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"Romeo and Juliet" essay focusing on Act 3: Scene 1

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"Romeo and Juliet" essay focusing on Act 3 Scene 1 In this essay, I intend to explore the dramatic impact of Act 3 Scene 1 of the play "Romeo and Juliet," written by the renowned playwright William Shakespeare. At this point, the audience is feeling quite hopeful and maybe even doubtful of the foreseen tragedy from the prologue and the play seems to be more of a Shakespearean comedy. Romeo and Juliet have just been married and there seems to be hope for the reconciliation of the feuding Montagues and Capulets. However, from the very first line of Act 3 Scene 1, there seems to be cause for fear, and as soon as the unpredictable but enjoyable character Mercutio is killed, the laughter and comedy of the play ends and the tragedy truly begins. Some of the first words of Benvolio (a Montague) in this scene are "I pray thee good Mercutio, let's retire: The day is hot, the Capels are abroad, and if we meet we shall not scape a brawl, for now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring." There are several clues to the audience through this that something is going to happen. ...read more.


Also Mercutio is annoyed at Romeo ("O calm dishonourable, vile submission") for forfeiting his honour. In the play, it is unclear whether Tybalt intended to kill Mercutio, so this is open to be interpreted differently, as seen in Zeffirelli and Luhrman films. Mercutio is killed when Romeo steps in to try to stop the fight; Tybalt's sword goes under Romeo's arm and Mercutio is "sped." In the Zeffirelli film take on "Romeo and Juliet," we see the shock on Tybalt's face when he finds blood on his sword but in the Luhrman version of the play, we see Tybalt maliciously and intentionally killing Mercutio with some broken glass even if he originally didn't set out to do so. As Mercutio dies, he curses both the families, "a plague a'both your houses." In Shakespearean times a dying mans curses were taken very seriously and you could generally expect no good to come of them. When Mercutio dies the audience are shocked that this terrible end has come to such an influential and enjoyable character, they also fear what is going to happen next and wonder whether the play will stay the comedy it has been so far and defy the prologue or fulfil the predictions of the prologue. ...read more.


However, Montague, head of the Montague house defends Romeo and accepts that Romeo did wrong, but, he says, you can't blame Romeo for the death of Mercutio because they were friends. The prince then decides to banish Romeo, I think this is a fair punishment because Romeo didn't actually start the fight an in some way Tybalt got what he deserved for going after a fight, however lives were still lost so justice must be served. On the other hand the families have yet to find out that Romeo and Juliet are wed so the consequences for this could be more severe. This scene is significant because it changes the mood of the play and sets the rest of the play up for the predicted outcome of the prologue. A turning point between a good comedic ending and a tragic ending is suggested from the start of the scene where Benvolio and Mercutio are talking about the "mad blood stirring;" the atmosphere is set. In the final speech from the prince, there is also an overwhelming sense of tragedy which is surely a foundation for the second half of the play. Additionally when Mercutio dies all the loving and kind language stops, and hope of reconciliation between anyone, let alone the feuding families seems to die with him. ...read more.

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