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Romeo and Juliet Coursework essay

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Pre-1914 Drama Coursework Essay AQA English Literature and Language "Romeo and Juliet" - William Shakespeare Evaluate to what extent the Nurse was influential in pushing Juliet towards her suicide. William Shakespeare, who was probably born on 23rd April 1564, is a well known playwright, poet and actor. He is regarded as the greatest writer of the English language, and the world's finest playwright. His plays have been translated into every living major language, and his plays are performed more than any other playwright. His surviving work includes over 30 plays, and over 150 sonnets, and these were mainly written between 1590 and 1613. Although it is believed Shakespeare was the writer of "Romeo and Juliet", he copied the original idea from Arthur Brooke, who called it "Tragicall Historie of Romeus and Juliet", and wrote it in 1562. However, it is possible that he copied it from an Italian version, written by Luigi Da Porto in 1530. Although many writers have copied this story before Shakespeare, the Nurse was completely his own invention, and as a result, the story fits together perfectly, because without her, Juliet has an unresponsive mother who distances herself from Juliet, but no one to confide in, to trust in and to love like a mother. The play itself is set in the city of Verona, in Italy at around the 14th Century. The city of Verona is a busy city, with brawls between the two houses occurring regularly, and the royal family restoring order and handing out punishments. ...read more.


Although it is mainly the Nurse that is influential in pushing Juliet towards her suicide, the Capulets play a part as well. This is because in Act 3 Scene 5, they gang up on Juliet after she refuses to marry Paris, shouting abuse and threats at her like "I would the fool were married to her grave" and "I will drag thee on a hurdle hither." Although a modern day audience would be feeling sorry for Juliet, and emphasising with her, an Elizabethan audience may not have, as she disobeyed her Father, and she is his possession. The language and punctuation that Shakespeare uses conveys anger, as he uses monosyllabic words, and plenty of exclamation marks to portray shouting. Other punctuation points he uses a lot are dashes, to convey breathlessness from all the shouting Lord Capulet does, as he is simply infuriated with Juliet. While this scene was being performed, I am sure that the actor portraying Lord Capulet would try and be fearsome towards Juliet, as he must shout and frighten her. The dramatic impact this would have on an Elizabethan audience is one of fear, but some may also emphasise with Lord Capulet, as they may also have had to discipline unruly children. In contrast, a modern day audience will definitely only emphasise with Juliet, and be very afraid of Lord Capulet. In this scene, Lord Capulet also seems to be completely in control over Juliet, and he says "I will drag you on a hurdle hither", as if he's talking to a slave or criminal. ...read more.


However, this is when the Nurse betrays Juliet, and Juliet's response to this is "If all else fail, myself have power to die." This is incredibly serious for a devout catholic to say, as they believe committing suicide means they go to hell. This shows that Juliet is willing to do anything to be with Romeo, even if it means taking her own life. The dramatic impact this has on the audience is that they realise this is the turning point, and begin to realise that she has gone crazy. However, they would also emphasise with her, as everyone close to her has abandoned and betrayed her, except for Romeo. Due to this fact, the Nurse indefinitely caused Juliet's suicide. Throughout "Romeo and Juliet" it is clear that Juliet and the Nurse have an extremely good relationship, one that is comparable to mother and daughter, and it is due to this factor that Juliet is driven over the edge when the Nurse betrays her. Therefore, although the Nurse was thinking of Juliet's best interests, she was the main influence in pushing Juliet towards her suicide, and the dramatic impact this has is that the audience emphasises with both Juliet, and the Nurse, as without knowing it, the Nurse caused her dearest friend to commit suicide. 1 Romeo and Juliet Longman School Shakespeare Page 122 2 Romeo and Juliet Longman School Shakespeare Page 47 3 Romeo and Juliet Longman School Shakespeare Page 187 ?? ?? ?? ?? Josh French January 2009 Pre-1914 Drama "Romeo and Juliet" - William Shakespeare 1 ...read more.

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