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Romeo and Juliet' by William Shakespeare Analyse acts 1, 2 and act3, scene 1, with specific reference to how Shakespeare uses characters, language and structure to reveal the escalation of violence and tension in the play.

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Introduction

'Romeo and Juliet' by William Shakespeare Analyse acts 1, 2 and act3, scene 1, with specific reference to how Shakespeare uses characters, language and structure to reveal the escalation of violence and tension in the play. Before William Shakespeare's well-known version of Romeo and Juliet there were plays and short stories written in the form of this tragedy. Most of these were in Italian and French. For instance in 1567, around 28 years before Shakespeare's version, a man called William Painter included his "The goodly history of Rhomeo and Julietta" in a volume of short stories, but even earlier during 1562 an author called Arthur Brooke had turned the story into a very long poem which he called "The Tragical history of Romeus and Juliet" There are many similarities between these poems and stories to Shakespeare's play of Romeo and Juliet, he almost certainly used these to help in the writing of his own version of the play. This was quite usual in Elizabethan times for playwrights to use existing stories for the bases of their own, and Shakespeare was exceptionally good at using another people's work and using their ideas and turning them into complex pieces of drama. But what made William Shakespeare think of setting this love affair between a feuding family? Well at the time there was a feud between two families these were the Long's and the Danvers. Shakespeare knew of this, as his friend the Earl of Southampton was also a friend with the Danvers. Romeo and Juliet was probably written between 1594 and 1595 by which time Shakespeare had already began his rise to fame by performing his plays in the London Theatre. Four or Five years before William Shakespeare had started his work in London and left behind his wife and three children, his eldest being Susannah, back home in Stratford upon Avon. William Shakespeare was 30 and had married his wife at 18, his eldest child being 13 years of age meaning his wife was pregnant before they married and this was probably the reason for the marriage. ...read more.

Middle

We then have the main characters beginning to argue, we have the fight spoiling, blood spilling, Tybalt, a Capulet family member, their cousin, a very close family member, he will do anything to fight and show off his skills but to do this how? In this situation and almost every other he intimidates the opposition. Here we have him in scene one with the servants still arguing trying to talk the peace loving Benvolio into a fight. Tybalt: "What, drawn and talk of peace? I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee." Tybalt: "Have at thee, coward." Shakespeare shows immediately the character of Tybalt showing how he violent and unwilling to listen to reason, it makes the audience start choosing sides before they even know what is going on, they think about Benvolio refusing to fight and choose their sides by knowing Benvolio is the better man. Benvolio: "I do but keep the peace. Put up thy sword, Or manage it to part these men with me." Soon enough the argument turns into a fight in a public place, this is not very good for the reputation of either family, but the fight is soon broken up by Prince Escales who makes a new Law in the city of Verona that the next "brawl" started will have the head of the household put to death. There are many places throughout act 1 where violence can be found the scene I have just described is a very important one as it determines poor Romeos outcome, there is another very important scene in the 1st act, a scene which most people would call the romantic side to the story but if we look and not all that closely either we will find before the romance starts properly Tybalt again is spoiling for his fight in scene 5, the "party scene". The Capulet mansion decides to show off their riches so they invite all their friends and have a big party, unfortunately for ...read more.

Conclusion

Romeo is furious, angry; he pulls his sword on Tybalt. Romeo: "And fire-eyed fury by my conduct now!" Tybalt ran after the death of Mercutio but for some un-known reason he returns, He now gets his own way, Romeo challenges him to a fight to the death. The outcome to these events have a ripple effect throughout the rest of the play, Tybalt is killed by Romeo, the princes order tells us that Romeo should be killed, but because Tybalt should have been killed first because the killing of Mercutio, Romeo is let off with only banishment but if Lady Capulet had her way then he would have been killed. Lady Capulet: "For blood of ours, shed blood of Montague" The prince will not act upon Lady Capulet's instructions and asks Benvolio, an eyewitness of what had happened, the prince believes Benvolio showing the audience yet again that he is a peacemaker and a trustworthy person. The last words of Mercutio are very important he says "A curse on both your houses" and thinking about it this does actually happen both the Montague name and the Capulet name are wiped out, the parents are probably too old to have children now and there only children commit suicide. To conclude my essay I would like to include my own comment on the play and the violence in it, Shakespeare has created an excellent plot idea and turned it into a play still enjoyed by audiences today, his theme ideas are very cunning and well hidden unless looking into the play in depth, the characters created are still a great influence in many peoples lives today and the violence of the play will still be well known for years to come and will still be used in comparison with people and families who do not like one another and show it in an unfriendly way. 'Romeo and Juliet' coursework by Lorraine Hallett Lorraine Hallett/GCSE English/PD/16.06.2002 ...read more.

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