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Romeo and Juliet

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Romeo and Juliet Throughout Romeo and Juliet (written 1597) we see the themes of love, passion and crime intermix to create what is arguably Shakespeare's most dramatic and heartfelt masterpiece. The plot, a tragic drama in which two passionate "star-crossed lovers" are doomed to misery and eventual death, highlights the harsh times in which Romeo and Juliet lived, and the high expectations and severe discipline of women in the Elizabethan era. The prologue is an insightful glimpse into the later events of the play; "death-mark'd love" and gives the audience a taster of the tragedy that is yet to come. We see more suggestive writing in act 1 scene 5, when an already infatuated Juliet anxious as to Romeo's marital status states; "My grave is like to be my wedding bed". This is an extreme and very effective use of dramatic irony, as we know from the beginning of the play that both Juliet and Romeo's deaths are, though they do not suspect it, imminent. This powerful technique creates great tension and suspense and leaves the audience eagerly anticipating the exciting main event that the striking language subtly prophesies. Act 1 scene 5 begins in an exciting, atmospheric manner and, through clever use of language and subtle imagery gives the reader an insight into some of the later events of the play. ...read more.


This highlights the power held by Capulet and reinforces, to a modern audience, his forceful attitude. It is ironic then perhaps that Tybalt, angry at Romeo's intrusion, is scolded for showing the kind of prejudice that he probably learnt at the hands of his uncle. Indeed, this particular hatred can be traced back to the prologue; "the continuance of their parents rage" and builds throughout the remainder of the play, heightening tension, fear and anticipation. It is this perhaps that makes Act 1 Scene 5 so critically important to the story of Romeo and Juliet. Romeo's initial reaction to Juliet is very significant as the play unfolds. Upon first meeting the young Capulet, though he is of course unaware of her family name, he declares his love for her to the audience in the form of a soliloquy; "O she doth teach the torches to burn bright!...". The use of such a monologue shows that Romeo's words are an expression of his innermost feelings, making him appear far more passionate and endearing, and an overall more intimate character. His use of powerful imagery when describing Juliet as a "rich jewel...Beauty too rich for use" shows his love to be pure and honest, qualities not apparent in his earlier soliloquy to Rosaline, or in reality, in any facet of their relationship. ...read more.


Central to this scene is the timing of this realisation. Any sooner and their feelings for one another would never have blossomed into the infatuation that both feel. Overall, Act 1 scene 5 is of great dramatic importance in relation to the play as a whole. It is within this particular scene that we see the fight for power between the characters, and learn more about the hatred that will mould the future for Romeo and Juliet. Capulet, we know, is a man of a demanding nature whose good natured banter within this scene belies his true personality, that of a volatile and unpredictable man. Tybalt, however does nothing to disguise his feelings of animosity towards the Montague family and will later be instrumental in the eventual tragedy that will unfold. One of the most dramatic incidents incorporated in this scene is Romeo and Juliet's realisation that they are from opposing households, and therefore indulging in forbidden love. This coupled with the prophecy that Juliet makes that " my grave is like to be my wedding bed" increases the sense of irony within the scene and heightens the tension between the main protagonists. Perhaps the saddest feature of this scene is the awareness that, despite the strength and depth of love between Romeo and Juliet, the relationship is doomed from the very beginning. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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