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In what ways does Shakespeare in Act 1 Scene 1 introduce dramatic tension and some of the key themes In Romeo and Juliet?

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Introduction

In what ways does Shakespeare in Act 1 Scene 1 introduce dramatic tension and some of the key themes In Romeo and Juliet? Romeo and Juliet was written in 1599 by William Shakespeare. The basic plot of Romeo and Juliet was not an original idea, but retold in a new and interesting way by Shakespeare. The key themes in Romeo and Juliet are love, hate, disorder, death and time. In Shakespeare's time women were not treated as equals to men. They were treated as property and their belongings were considered their husband's. Lower classes in Shakespeare's lived in awful conditions and sneered at by the higher classes. Shakespeare uses this to his advantage in his play because his male characters show high disregard for the opposite sex and for lower classes in society. Shakespeare's use of a prologue is extremely effective in the setting the scene for the rest of the play. He creates dramatic irony and tension by talking to the audience "In fair Verona (where we lay our scene)". This phrase tells the audience where the story is set and makes the audience feel involved in only one line. ...read more.

Middle

This presents a problem for Abram because if he retaliates, he risks arrest and if he ignores the insult, it shows cowardice and makes it look like he is failing his family. An aside is used between Gregory and Sampson which shows their concern about starting a fight. Sampson asks Gregory if it is wise to start a fight and Gregory warns him not to. Ignoring Gregory's advice, Sampson continues to taunt Abram. When Abram asks Sampson if he bit his thumb at him, Sampson replies, "No, sir, I do not bit my thumb at you, sir. But I do bite my thumb." When Benvolio enters, the men begin to fight. Benvolio is the cousin of Romeo and a member of the Montague family. The first impressions of Benvolio are that he is quite intelligent. He knows better than to start a fight in public because it would have bad consequences for both families. He shouts "Part, fools!" to break up the fight and Tybalt enters, the cousin of Juliet. Tybalt's character juxtaposes with Benvolio's, because Benvolio believes in keeping the peace, whereas Tybalt only thinks about killing his enemies and is full of hate. ...read more.

Conclusion

Shakespeare uses stage directions to raise tension in the play. The Elizabethan audience would have thought that sword fights were exciting and tense so the fight itself adds action and excitement to the whole play, and emphasises the hatred between the two families. Shakespeare uses side directions to cue the actors on their actions. The 'aside' direction means that the character speaks to a partner or the audience on his own, which causes the feeling of dramatic irony where the audience feel that they know more than some of the characters. To cue the fight, Shakespeare uses the direction 'They fight'. The lack of detail in the direction shows that the actors are supposed to improvise on the fighting which gives the scene a feeling of authenticity. The fight introduces the theme of violence to the play. The key themes introduced in the first scene are disorder and love. Because the themes are introduced early in the play, the audience know that the themes will be viewed in more detail throughout the play. The themes set the whole tone of the play to let the audience know what type of play Romeo and Juliet is. The fact that they know this increases the effect of dramatic irony because they know what is happening and that the outcome will involve love, hate, disorder and time. ?? ?? ?? ?? James Hastings 10F ...read more.

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