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Romeo and Juliet - How do the characters add to the drama and excitement in Act 2 Scene 2?

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Introduction

How do the characters in Romeo and Juliet add to the drama and excitement in Act 2 Scene 2? The play Romeo and Juliet, one of Shakespeare's most infamous tragedies, is a very exciting play. Right from the beginning, in the prologue, we are told that there will be "new mutiny" (violence), "civil blood", and that "a pair of star-crossed lovers take their life". This creates tension in the play, because it tells us straight away that Romeo and Juliet, the two main characters, will both die. The phrase "star-crossed" shows that it is destined to happen, as the audience in Elizabethan times would strongly believe that fate is guided by the stars. This creates excitement amongst the audience because although they know that the couple will die, the characters in the play don't. This is an example of dramatic irony. A lot of the vocabulary used in the prologue is imagery associated with death and violence. Examples of this include "grudge", "mutiny", "blood", "unclean", "fatal", "foes", "strife", "death-marked", and "rage". All of these words are used to create excitement as it builds up anticipation of a bloody play within the audience. The phrase "civil blood makes civil hands unclean" is an oxymoron. "Civil" is an ambiguous word, meaning either ordinary citizens of a place, or kind and obliging to help. ...read more.

Middle

Romeo's monologue at the beginning is written in iambic pentameter, which gives it a constant rhythm. However, at the end of it, Juliet speaks and finishes the rhythm of the iambic pentameter with the last two syllables. This may be interpreted as there being a connection between the two; even though she is not aware of his presence. This continues throughout the scene, showing the constant connection between the two. When Juliet starts to speak, the audience will be hanging on her words because they are anticipating what Juliet's feelings towards Romeo are, whether she will reveal them, and also whether Romeo will reveal his presence. In fact, Romeo says, after Juliet has spoken a few lines, "Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?" This part in the scene is very tense, because the audience know that this scene is pivotal in the play, and the audience know that what happens now will affect the whole play. All that Juliet speaks of is Romeo, and her annoyance that Romeo is a Montague ("O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?). The exclamation mark may suggest that Juliet is distressed if she is using it without anybody's presence. When Romeo eventually reveals himself, this moment is very exciting for the audience, as they are awaiting Juliet's response. ...read more.

Conclusion

It also shows he has become more decisive. He says in Act 3 Scene 1, "O sweet Juliet, thy beauty hath made me effeminate and in my temper soften'd valour's steel!" This shows that Romeo has lost some of his masculinity through Juliet's love. A lot of Romeo's remaining rationality leaves him after the marriage. For example, when he is told that Juliet is dead, he doesn't even question whether it is true or not, and makes the decision to kill himself almost immediately. This also shows that he has become more decisive; however this is not necessarily a good thing. The climax of the play is right at the end. Romeo takes the poison just as Juliet is awaking from her "death". The deaths of Romeo and Juliet are directly caused by Act 2 Scene 2, as the marriage is arranged in this scene. The play of Romeo and Juliet would still be valued by an audience today, however not as much as an Elizabethan audience. Most of the themes in the play, such as love, luck and fate are just as relevant to a modern audience as they would be to an Elizabethan one. However, the theme of religion and religious imagery and customs would not be as relevant to a modern society. This is because in Shakespeare's time, everybody believed in the religion (which was Christianity) very strongly, the supernatural, and fate. ...read more.

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