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How significant is Act 3 Scene 1 in "Romeo andJuliet"?

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Romeo and Juliet Coursework How significant is Act 3 Scene 1 in "Romeo and Juliet"? This scene is important because it changes the play from being light hearted and comical to one of tragedy and sadness. The scene is centrally placed in the play. Shakespeare used this dramatic device to make the scene stand out. Also with the central placement, it allows itself to be a turning point in the play as a whole. It lends itself to shift the mood of the play from comical to tragedy. This scene is also a close re-enactment of Act 1 Scene 1. It seems as if the play is starting all over again but as a darker and more tragic play. The outset of the scene is light hearted and comical, this reflects the scenes before it in the play. Although there is an air of sarcasm and humour at the beginning, there is also an underlying tension beginning to fluster. Benvolio - " ... and if we meet we shall not scape a brawl, for now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring." (Lines 3-4) ...read more.


It is shown in this scene that love and hate cannot co-exist in peace. Mercutio ends up slain because of Romeo's peacekeeping act. Mercutio knows this is why he is going to die. He holds this against Romeo and quotes the following in his anger. Mercutio - "A plague a'both houses!" (Line 82) This quote from Mercutio is the point that I feel really turns the play to one of tragedy and sadness. It is a very serious and direct speech, which doesn't usually happen when Mercutio speaks. His usual playing with words is not evident here either. This is the beginning of the disruptive force in the scene. The liminal period has begun and we know that once the equilibrium in the play is restored it will never be the same because of the death of Mercutio and any more deaths that occur in the scene. With Mercutio dead, Romeo's feelings are in turmoil. In his rage he attacks Tybalt for what he has done to his best friend. Romeo - "...either thou or I, or both, must go with him" (Line 120) Romeo is prepared to risk his own life to kill Tybalt because of his actions towards Mercutio. ...read more.


The natural order in Elizabethan society was a very structured and ordered model for their society. Within each society there is a structure: Monarch Royal Family Nobles Courtiers Citizens The following quote is from "Certain Sermons" and was written at this time. "Where there is no right order ... there must needs follow all mischief and utter destruction" (Certain Sermons 1547) The prince in the play is a monarch. He is at the top of the ladder in the society. The Montagues and Capulets are nobles. They should follow his orders and rules. We can see that the quote has reflected what happened in the play. The disorder in the society has caused chaos; there have been two deaths and also the banishment of Romeo. After the banishment of Romeo the equilibrium in the scene is restored but is very different to the normal we knew before this scene. There have been 2 deaths and Romeo is now banished. The scene is the most active one in the play and is therefore the one that most people will remember in the play. This helps to make the scene significant because we can reflect on that scene after the conclusion to the play. We can then realise that this was the point that the themes of the play totally shifted. 2 1 ...read more.

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