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How does Shakespeare use language and other dramatic devices to create sympathy for Juliet in Act Three Scene Five?

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare use language and other dramatic devices to create sympathy for Juliet in Act Three Scene Five? Act 3 Scene 5 is an important turning point in 'Romeo and Juliet' as it is at that moment that we see the reason why Juliet is pushed to such extremes to convince her family that she has died which leads to the tragic ending. To make us feel sympathy with Juliet at this point, Shakespeare uses language and different dramatic devices such as soliloquy, equivocation and unintentional forecasting of the future for the lovers which the audience will pick up on but the characters do not. Shakespeare makes us feel sympathy for Juliet right from the beginning of the scene by displaying the perfect love between her and Romeo before breaking it apart. The contrast which we see between the elevated and flowing style of the lovers' discussion and the more discordant, broken lines from the Nurse and Lady Capulet conveys to us the reality of how beautiful their love was compared to life as it would be apart from each other. ...read more.

Middle

Although the audience would expect this equivocation to lead Juliet's parents to act rationally, Shakespeare uses Capulet's harsh and cruel language to further increase our sympathy for Juliet. His choice of words to describe Juliet are particularly callous, calling her 'unworthy', 'green sickness carrion', 'baggage' and 'tallow-face' amongst others. Even to an Elizabethan audience who may feel that Juliet should do what her father wants these words would seem a bit too strong, it would be very hurtful to be referred to as 'carrion' which conveys the image of rotting flesh which is a terrible way for a father to be speaking to his daughter. To call her 'baggage' is as well particularly of interest, especially to the modern audience, as it has associations with heaviness and objects which have to be carried around which are in the way. In this way it seems as if Capulet doesn't even want a daughter and this is backed up by the fact that he says he believes that he has 'one child too much'. It is interesting later on in the play then for the audience to see how suddenly Capulet's reactions change when he believes that his daughter has died. ...read more.

Conclusion

I think it is important that Shakespeare removes the Nurse as someone whom Juliet can turn to as it shows that she is really at her last resort once she goes to the Friar and we feel sorry for her as there is really nothing left that she can do. Another advantage of the soliloquy in helping us to empathise with Juliet is that it makes us feel like she is personally talking directly to us and entrusting us with her problems unlike she could do with her parents and the Nurse. This makes us feel individually responsible for her happiness and more worrying about what happens to her therefore increasing the sympathy which we have. In conclusion it is obvious that Shakespeare has purposefully used many dramatic and linguistic devices to increase our sympathy for Juliet in this scene. This could be for many reasons, for example to make her seem like 'the good character' again after going behind her parents back or to increase our empathy with her so that we can understand her grief in the final scene. ?? ?? ?? ?? Harriet Blair 11R ...read more.

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