• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How far does Act 1 prepare the audience for the drama to come?

Extracts from this document...


How far does Act 1 prepare the audience for the drama to come? Shakespeare has written a tragedy, hoping to prepare the audience for the events that are to come. This is mainly done in Act One, as he uses this to introduce the main characters (not including Friar Lawrence), and the type of people they are. He also introduces essential themes, like the fighting between the two households, and the important role that love plays. However, even though Shakespeare has prepared the audience for what is to come, he has not said how, and therefore the audience are still in suspense as to why the whole episode occurred. The first thing that the audience are presented with is the prologue, or the chorus. This conjures up many thoughts and themes, as it is used to comment on the events of the play. Shakespeare uses a technique called dramatic irony, which means that the audience already know what is going to happen before it actually takes place. Therefore, the dramatic function of the chorus is to inform the audience of the outcome. Many images are presented in this. The first two lines immediately set the scene. The quote "two households" automatically tells the audience that there are two different families involved in the play. It then goes on to say "both alike in dignity", telling the audience that both families must be quite high standing and worthy. "In fair Verona" in Italy is where the play is set. This is probably because the Italian community were known to be very arrogant, fitting in with the theme of fighting and dignity. Also, if the play was set in England then the English community may have been offended, and therefore the play would not have been as successful as it was. The audience then discover a little more about the play as, they know that is an ongoing feud, or an "ancient grudge" between the two families. ...read more.


This already brings some confusion to the play, as the audience should have already noticed that Romeo and Juliet are destined to be together. Therefore Paris is a potential threat to Romeo, and the audience can make more predictions as to what future events make occur. Plus, Lord Capulet talks of his other children like the "earth hath swallowed all my hopes", implying that Juliet is his last chance to show his success through his children. Then the first reference of the ball is made when Lord Capulet asks Peter, a servant, to find all the people "Whose names are written" on the invitation, and to ask them to attend the ball. Coincidentally, Peter cannot read so therefore goes out searching for help, bumping into Benvolio and Romeo. Peter then asks Romeo to read for him- "I pray can you read anything you see". Romeo and Benvolio then find out about the ball, and that Romeo's love, "fair niece Rosaline", will be attending too. This is the first time Rosaline's name is mentioned, and the audience can see that Romeo is already at risk for being with Rosaline, as she is the niece of Lord Capulet. In the rest of this scene Benvolio persuades Romeo to go to the ball, and see other "beauties of Verona". He also says that he will make "thy swan", Rosaline, look like "a crow". Romeo is reluctant at first, but then agrees to go along- "I'll go along"- not thinking about the risk he is taking by going to an enemy's ball. In this scene the audience are prepared for Romeo's first sight of Juliet, because Benvolio's remarks create a sense of anticipation-"Compare her face with some that I will show". The quote "...some other maid That I will show you shining at this feast" shows the future, because when Romeo gets to the ball, a girl does stand out above every other one, and it is not Rosaline. ...read more.


Unfortunately, the perfect meeting of the two lovers disintegrates once Romeo discovers that Juliet is a Capulet. When Romeo says, "Is she a Capulet", he is talking to himself, as he has just realised that his life is his "foe's debt". Juliet also discovers the truth from the nurse- "His name is Romeo, and a Montague". Now Juliet knows Romeo is the "son of your great enemy", the Montague's, Juliet feels the same as Romeo- "only love sprung from my only hate". Juliet then makes a very important statement- "Too early seen unknown, and known too late". By this Juliet means that before she knew Romeo was a Montague, she fell madly in love with him. Now, that she knows who it is, it is already too late, as she has already is in love with "a loathed enemy". This reflects the importance of names and secrecy, as Juliet is not allowed to tell anyone, apart from her nurse, that she loves an enemy. This adds tension to the surroundings, and prepares the audience for the drama to come, as they now know how much in love Romeo and Juliet are. In conclusion, it is obvious that Shakespeare has used Act One to prepare the audience for the drama to come. He has used it as a crescendo, so the events are being built up as time goes by. There is also a lot of dramatic irony, which in this case is very effective. The audience know what is going to happen, but not how it is going to happen, leaving them in suspense. Therefore Act One also develops some of the mysteries that were mentioned in the Chorus. Act One also ends on a cliffhanger, as the lovers have just met, and nothing drastic has happened, so the audience are still left in suspense. Shakespeare has used a very interesting technique, because the preparation in Act One has made the rest of the play much more effective. Over all, Romeo and Juliet was a successful play due to the abstract and dramatic techniques that Shakespeare used. 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Romeo and Juliet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Romeo and Juliet essays

  1. Discuss the role of the Nurse in 'Romeo and Juliet'. You may wish to ...

    (Act 2, scene 4, L171) In Act 2, scene 5, Juliet awaits the Nurse's return with news of her marriage to Romeo. In this scene Juliet proves very fond of the Nurse by using sweet names for her; 'O honey Nurse.'

  2. Analyse the dramatic function of Benvolio and Mercutio in the play 'Romeo and Juliet'

    This cynical personality is another function of Mercutio, as it allows his perception and understanding of love to sharply contrast that of Romeo's. Mercutio uses coarse physical imagery and sexual jokes when he describes love and women (as he views women as solely a physical pursuit)

  1. How does Shakespeare show conflict, violence and build tension in act 1 scene 1 ...

    underlying tension is caused as to what the reaction will be of the person he is mocking. In act 3 scene 1 Mercutio says '... make it a word and a blow' as well as the sense that he is provoking Tybalt to fight, Mercutio has used a pun which

  2. Examine how Shakespeare uses language in the Prologue, Act One Scene One and Act ...

    to see how the antagonism will affect their relationship and will create destruction in their path towards the future. Not only do we learn from the Prince that "three civil brawls, bred of an airy word" have taken place, but we also learn that the fighting has involved the "ancient citizens" of Verona.

  1. At the end of act II, Romeo and Juliet are married and unaware of ...

    Nowadays, most people do not have much time for the theory of fate. They like to believe that they are in control of their own destiny, and that any difficulties arising from their actions can be sorted out. But what if all our actions are already planned out, and no

  2. How Does Shakespeare Introduce the Theme Of Destiny In Act 1 Of "Romeo and ...

    By informing the audience of what the plot will entail, Shakespeare cleverly uses the prologue as a useful structural device to dramatically introduce the theme of destiny. The audience know that Romeo and Juliet will die and they can now follow the story through with this knowledge, taking note of destiny's hand in deciding the plot.

  1. In Luhrmann's version of Romeo and Juliet, the commencement of the Capulet Ball is ...

    In Luhrmann's version of Romeo and Juliet, the commencement of the Capulet Ball is marked with an impressive fireworks display. There is a great sense of excitement and a sense that something special is imminent. Both Romeo and Juliet are filmed separately in different locations but they are almost in

  2. How does the prologue and act one interest the audience and prepare Romeo and ...

    The comments, made by Sampson and Gregory about woman and their relationships with men are only good for one thing, sex! This is in spark contrast to the powerful love that is to happen between 'Romeo and Juliet'. We also see a great sense of loyalty between the servants of each house.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work