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Is there a truning point in Romeo and Juliet

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Introduction

Oliver Latham What dramatic techniques does Shakespeare use in Act Three Scene One of 'Romeo and Juliet'? Throughout the play Shakespeare maintains the interest of his audience through an array of dramatic techniques. Act Three Scene One sees a turning point in the play when what had originally been a comedy orientated genre, which traditionally ended in a marriage (as seen in Act 2 of the play), is replaced with that of a tragic nature. During his time in the play Mercutio maintains a humourous relationship with the audience with 'Could you not take some occasion without giving?' This is an example of bawdy or sexual humour that would have appealed to the Elizabethan working class. Since he has kept comedy appearing in the play his final appearance, which involves his death, is a mixture of comic language and dramatic suffering. Mercutio's final speeches reflect a mixture of anger and disbelief that he has been fatally injured as a result of the 'ancient grudge' between the Capulets and the Montagues; he repeatedly curses, 'A plague on all your houses'. Even his characteristic wit is embittered as Mercutio treats the subject of his death with humourous wordplay: 'Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man.' ...read more.

Middle

Prose, which is blank speech, was traditionally used by lower status or comic characters such as the servants of the families; it is very informal. Notably Shakespeare breaks this rule when he has the character Mercutio, who as a family friend of the Montague house would be considered high status, speak in prose at his death. 'I am hurt. A plague o' both your houses! I am sped. Is he gone, and hath nothing?' Tragic death scenes would almost always be spoken in verse; however the use of prose in these lines emphasizes the significance of Mercutio's death and adds a sense of urgency and panic to the scene. Within the scene Shakespeare demonstrates the hostility between one character and another by references to rank. When Romeo enters Tybalt addresses him as 'my man' which refers to Romeo as his servant and therefore of lower hierarchy than himself. Family pride was very important to both the play and Elizabethan culture so references to class were an effective insult. What is notable is the manner at which Tybalt addresses Mercutio in this scene. ...read more.

Conclusion

The prologue is ironic in that the eventual fates of the characters are told on stage right from the beginning. In the line 'A pair of star crossed lovers take their lives', Shakespeare informs his audience that the death of the lovers was preordained, the deliberate act of misfortune. Tybalt's death brings Romeo a moment of clarity as he realizes he is the helpless victim of fate: 'O, I am fortunes fool!' he cries, struck deeply by a sense of frustration and injustice. The speed with which Mercutio and Tybalt's death occur, together with Romeo's marriage and subsequent banishment, all contribute to a sense of inevitability-that a chain of events have been set in motion over which the protagonist has no control. In conclusion the dramatic intensity of the story heightens with the opening of Act Three as a result of fate and conflict between the rival houses. The violent clash between Tybalt and Romeo escalates the drama around whether or not love will ever be able to exist openly between the two lovers. The prologue sets up a sense of hopelessness by the audience who know how the story will conclude and foreshadows the eventual death of the two lovers - a death made more tragic by the grip fate has on the helpless protagonist. ...read more.

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