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In What Ways Does Shakespeare Introduce Dramatic Tension and Some of the Key Themes in Romeo and Juliet?

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Introduction

In What Ways Does Shakespeare Introduce Dramatic Tension and Some of the Key Themes in Romeo and Juliet? William Shakespeare's, 'Romeo and Juliet', tells us the story of two feuding families, the Capulets and the Montagues; whose children fall in love with each other and eventually take their lives. The prologue is a brief description of the play. As the play was written in the 16th Century, a time when many people who attended the theatre were inattentive, they needed help with the context and meaning of the play; this is what the prologue is for. The prologue also makes the audience want to know what happened in between the beginning and ending; which they already know. Dramatic irony is introduced this way. The prologue has been written as a sonnet and has a formed rhyming scheme. Sonnets are usually about love and always have 14 lines. This is an appropriate style to write the prologue in as one of the main themes of the play is love versus hate. However, hate isn't appropriate, hence Shakespeare raises a question. Furthermore, the prologue is written in verse and iambic pentameter; this is where each line of a verse has 10 syllables. ...read more.

Middle

This adds a feeling of tension within the audience as we wonder and anticipate whether the characters are going to act upon their forever rising anger. Although conflict is an important theme, we never find out what the cause of what the true nature of the conflict is about. It seems that the conflict gives the families a purpose and the root of the argument has long been forgotten. The basis of the conflict is between the families, but those with a lower status; for example the servants, are the ones causing he brawls. The status of the characters is portrayed mainly through the style of language in which they speak; prose or verse. Prose usually involves humorous innuendos and everyday conversational language; 'the heads of the maids - or their maidenheads'. Whereas verse shows characters emotions and is often written using iambic pentameter. Servants and less important characters usually speak in prose. Main characters and those with high status; Prince, Capulet, Montague; usually speak in verse. Prince is a character of high status and this is reflected through his speeches. They use complex, controlled and structured language. ...read more.

Conclusion

Strike! Beat them down! Down with the Capulets! Down with the Montagues!'. Tybalts menace which creates dramatic tension is also shown through Act3Scene1 another confrontation of the Capulets and Montagues. This scene, Act3Scene1, has lots of punctuation which shows quick exchanges and increases the pace. There are many rhetorical questions which could show sarcasm, which would aggravate the other character. For example Merutio is purposefully trying to aggravate Tybalt; he does this by playing on his words, 'What, dost thou make us minstrels?', which is also an example of a rhetorical question. This definitely mounts tension within the audience, as they have already seen Tybalt to aggressive, and they wonder whether he is going to rise to Mercutios taunting. In conclusions, Shakespeare effectively introduces dramatic tension by changing timing and pace, style of writing and verse, to be appropriate to the mood. By giving the audience a pre-view, the prologue, of what is to come supports the building of the dramatic tension. The audience know that there will be a big climax at the end, everything during the play builds up to this final climax. Through the dramatic tension being built, it helps the key themes, love versus hate, conflict, fate, status and timing, to be fully explored. ...read more.

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