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Romeo and Juliet: Act 1, Scene 5

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How does Shakespeare make this extract from Act One scene Five a dramatic and significant moment in the play 'Romeo and Juliet?' William Shakespeare wrote the play 'Romeo and Juliet' between the years 1591 to 1595 and it is one of his most well known successful plays, still popular in modern theatres. The play is set in Verona a few hundred years before Shakespeare wrote it. The Capulet family are hosting a masque during this extract and Romeo is wearing a visor (and in Lurhman's cinematic production is dressed as a traditional hero - a knight). He sees Juliet who appears an image of purity. He asks a serving man who she is, whilst at the same time the 'Prince of Cats', Tybalt, who hates all Montagues, sees him. Shakespeare makes this extract a dramatic and significant moment in the play by utilising a variety of techniques including use of imagery, sonnet form and juxtaposition. Shakespeare also uses dramatic irony in this extract. Capulet has just delivered a speech to everybody present at the party. He is very happy because the event is just for Capulets and he thinks that it is only his family at the party. Capulets are only happy when they are with their own kind. However the audience know that there are Montagues at the party, including Romeo, from the prologue we already know that there is rivalry between the two families: 'From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.' ...read more.


In the couplet: 'The measure done, I'll watch her place of stand, And touching hers, make blessed my rude hand', Romeo wants too become holy through association with her, as she is an image of heaven. He feels it is his duty to fall in love with her. Shakespeare also suggests that Romeo has forgotten about Rosaline: 'Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.' He suggests that he has never seen such a beautiful girl and never felt love before, meaning that he has forgotten Rosaline. Romeo is a Petrarchan lover. He would have died for Rosaline he was so in love with her and would now do the same for Juliet. When reciting this speech the tempo is very slow and melodic. Tybalt, on the other hand, tends to be very choleric. This, again, is because of an excess in a particular humour, this means he is a very angry person. His speech immediately transforms the whole extract from love and romance to one of hatred and anger, as he is now aware there are Montagues present at the party. The contrast between the two speeches also creates tension and suspense, therefore intensifying the significance of this moment of the play. When Tybalt speaks he is very definite. He hates all Montagues. When he says: 'Fetch me my rapier, boy. ...read more.


Romeo says: 'If I profane with my unworthiest hand This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this:' Romeo is suggesting in this sentence that he is not good enough for such a heavenly angelic person. He suggests that she is a holy shrine and that, to touch her is a sin. This shows just how important Juliet is to him and how he would want nothing more in the world than to kiss her. Romeo then says: 'O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do; They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.' Romeo suggests that kissing Juliet would be sacred and holy; it would be a religious duty, which heightens the significance of their kiss. The drama is also a significant role in maintaining the suspense, tension and significance in this whole scene. The whole scene is very dramatic and significant to the play. This is because Shakespeare expresses Romeo's true feelings for Juliet in this speech at the beginning of the extract for the first time. Tybalt's speech demonstrates the contrasted theme of hatred. Romeo was thinking about love and Tybalt was thinking about rivalry and hate. It reminds the audience of the conflict between the two families. At the end Romeo and Juliet kiss, increasing the dramatic significance. It is one of the most essential scenes in the whole play as it sets all of the major tensions between characters and families for the rest of the play. ?? ?? ?? ?? 01 October 2008 Thomas Fahey ...read more.

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