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How effectively does Shakespeare create excitement, romance, tension and danger in Act 1, scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet? How does this scene prepare the audience for the tragic events later on in the play?

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Introduction

How effectively does Shakespeare create excitement, romance, tension and danger in Act 1, scene 5 of 'Romeo and Juliet?' How does this scene prepare the audience for the tragic events later on in the play? The fundamental story, of two young lovers from conflicting families in Italy, had been popular for hundreds of years before Shakespeare wrote the play, in the 1590s. However what makes 'Romeo and Juliet' so renowned is the way in which Shakespeare tells the story. By skilfully using language and stagecraft Shakespeare guides the audience to the tragic ending that awaits Romeo and Juliet. In Act 1, Scene 5 of the play, Shakespeare combines the themes of tension, romance, excitement and danger to dramatise the moment when Romeo and Juliet meet and to introduce the consequences of their fatal love for each other. At the beginning of Act 1, Scene 5 preparations are taking place for a party at Lord Capulet's home. However the servants are discussing the arrangements for their own evening and how they have saved some of their master's food for themselves: 'Good thou, save me a piece of marchpane'. This creates an exciting atmosphere because their actions are quite mischievous. The servants have also invited some guests of there own, which have comical names: 'let the porter in Susan Grindstone and Nell.' ...read more.

Middle

Romeo describes Juliet's hand as a shrine: 'If I profane with my unworthiest hand, this holy shrine, the gentle sin is this, my lips two blushing pilgrims, ready stand, to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.' Shakespeare's use of religious terminology illustrates the fact that Romeo doesn't just love Juliet, he worships her. Also, like a pilgrim, Romeo travels to Juliet and goes through hardships to be with her; therefore this introduces the idea that they will have difficult times. Shakespeare uses the theme of religion a lot throughout 'Romeo and Juliet'. The reason for this is that, in the 1590s religion was extremely important and if Romeo and Juliet had not got married the audience would have thought it was disgraceful. Various themes and ideas are introduced in the prologue and are developed during Act 1, Scene 5. Shakespeare skilfully expands and intertwines the themes of fate, love, tension and danger to prepare the audience for the tragic events later on in the play. Tybalt is used to add danger and tension to Act 1, Scene 5 to preparing the audience for the death of Romeo and Juliet. Tybalt's impulsive and spontaneous behaviour is a great contrast to Capulet. ...read more.

Conclusion

It was the only way that their love could stay so strong and perfect. The intensity of their love couldn't last forever because the passion they had wouldn't have meant as much if Shakespeare had lengthened their brief time together. Therefore the strength of their love in itself is an indication that their ending wouldn't be joyful and that they couldn't end up alive, together. The strength of their love is what ultimately ended the feud of the Capulet's and Montague's. In Act 1, Scene 5 Shakespeare introduces key themes and develops them to prepare the audience for the tragic events at the end of the play. The way in which the themes of romance and excitement are finely intertwined with the themes of tension and danger makes the audience aware that something bad will happen because of Romeo and Juliet's un-breakable love. Additionally, in human nature and in most situations in life, there is generally more than one emotion involved. That is ultimately why Shakespeare uses the contrasting themes of excitement, romance, tension and danger to show the complexity of what Romeo, Juliet and their families were going through. To achieve this, Shakespeare merges the key themes into the personalities of all the characters. By doing this, Shakespeare sets the themes subtly and skilfully and this makes the overall play of 'Romeo and Juliet' one of the most renowned pieces of literature ever written. ...read more.

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