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Romeo and Juliet - In what ways does Shakespeare introduce dramatic tension and some of the key themes in R&J.

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Romeo and Juliet: In what ways does Shakespeare introduce dramatic tension and some of the key themes in R&J Romeo and Juliet is one of William Shakespeare's most famous plays, and was written by the Bard around the end of the sixteenth century. Though in actually fact, Romeo and Juliet was not an original story. Elizabethan audiences would not have expected fresh stories all the time, but "modern" adaptations of classic stories. Romeo and Juliet's plot dates back much further than the late 16th century, but existed in variations, such as Pyrimus and Thisbe, that were adapted and re-written by Shakespeare. Shakespeare's genius does not lie in creating such a gripping story, but in telling the story in such a gripping way, so much so that even though everyone knows the tragic ending, it still has modern audiences on the edges of their seats. How does Shakespeare do this? The key to this is dramatic irony. Dramatic irony means that the audience knows more than the characters do, creating that shouting-at-ethe-screenthe ttttttttttttttthe-screen, "No-she's-not-really-dead!" desire for everything to turn out alright, even though we know it won't. Shakespeare also covers many themes and emotions in his play, imbuing the text with a sense of truth and wisdom that still rings true. ...read more.


This shows that the hatred is deep and constantly simmering, even among the servants, whom don't really have much reason to hate one another, other than the prejudice evident in their Houses. This is, in a way, a warning from Shakespeare not to be prejudiced against others, as you will be doing more harm that good, through no real reason. The servants of Capulet are walking through the streets and meet the servants of Montague. They argue and antagonise each other, until the quarrel turns into a full-scale mob war, involving everyone around, including the ordinary citizens of Verona - "Clubs, bills and partisans! Strike! Beat them down! Down with Capulets! Down with the Montagues!" The key to this scene is to create a sense of movement, energy and aggression. Shakespeare helps to create this through the way he writes the characters' lines. There are two main types of text in Shakespeare's plays: prose and verse. Prose is the common speech generally used by lower-class characters and by the upper-class characters when they are engaged in day-to-day conversations, whereas upper-class usually use verse for important speeches, for example the Prince of Verona addressing the mob in Act one Scene one. ...read more.


This creates a sense of fast, back-and-forth banter between characters, which is very effective to use between friends teasing each other and enemies mocking and taunting each other. A good example of this in Shakespeare's writing is in the conversation between Benvolio and Mercutio before the fight in act3 scene1 - "by my head, here come the Capulets," "by my heel, I care not". Here, Benvolio uses the serious oath "my head", and Mercutio retorts with the desultory oath "my heel", to show the extent of his contempt for the Capulets. It is also notable that Mercutio uses alliteration (head, heel). If he had used another oath such as "my foot" it would not have been stichomythia. A more modern and accessible example would be Dr. Seuss' poem, Green Eggs and Ham; "Will you eat green eggs and ham, [something something] Sam-I-Am," "I will not eat green eggs and ham, [something something] Sam-I-Am". ........................................ Although Shakespeare wrote his plays and sonnets 400 years ago, his writing remains the blueprint for plays, films and books today. The way in which he mixed comedy and pathos, romance and action, is still the holy grail of writers today, and few writers today can write with this blend of emotions as seamlessly as William Shakespeare did four hundred years ago. 1 ...read more.

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