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Romeo and Juliet coursework- Act 1 Scene 5 Choose a scene from Romeo and Juliet and analyse how it contributes to the dramatic tension and tragedy of the whole play.

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Introduction

Romeo and Juliet coursework- Act 1 Scene 5 Choose a scene from Romeo and Juliet and analyse how it contributes to the dramatic tension and tragedy of the whole play. William Shakespeare was born in April, 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, in Elizabethan England. London underwent a transformation in the 16th century, with its population and economy growing. There was a strong demand for entertainment and many temporary theatres and stages were set up. The first stage venue, called 'The Theatre' was set up in 1576 on the bank of the Thames. This was replaced by the Globe theatre in 1599. It is believed that some time between 1585 and 1592 Shakespeare left Stratford for London, and joined a company of actors as a performer and a playwright. By 1592 Shakespeare had received some recognition for his work, though not entirely positive. Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet, a tragic drama about the 'star crossed lovers' is seen as extraordinary work, and was an experimental stage piece at its time of composition. Its references to fate, free will and its antithesis between love and hate were all taken from stories that had been around for hundreds of years. The story of Romeo and Juliet came from Italy, where the cities were infamous for their long-lasting deadly hatreds between families. The Montecci and Capelletti families were altered to Montague and Capulet, and Shakespeare used a Poetic English retelling of the Old Italian story ('The tragicall History of Romeus and Juliet') ...read more.

Middle

His grave attitude appears in stark contrast to Mercutio's high spirited jests. Mercutio lightly mocks Romeo's forebodings, however the audience is left with a sense of anticipation and tension is starting to build. Romeo continues to voice his apprehensions about entering the ball : 'my mind misgives some consequence yet hanging in the stars shall bitterly begin his fearful date with this night's revels'(Act one Sc four l's 106-9) The fact that he and the others are wearing masks gives Romeo the confidence and freedom to attend the ball. The fact that his face is covered not only hid his identity from the Capulet's, but also allowed him to hide his fears behind a guise. This scene sets the foundations for what is to come, and a sense of inevitability is felt. Romeo is drawn into the 'plot' by an unknown force, and the audience gets a sense of this irony. Had Romeo refused to attend the ball, he may never have met Juliet, his ill-fated lover. Due to the build up to this scene, we as the audience can understand how vital it is to the overall plot. It is the scene where fate brings these two star-crossed lovers together and also where they realise that fate will tear them apart. This is one of the most vital and dramatic scenes in perspective of the whole play.Their family backgrounds disallow their feelings for one another, and consequently lead to their 'untimely demise'. ...read more.

Conclusion

Her distress is obvious, and she sorrowfully announces; 'Prodigious birth of love it is to me, That I must love a loathed enemy' l 139-140'. Throughout the play Romeo's character is that of an ill-fated hero. From Act One Scene One we see him as a tragic figure, his thoughts and emotions vividly portrayed to the audience. From his first meeting with Juliet he takes on the role of the star struck lover, and once banished from Verona his part as a tragic hero is set. Dramatic tension is used throughout the play to add drama to the tragedy. The audience's knowledge of the ultimate outcome gives a sense of realism to the tragedy, and makes the emotions they attach to the characters stronger. In following scenes, we see Romeo hide from his friends and risk death to stay and exchange vows of love with Juliet. The two enemies fall in love before they know each others name, therefore reinforcing the ideals of love at first sight. This first meeting sets the tragedy in motion; however other aspects enter the play such as the juxtaposition of love and hate, and the roles of chance and destiny. Their despair when they realise that they are from rivalling families is na�ve, but their love is so powerful that we have a sense of the inevitable outcome of their tryst. Juliet has told the audience that now she has loved, she can never love again. The stage has been set- fate has stepped in to change the lives of these star crossed lovers forever. ...read more.

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