison just as love can bring happiness and sadness. This can be linked to the prologue, as we know Romeo's love will eventually kill him. Shakespeare compares these to Romeo's life and death. He uses metaphors to carry on this image of Romeo and the plants. "Nature's mother is her tomb." Shakespeare heightens the dramatic impact in this scene by foreshadowing the conclusion between Romeo and Juliet being helped by the potion given to Juliet by Friar Lawrence and Romeo then thinking she is dead later on in the play. He also does this by Juliet first drinking the sleeping draught and then trying to drink from Romeo's poison bottle, and again by Juliet drinking the draught, which is designed to help her and Romeo drinking the poison, designed to kill him. The scene is also emotionally intense as this scene begins the tragic sequences, the couple are desperate, and only friar Lawrence can help them. In addition, Romeo says that he is willing to take his own life for Juliet. ...read more.

Conclusion

This also illuminates the love theme. In this scene, Juliet changes a great deal. In the first act, she is portrayed as an obedient child, but in this scene, she defies her father's wishes to marry Paris and does not tell them of her relationship with Romeo, and the fact she has lost her virginity. Capulet shout to Juliet "out you baggage". In Shakespearean times, this would be calling someone a whore or a hussy. This is further irony because Capulet shouldn't know that Juliet had lost her virginity. This creates a violent atmosphere. Act 5, scene 3, is the final scene where Romeo and Juliet take their own lives. In this scene, Shakespeare uses a metaphor to, again show the journey image. It was popular in Elizabethan times to talk about ships and journeys and Shakespeare uses this to describe life. "The dashing rocks they sea-sick weary bark." Shakespeare does this to compare Romeo and Juliet's relationship to something the audience can relate with. This also builds up the suspense before they take their own lives. These points show how Shakespeare masters the use of figurative language and how his use of imagery intensifies the drama, creates atmosphere and illuminates the central theme. He masters the use of imagery and manages to tie it in with Elizabethan obsession. His use of figurative language conveys character and plots faultlessly and grips the audience at all times. Luke Beadle 11SDI ...read more.

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