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Romeo and Juliet - How does Act 1, Scene 1 lay the foundations for the whole tragedy?

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Introduction

Romeo and Juliet - How does Act 1, Scene 1 lay the foundations for the whole tragedy? Act 1, Scene 1 of "Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare lays the foundations for the whole tragedy because it introduces us to most of the main characters. It also shows us how violent the society of Verona is. Shakespeare could have been influenced to write "Romeo and Juliet" from many sources. In Italy and France during the medieval period, there were many myths and legends about two lovers facing impossible obstacles. Also, there were two Italian families called the Montecchi and the Capelletti. However, one lived in Verona and the other in Cremona, which are over 60 miles apart. It is unknown whether they had children called Romeo or Juliet. In 1562, an English poet called Arthur Brooke wrote a poem called "The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet." It has basically the same story, except Shakespeare's is much more detailed. Some people believe that the two feuding families represent the Catholics and the Protestants. The bringing of them together symbolises the Tudors. The Prologue is important because it introduces us to all the themes of the play. It is written as a sonnet. A sonnet is a form of renaissance poetry and is always about love, "a pair of star-crossed lovers take their lives". This causes the audience to believe that love would be the dominant theme, but later on, they realise it isn't. ...read more.

Middle

Shakespeare shows how mixed up Romeo is feeling by using a dozen oxymorons, two contradictory words brought together to make a striking expression. "Why then, O brawling love, O loving hate, O anything of nothing first create! O heavy lightness, serious vanity, Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms, Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health, Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!" But the most important oxymoron used is, "Here's much to do with hate, but more with love". This is important because it summarizes the entire play in one sentence. The story is much to do with hate, because the families hate each other, but more with love, because they love their families so they want to defend their honour. Romeo's character links to Greek tragedy. Greek tragedy is a form of drama invented by the ancient Greeks. "Romeo and Juliet" has all three main elements of Greek tragedy. It has a tragic hero, a chorus and narrator. The tragic hero, who is always a male, is Romeo, he will always be an excellent person, but has a fatal flaw which will lead to his downfall, and consequently, his death. Romeo's fatal flaw is that he is obsessed with love. The chorus, which is a group of people who explain and comment on the play, comes twice in the play, in the Prologue and the beginning of Act 2. There is more than one narrator in the play, the chorus, Friar Lawrence and the Prince, who give moral commentary on the play. ...read more.

Conclusion

It also plays upon a lot of our emotions; it can appeal to people who enjoy comedy, drama, violence or romance. The play has a lot to do with fate. From the prologue at the beginning, we already know that the two lovers are unlucky, "star-crossed lovers". The theme of fate is carried on throughout the play. Shakespeare used imagery to convey each of the themes in the play. For the theme of love, he used light, "O she doth teach the torches to burn bright!" For the theme of hate, he used darkness. He has used these because; love and hate are opposites, so he used opposing imagery for each theme. Finally, for the theme of fate, he used stars, "inauspicious stars", "I defy you, stars!". Shakespeare used stars because they were supposed to contain the secrets of a man's future. Before Romeo went to Capulet's banquet, he knew something would happen, "for my mind misgives Some consequence yet hanging in the stars". Somehow, he knew that something would come out of going to the banquet. Romeo and Juliet's families, the Montagues and the Capulets, were finally reconciled because of the love of Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare's moral message in the play is that love can bring an end to violence. But this isn't the only thing that Shakespeare is trying to show us in the play. He is giving us many philosophical lessons like, we shouldn't fall in love too hastily, like Romeo and Juliet have. He is also trying to show us that we shouldn't rush into things and to think before we act. Khadija Jama 10BS ...read more.

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