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Romeo and Juliet

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How does Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' create dramatic interest for both a modern and contemporary audience? Drama requires four main things - a crisis or incident, conflict, suspense, and a resolution towards the end of the drama. Shakespeare uses all of theses devices to full effect during the course of Romeo and Juliet, with the intent of creating interest for the audience, either contemporary or modern day. The first device, we meet immediately in the Prologue. The prologue is performed by the chorus, which originates in Greek theatre around centuries 5 and 6 B.C. The chorus acts as a narrator for the audience, explaining what has already happened, and in this case, what will happen. The prologue in Romeo and Juliet also sets up some of the main themes that run throughout the play. The theme of fate would have been very important to a contemporary audience, people in Shakespeare's time put a lot of faith in fate and destiny, and therefore would take a great interest in the path the characters and story will be forced to take. The prologue introduces this theme almost immediately, hinting that it will be a strong force, and instrumental in the direction the plot will take. 'From forth the fatal loins of these two foes. A pair of star - crossed lovers take their life.' Another theme that is important from the start of the play, and continues to be a driving force behind the action is the theme of conflict. ...read more.


Therefore his whole character and demeanour change when he catches sight of Juliet, his language also changes, the oxymorons are no longer used, his language becomes evocative and there is now a heavy use of similes and metaphors, all comparing Juliet's beauty. 'It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night, Like a rich jewel in and Ethiop's ear' 'So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows' A different view on Romeo's character, as written in 'A pocket Guide to Shakespeare's Plays' by Kenneth McLeish and Stephen Unwin, is that Romeo is the ringleader of a gang of overbred young men with too much time on their hands. They say that his love for Rosaline at the beginning of the play is pure bravado rather than true feelings. I disagree with this view; his language is far too wistful and dreamy to be bravado. Also, Shakespeare intended for him to be unhappily in love with Rosaline, as she doesn't return his feelings. If his love was born out of bravado rather than true feeling, he would certainly not be unhappy about it. During the course of the play Juliet's character also changes rapidly. She starts as a headstrong, na�ve young girl, and within two days (or 3 Acts) she is married, deeply in love, and ready to give her life rather than be parted from Romeo. Some aspects of her character however, do not change. ...read more.


Had he not married them, the plot would not have turned out the way it did. Also, the Shakespearian audience would have had a lot of faith and trust in religious figures, raising the dramatic tension for a contemporary audience when Friar Lawrence agrees to marry the lovers illegally, and later provides Juliet with the drug that causes Romeo to think her dead. The themes within the play all affect the characters and influence the way they act, and their decisions. The characters of Romeo and Juliet are heavily influenced by love, and Mercutio and Tybalt by anger and conflict. Ultimately, all of the characters are affected by conflict, and most of all by fate. If Romeo had not gone to the ball, he would not have fallen in love with Juliet; Tybalt would not have sworn revenge against him and killed Mercutio, and so on. A contemporary audience would have seen this as the path fate intended for the characters, whereas a modern audience would also have believed this to some degree, perhaps not as strongly as a contemporary audience. The way that a contemporary audience would perceive the idea of fate is also very important. From the very beginning we are informed that Romeo and Juliet are determined by fate to fall in love, die, and therefore resolve their parents' grudge. Because of this, a contemporary audience would pick up on the numerous references to fate much more than a modern audience would. ...read more.

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