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In Romeo and Juliet account for the changes that take place in the character of Romeo through the course of the play. Explore the use of language and staging in your answer.

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Introduction

Raphael Ibrahim 10TS 14th December 2003 'Romeo and Juliet' Coursework In Romeo and Juliet account for the changes that take place in the character of Romeo through the course of the play. Explore the use of language and staging in your answer. In this essay I will examine how Romeo changes from a childish, petulant boy into a mature, grown-up young man. I will look, in detail at how Romeo's character changes from the beginning of the play where we see him in an immature mood, to the stage where he has matured and then to the point of the play where he regresses back to his despondent and hysterical mentality, but by the end he is a more sincere and honest character I will analyse the use of language, plot and character. William Shakespeare wrote 'Romeo and Juliet' in 1595. His inspiration for this play came from a poem written by Arthur Brooke called 'The tragical history of Romeus and Juliet'. Shakespeare followed the theme of his poem closely, however, in Brookes version the chain of events were spread out across two months, but Shakespeare whittled this down to just 5 days to add to the dramatic theme of the play. Moreover, Shakespeare used bawdy and explicit language in contrast to the subtler use in Brooke's version, which would have excited an Elizabethan audience. Also, in Shakespeare's version Juliet is 13 as opposed to being 16 in Brooke's poem thus creating a younger girl who is hastily exposed to love. The language in 'Romeo and Juliet' is the most powerful aspect of the play altogether. In the play, characters use it very dramatically by cursing, vowing oaths and referring to fate. An example of this is when Mercutio is dying and says 'a plague o both houses'. He says this 3 times before he dies. It means that his death will be a plague on both the Montague and the Capulet houses. ...read more.

Middle

Now that these two are dead, Benvolio (also a dramatic device used by Shakespeare to dampen the hostility between Mercutio and Tybalt) is no longer needed in the play. It's Monday Afternoon at the beginning of Act 3 Scene 3. At this stage in the play Romeo Has regressed back to his juvenile and adolescent emotional state. He is hopeless, over-dramatic and petulant and his language is full of oxymorons. The Friar sees this and says '...I see that madmen have no ears. Romeo sees banishment from Verona and therefore Juliet, worse than death. But the Friar Lawrence is optimistic and tries to explain to Romeo that banishment rather than death can only be a good thing '.... this is dear mercy, and thou seest it not'. Characters in the play like Tybalt, Friar Lawrence, Nurse, Lady Capulet etc, don't understand the conu a man?' (Is he going to be a man and be sensible?), and then tells him that he should be happy because Juliet is alive, Tybalt who wanted to kill him is out the way and he has escaped death with banishment- '.... what rouse thee man, thy Juliet is alive.... Tybalt would kill thee, but thou slew'st Tybalt.... The law that threaten'd death becomes thy friend....'. Somewhat content, with Friar Lawrence's logical view on things and agreeing to his plan that now he should be with Juliet to consummate their marriage, Romeo heads off to Juliet not before the nurse has given him a ring. On Monday night at the start of Act 3 scene 5, Romeo and Juliet have consummated their marriage and the sun is coming up. Romeo says '....streaks do lace the severing cloud in yonder East....I must be gone and live, or stay and die'. But Juliet says '....stay yet, thou needs not be gone'. In this instance Romeo is being practical and Juliet is being unreasonable. ...read more.

Conclusion

In Romeo's final speech he says 'O my love, my wife, Death upon that hath suck'd the honey of thy breath, Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty'. Here he is saying that although she is dead (or so he supposes) she is still beautiful. He also says 'Tybalt....forgive me cousin'. He is obviously asking Tybalt to forgive him so that he has a clear conscience before killing himself and being judged by God. And more significantly he says 'thou desperate pilot , now at once run on the clashing rocks, thy sea-sick weary bark....'. Here he is likening his life to a sinking ship and himself to a captain who is in an impossible position. From this we can determine that Romeo recognises that fate is controlling his life and his destiny. At this point in the play Romeo would be feeling extreme emotional distress. To be critical you could say that he was behaving irrationally, hysterically and petulantly. However, these maybe the side-effects of the feelings he has for Juliet which are so strong that he is willing to kill himself so he can be with her in heaven. At the beginning of the play, we see a dejected, miserable and despondent Romeo. This is due to his superficial, unrequited and shallow love for a woman named Rosaline. By the end of the play ( a mere 5 days later), Romeo has matured and become more adult-like due to the love he experienced for Juliet. However, he is still hasty, rushed and frantic in his actions, he does not think things through or resolve to be patient at many points in the play, which, conclude in his eventual death. I thoroughly enjoyed studying the play, it was an excellent example of Shakespeare's talent with regards to designing an incredible plot and keeping the reader/audience interested and excited throughout, despite making the next phase of the play inevitable at times. I ...read more.

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