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romeo and juliet (act 3)

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Introduction

How does Shakespeare leave the blame for the deaths in the fight scene [Act 3, scene 1] open to a range of interpretations? In his writing, Shakespeare artistically uses a variety of techniques to make the opening of his plays effective. For example, in Romeo and Juliet, before the fight scene in Act III scene I occurs, Shakespeare prepares the audience by showing the escalating antagonism between the characters Romeo, Mercutio and Tybalt. An example is, in fact, in the opening scene where servants of the two houses (Sampson of Capulet, Gregory of Montague) fight. Though Benvolio opts for peace, he is confronted by Tybalt, who has a growing dislike for the Montagues and proves it by saying, "...As I hate hell, all montagues and thee..." Act I scene I, line 65 Romeo also attends the capulets party regardless of the consequences. His presence triggers off Tybalt's anger which leads him to say, "This by his voice should be a Montague. Fetch me my rapier boy." Act I Scene V, lines 53-54 The fact that Romeo risks his life to enter the opponent's premises incenses Tybalt who instinctively sends for his sword so he may kill him. In Act II scene IV, Mercutio makes known his hatred for Tybalt to Benvolio.For instance, he describes Tybalt as "...a very tall man..." - meaning a 'valiant'. This also adds to the tension built up. Shakespeare does this to point out to the audience the hostility among the characters. ...read more.

Middle

In seeing that his effort to make Tybalt fight fails, he takes on Romeo's fight. Romeo's intervention in the fight gives Mercutio the opportunity to blame him for his death. The audience perceives this as a contributing factor to the violence and deaths caused in this scene. Romeo's actions in this scene also make him prone to blame. Here when Romeo goes to the Capulet party, he is identified by Tybalt who vows revenge for his intrusion. "I will withdraw, but this intrusion shall, Now seeming sweet, convert to bitt'rest gall." Act I scene V, lines 90-91 Romeo is unaware of Tybalts intentions but the audience is and it is in this process that dramatic irony is established and the impact on the audience is that, they are capable of preparing themselves for the event that is to come. His enigmatic response to Tybalt's insults not only frustrates Tybalt himself but also appals and offends Mercutio. According to Mercutio, Romeo's responses are "vile" and "dishonourable". This is why Mercutio fights with Tybalt and that is how Mercutio dies. Romeo being made to feel guilty for Mercutio's death results in his fighting and killing Tybalt. In the 16th - 17th century, public regard and societal outlook on individuals was of great importance. That is why when Romeo is referred to as "villain" by Tybalt, his honour goes down. ...read more.

Conclusion

Romeo is made to seem guiltier by Zeffirelli making him go looking to fight Tybalt whereas in the text, it's the other way round. On the other hand, he is made less guilty by his killing Tybalt being made to look like an act of self - defence in the film. In conclusion, the film makes Romeo appear less guilty and allocates most of the blame to Tybalt. In my opinion, Shakespeare leaving the blame for the deaths open to a range of interpretations makes the play more interesting because he doesn't mean for the audience to blame a particular character. He does this by making the characters act and speak in certain ways so they are all subject to blame. Directors like Zeffirelli are neither right nor wrong to alter changes to the play as Shakespeare intended his plays to be acted, not read. Most audiences prefer to see the star of the play made less guilty to other characters which is why directors normally make a few changes to the play. However, if I was a director, I would make a couple of changes myself. An example would be Romeo killing Tybalt. I would make it look intentional. This way, Romeo could appear guiltier. Another example could be when Tybalt kills Mercutio. In this scene, I would also make it look like a deliberate act; making Tybalt look guiltier that he already is. This way, I will be able to keep the audience in suspense, looking forward to seeing what is to come. By Agnes ...read more.

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