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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? Shakespeare introduces dramatic tension at the very beginning of the play in the prologue. This introductory verse is very important as it has to be quite powerful to keep the audience hooked and want to watch the rest of the play. The prologue is written in a Shakespearean sonnet, which is a fourteen line poem with ten syllables in each line and five of them stressed. All of this turns out to be rather effective as it gives the prologue a rhythm to it. It includes iambic pentameter which was very traditional and popular in those times as a love poem. This is also the very beginning introductory paragraph on love. Shakespeare then begins to tell us about the long feud between the Montague's and Capulet's, but not why it has started. This creates an effective atmosphere as the audience cannot judge either household or who is right in the feud so they stay open-minded throughout the play. Next he introduces both households, Montague's and Capulet's and then tells us about Romeo and Juliet. ...read more.

Middle

The impact that this has on the audience is that an Elizabethan audience would have understood the humour a great deal better unlike a modern day audience. For example, if the play was shown in a theatre today, probably not all the audience would understand "I will bite my thumb at them, which is a disgrace to them if they bare it". This is a Sampson making a rude gesture to Abram, which is not recognised nowadays. This is also due to the fact that humour has changed significantly since Shakespearean times in the 16th Century. There are many gestures made in the play, but a significant one is when Sampson bites his thumb at Abram. This builds up a substantial amount of dramatic tension as it is a key theme for fighting. During or before fighting there would also be gestures with swords acting as if they were stabbing each other. A gesture is a way of acting out the thoughts of the characters and giving the audience an insight into their mind. A different, but extremely important theme in the play is love. Love takes place throughout the entire play by all different characters. ...read more.

Conclusion

Overall the feud plays a crucial role and in the end it drives the only heirs of each household to commit suicide. Due to Romeo's and Juliet's death the feud ended. It took a very long time for it to finally be finished with, but once it had, each family understood the importance that it had as they each had a vital loss which was their children. The audience still would not have known about how the feud had begun, even at the very end of the play as it was never discussed. This means that they still will not be able to judge the Montague's or Capulet's. Overall Shakespeare introduced dramatic tension through many different themes beginning from Act 1 Scene 1. This was one of the most important roles of the play as each key theme was introduced and would be expanded on later in the play. If these themes were not introduced to the play as early as they were, then they might not have been as effective as they turned out to be. In my opinion, the play became incredibly tense and effective with all themes building up to the final catastrophic scene of Romeo's and Juliet's death. ...read more.

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