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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, use of figurative language and his explanation of poetic forms he conveys meaning and character excellently. He incorporates all of these dramatic devices and more to convey the plot and reveal those things that were Elizabethan concerns. Shakespeare starts the play with a prologue. This was very popular in Shakespeare's time and he uses a sonnet to imply love because it was established as a poetic form for love and devotional poetry. It's used to set the scene and describes what is going to happen. It describes Romeo and Juliet as "Star crossed lovers"; this shows the audience the play is going to be about romance but also despair and feuds and not being in control of one's own destiny. The sonnet shows Shakespeare's ability to distil the essence of language and draw the audience into the action. Using the sonnet Shakespeare achieves the 'suspension of disbelief', which shows his class as a writer because it highlights the theatricality of the play, to show the audience that the play is completely fictional. ...read more.

Middle

Shakespeare uses them to emphasis feeling. In using them he conveys Tybalt's anger for Romeo's intrusion, which shows the tension between the two families. In Act 2 scene 2, the religious imagery is continued. When Romeo is talking to Juliet on the balcony he is looking up at her. Shakespeare used this dramatic device to convey Juliet as a Godly figure, almost the Virgin Mary. This sustains the religious image. This is a very important scene and Shakespeare shows this by using celestial images, which reflects the Elizabethan obsession with the cosmos, this was also the case with astrology, which was a great interest in the Royal Courts. In this scene Juliet is seen as the sun, which is a life - giving entity. Romeo was previously spoken about in terms of illness and death. Before Romeo was said to "pen himself [in] artificial night", but he now looks up at Juliet in these celestial terms. He uses metaphors, "Juliet is the sun", and similies, "Her eyes are as bright as daylight" to keep up this image of the sun and heaven. This shows there is brightness and new hope in Romeo's life. He also uses personification to make Romeo's love for Juliet more accessible to the audience. "Arise fair sun and kill the envious moon". Using these methods Shakespeare also shows the audience that Romeo's mood has dramatically altered. Shakespeare creates a mystical atmosphere in this scene by using an alliterating S sound. ...read more.

Conclusion

The scene is also emotionally intense as this scene begins the tragic sequences and the couple are desperate and only Lawrence can help them. Also Romeo says that he is willing to take his own life for Juliet. In this scene we see another character change. Before, when Romeo was in love with Rosaline, he was unable to function, while now he is assertive and livelier. Lawrence observes this and warns Romeo: "They stumble that run fast." This is a metaphor and Shakespeare uses it to prefigure the ending. Their relationship has been fast and they got married only days after meeting each other and the prologue tells us that the relationship will end in tragedy. In Act 3, Scene 3, Romeo is banished for killing Tybalt. To Romeo this is worse than a death sentence as he cannot see Juliet. Shakespeare shows this by using a similie comparing Romeo's banishment with a death sentence. It is a euphemism for death as he will not be able to live without Juliet so he might as well be dead. "Thous cut'st my head off with a golden axe." He also uses personification to make Romeo's banishment look like a person for the audience thus drawing the audience to the action. "Howling attends it." Friar Lawrence says to Romeo: "Thou art wedded to calamity." This is both and a metaphor and it personifies calamity. Shakespeare uses it heighten the drama by prefiguring death and sustain the theme of Romeo and Juliet not being in control of their destinies being "Star crossed lovers. ...read more.

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The analysis in this essay is good, particularly the analysis of language. The title means that quite a lot has to be explored and perhaps a slightly more focused title may have enabled analysis to flow a little easier.

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Marked by teacher Laura Gater 06/06/2013

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