• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Romeo and Juliet's effectiveness as drama

Extracts from this document...


Is Romeo and Juliet an effective piece of drama? One of Shakespeare's earlier plays, Romeo and Juliet never achieved a standing as one of the four 'greats'; it was his first fictional tragedy and was written with 'poetic naivety'. Nevertheless, the purpose of this essay will be to assess what merits it does have as well as those it doesn't. Firstly, the plot: of the seven basic stories agreed on by most drama commentators this is 'the lovers'; and the universal appeal of this subject makes it a pretty secure crowd-puller. There are plenty of diversions from this feminine foundation - the play is rather bare where comic interludes are concerned but there is plenty of violence, Tybalt and Romeo's fight the prevalent example. Rather disappointingly, Shakespeare didn't actually come up with the basic plot to this script: it was a common yarn which can be traced back to Luigi Da Porto in 1530. Shakespeare's adaptation has many original characters, Benvolio and Mercutio for example, but this blatant plagiarism (which wasn't a crime in the 17th century) is a let-down to modern audiences. Quite inventively for the period Shakespeare's play has two protagonists (Romeo and Juliet) ...read more.


Another way in which Shakespeare achieves contrast is by changing the mood - not always relevantly. He does this at the beginning of Act one Scene 5. The aforementioned Scene commences with a busy and exited comic interlude involving the servants of Capulet - the attempt at humour is not as obvious as in Shakespeare's typical interludes (the porter in Macbeth, for example, which seems rather immature for our revered bard) but in itself is an effective piece of drama; how relevant this scene is in the context of the tragedy is debatable however: it does dilute the atmosphere somewhat, but you have to sell-out a bit to fill the cheap seats I suppose. Anyway it's not that funny, the skiving dishwasher with the amusing name ('where's Potpan?') the furthest it goes; the variety and colour, along with the insight into the party take priority as far as dramatic continuity is concerned. The foreshadowing used in this play is not exactly up to Arthur Conan-Doyle standard, although in act three scene five there is an ironic comment spoken by Juliet about wishing Romeo poisoned ('if you could find out but a man to bear poison I would temper it that Romeo should upon receipt thereof soon sleep in quiet') ...read more.


each other (I suppose that's all they could do before marriage), Romeo compares her to a jewel ('doth enrich the hand of yonder knight'); the sky's earring (or the moon); 'for earth too dear'; and, finally, a divinity ('if I profane with my unworthiest hand'...). This (melo)dramatic communication of love continues throughout the play, carried by the running metaphors of light, faith, and the stars (a perfect example occurs when Juliet uses 'Phoebus's lodging' to signify the west, where Romeo is situated, referring to a sun god: a symbol for light, divinity, and a star). I'm dubious as to whether the heavily considered use of speech makes for an effective piece of drama, for even when reading the play many of the phrases can be almost incomprehensible. Admittedly four-hundred years is a long time and many of the expressions spoken in Elizabethan times will have long since died (e.g. the word die used to have a sexual connotation) but the lack of visual stimulation (props, lighting...) coupled with the lower average intellect of the audience in Shakespeare's day (no reality tv) makes you wonder what the people in the cheap seats gained from the performances except a hangover (the men usually drank beer there), and the social intercourse. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Romeo and Juliet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work