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In what ways is Act 3 Scene 1 a turning point the play and how does Shakespeare make it dramatic?

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Introduction

In what ways is Act 3 Scene 1 a turning point the play and how does Shakespeare make it dramatic? Act three Scene 1 shows us the results of intense feelings of family honour coupled with the negative emotions associated with a long running feud. This contrasts the previous scene of love and romace. The scene is set in the middle of the day where the sun, the temperature and levels of irritability are at their very highest. Tybalt (of the Capulet family), described rather aptly as 'fiery Tybalt', has issued a challenge to Romeo (of the Montague family) in retaliation to Romeos (as Tybalt sees it) insulting presence at a Capulet party. The scene is set in the stage directions as 'a public place' and described by Benvolio as a 'public haunt of men'. At the start of the scene only Mercutio, his page, Benvolio and other 'men' are present. Benvolio is keen to escape any fighting 'we shall not scape a brawl'/ Shakespeare gives Mercutio has a very provocative character and it always prepared to fight, he is constantly using witticisms and playing on words often to the effect of insulting someone else. ...read more.

Middle

This creates tension in the audiences mind. He then deliberately miss-interprets Tybalt's comments, so to make fun of them. Benvolio is against this, which causes tension between the three characters. The audience will have in the back of there minds the princes decree of death upon the next instance of fighting. When Romeo arrives Tybalt ends his 'conversation' with Mercutio by saying 'Peace be with you, sir, here comes my man'. The timing creates yet more tension as although it dies between Mercutio and Tybalt it is instantly recreated between Romeo and Tybalt. Romeo then makes it perfectly clear to Tybalt that he does not want to fight him as he is in love with Juliet, further defining the 'love/hate' theme of the play, and Mercutio has a re-opening window of opportunity as he will happily fight in Romeos place. He further insults him by referring to him as 'King of Cats'. The tension is then brought to an all time high when Tybalt draws his sword ready to fight. ...read more.

Conclusion

Throughout the play Shakespeare uses language to great effect: Mercutio's puns and playing on words brought comedy to the play and expressed his character and mood well. Emotive words are used to create images in the audiences mind as to the intent or feelings of characters. The scene changes in the audience's mind the direction of the protagonists as they think towards the beginning of the scene that Romeo is to be killed then. Without this scene the play would not logically conclude where it does. The scene sets the mood for the rest of the play. Fighting, or duelling was a common method of resolving differences of opinion in Shakespearian times, therefore an audience would not be surprised to see it in a play. However in this particular instance the prince, having the upper most authority, declared the death penalty for any occurrences of it on Verona's streets. Therefore even more tension is created when he declares the sentence of banishment as apposed to death upon Romeo as Lady Capulet longs not so much for justice as for blood. Alistair Fenning :: English Essay :: Romeo & Juliet ...read more.

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