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In William Shakespeare's Elizabethan tragedy Romeo and Juliet, written in 1595 and set in Verona - Italy, there is a great mixture of tension, anger and violence which clashes together in Act III Scene I.

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Introduction

In William Shakespeare's Elizabethan tragedy Romeo and Juliet, written in 1595 and set in Verona - Italy, there is a great mixture of tension, anger and violence which clashes together in Act III Scene I. This idea of tension between the two houses (Montague and Capulet) is brought to the audience's attention from the opening line "Two households, both alike in dignity..." Then this is followed by a fight between servants from both households which is created from a small comment made by the Montagues. Tybalt, a Capulet, states in this scene (Act I scene I) "Peace? I hate the word, as I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee." This phrase really signifies how much he despises the Montagues because he thinks of them in the same category as hell. He also shows he never wants there to be peace between the two families. Prince Escalus however forbids any further brawls between them. In Elizabethan England the characters from the two houses would have been made to look different from each other. They did this by wearing contrasting coloured costumes and would have used different entrances and exits to each other to separate them even more. There were many different parts to the Elizabethan 'wooden O' playhouse (called this because of its shape.) The stage itself included pillars, galleries, two main doors (as well as a few trap doors) ...read more.

Middle

Benvolio tends to be a peacemaker; although he hates the Capulets he doesn't like bloodshed or getting into trouble. He reminds them of what Prince Escalus had said. Benvolio adds further effect by reminding the audience of the previous events that relate to Act III scene I. Romeo then enters onto the stage and Tybalt wants to draw Romeo into a fight. Romeo however has just been married to Juliet and is not willing to fight - especially not his wife's cousin. Tybalt tries insulting Romeo to 'fire him up' for a fight "Thou art a villain." To Tybalt's annoyance Romeo answers these insults by saying he will not fight because he tenders the name Capulet as dearly as the name Montague. Romeo is taking a tremendous sacrifice for his love but to his bystanders it looks like cowardice. "Thou art a villain" is a very strong form of challenge to a duel. Duels were against the law but still everyone was familiar with the rules.To decline a duel as Romeo had done shows weakness and declares loss of manhood and nobility. Mercutio is outraged by this response "Oh calm, dishonourable, vile submission!" and continues antagonising Tybalt to start a fight " Tybalt you rat-catcher, will you walk?" As the insults grow Mercutio and Tybalt proceed to fight, despite Romeo and Benvolio trying to prevent them. ...read more.

Conclusion

Historically in Elizabethan times the actors were very 'lower class' people, probably peasants, whereas nowadays it is looked upon as quite a glamorous job. You would never see a woman acting on the stage. All the female characters would be played by males, whose voices hadn't yet broken. They would wear wigs and dresses. For a royal part they would have one expensive item such as a cloak, the actors were not very rich so their costumes and props weren't always very extravagant. Prince Escalus and his officer order Benvolio to go with them. Old Montague, Capulet and their wives then enter and Benvolio is asked to tell them what has happened. Benvolio's speech is talking about how he saw the traumatic events that have just happened. He is obviously quite emotional at this time. The rhythm of the regular metre lets it flow well and adds weight. It reiterates what has just happened to the audience, which helps them understand the scene and brings it back to life by using dramatic adjectives such as "piercing steel" and "envious thrust." It also ends neatly and effectively with rhyme, which is continued pretty much throughout the rest of the scene. Prince ends the scene with a rhyming couplet. "Bear hence this body, and attend our will; Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill." The play is also ended using a rhyming couplet. "Never was there a tale of such woe, than that of Juliet and her Romeo." ...read more.

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