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Romeo and Juliet meet for the first time at Capulets ball. How does Shakespeare use language and structure to create tension and excitement in Act1 Scene 5?

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Introduction

Romeo and Juliet meet for the first time at Capulet's ball. How does Shakespeare use language and structure to create tension and excitement in Act1 Scene 5? As the audience enters the party scene, it has already been introduced to the plot through the Greek theatrical device; a prologue. In addition, they have been captivated by the violent feud of the Montague and Capulet families. The prologue gives the audience the upper hand over the characters, as they know their ill-fate. For an Elizabethan audience who strongly believes in fate, this excites them, as if they were playing God; although for a modern day audience due to less superstitious beliefs, this perhaps, won't have the same effect. Knowing the death of Romeo and Juliet leaves the audience in anticipation and suspense right up to the moment of their death, thus increasing the tension and drama throughout. Act 1 Scene 4 contributes to the tension and creates anxiety among the audience through Romeo's mention of death and fate, this creates a dark and ominous mood. Shakespeare writes 'some consequence yet hanging in the stars' because throughout the play, stars are used as a metaphor for fate as belief in astrology was common in Shakespeare's day. ...read more.

Middle

to time remind the audience of the little time Romeo and Juliet have left before their imminent death and how their time will seem to pass quickly. This is also ironic as Capulet and his cousin don't appreciate that Romeo and Juliet are running out of time, this affects the audience as they understand and sympathise with Romeo and Juliet, knowing their time is short. Romeo is then immediately and purposely inserted after Capulet to emphasise the close proximity of the characters and the danger Romeo is in to create tension, because if he gets caught, there will be bloodshed. This is also done to increase the pace to engage and excite the audience. Romeo expresses his love for Juliet, describing her 'as a rich jewel in an ethiops ear. Beauty too rich for use, for the earth to dear' which is inappropriate as 'too rich for use, for earth too dear' portrays how Romeo thinks she is a goddess, and as a religious Elizabethan this would be unsuitable because of their views on religion. Shakespeare echoes Benvolio in Romeo when he says 'so shows a snowy dove trooping with crows', ironically in Act1 Scene 4, Benvolio states 'make thee think thy swan a crow', this links to Romeo's fate and the audience would have believed that Benvolio's words would have been pre-planned by God, hence, further predictions are to come true. ...read more.

Conclusion

Romeo states 'my life is my foe's debt' as he still loves her even if she is a Capulet, and gives his life to her, there is irony in his words as the audience already know that they are destined to die. He then regrets who she is by saying 'Ay, so I fear; the more is my rest as he is at a loss, confused and depressed. Shakespeare prolongs Juliet realising the identity of Romeo to build up the tension and engage the audience. Shakespeare then employs dramatic irony when Juliet states 'my grave is likely to be my wedding bed', this impacts the audience as they already know that her words are true. The Nurse then delivers Romeo's identity to Juliet by saying 'his name is Romeo, and a Montague. The only son of your great enemy' as a definite, strong statement that is brutally delivered to create maximum anticipation for Juliet's response. Juliet then immediately regrets meeting him when she says 'too early seen unknown, and known too late', she then states 'prodigious birth of love it is to me that I must love a loathed enemy', conveying how heartbroken she feels and how she was born to die. ...read more.

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