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

Romeo and Juliet - To what extent do you agree that Act 3 Scene 1 is the turning point of the play?

Extracts from this document...


To what extent do you agree that Act 3, scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet is the turning point of the play? Some people believe that Act 3, scene 1 marks the transition from the relatively carefree, light-hearted (even amusing) atmosphere of the first two acts, to the gradual and inevitable progression towards the downfall of the two lovers and the ultimate grizzly tragedy. In this essay I will be examining the evidence for and against this point of view. The play is set in the northern Italian city of Verona; the significance of this seems to be that in the minds of Shakespeare's audience, the Italians were associated with hot-blooded and quick tempered behaviour. In this context, the audience is given warning at the very beginning of the play that the subject will not just be a conventional romance but one that is doomed and at the mercy of the extreme passions around it. For example the lovers are referred to as 'star-crossed' and we are told that their love is 'death-marked' (Prologue). In Act 1, scene 4 Romeo ironically foresees his own death being associated with love, 'my mind misgives some consequence ....... by some vile forfeit of untimely death'. Despite the coded warnings to the audience of forthcoming tragedy the mood and tone of the first few two acts is, on the whole, without menace and gives no obvious indication that the romance between the young couple will lead to disastrous consequences. ...read more.


However in this scene he is only interested in fighting Romeo. Perhaps he thought that there was no point in fighting Mercutio because he had not done enough to offend him, therefore making him a bigger person than he used to be, or perhaps, on this occasion he felt that fighting Mercutio would not be as satisfying as fighting Romeo whom he obviously despises. Tybalt knows nothing about the marriage, although Romeo gives hints, 'I love you more than you can understand until you know the reason why I love you. And so, good Capulet-which is a name I love like my own name', obviously Tybalt does not pick up on this, and even if he did, he could not expect it to be true in any way, because marriage would have been out of the question. Mercutio is a very ambiguous character. Although he is funny, witty and cheeky, he is no mere jester. He is very deep and raises many philosophical issues and dark points in the play. Mercutio ridicules Romeo, for believing in tragic fate, and romantic love. However he is still seen by many as a comic character in the play, and perhaps the comedy dies with him. Another interesting point is the fact that, Mercutio, being such a mercurial (possibly the derivation of his name) ...read more.


When he does go we are also left without his long speeches, therefore the pace of the play spirals and we are forced to concentrate on what is going on. We can see the extent of how bad the fight scene in Act 3 scene 1 really is by referring back to the brawl that took place in Act 1 scene 1. The difference is shocking; of course the first fight scene isn't completely innocent and friendly but it is a lot less vicious. You almost get the sense that they are all rather enjoying themselves. A lot of the fight is just quick-banter and extravagant (but not particularly harmful), shadow fighting. In conclusion, I believe that Act 3 scene 1 is to a large extent the hinge on which the dramatic development of the tragedy develops. Even though as an audience we were given plenty of signs in both the prologue and the first act that calamity was imminent those signs were easily overlooked in the prevailing light-hearted tone of the first two acts. It is only in Act 3 scene 1 that the play and its plot become hard-edged in terms of both character and mood. The death of Mercutio resurrects the bitter feud which in the early part of the play seemed to lie dormant. From now on the protagonists are unmasked, revenge has to be taken and the warnings of tragedy ahead turn into reality. ?? ?? ?? ?? Ollie Marcel LVM ...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

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Romeo and Juliet essays

  1. Explore the dramatic effect of Act 3 Scene 1 in Romeo and Juliet. In ...

    ball, has angered him, subsequently Tybalt wants to fight: "Turn and draw!" Moreover Benvolio tells Mercutio and Tybalt not to fight in public, the effect that this has on the audience is one of trusting Benvolio as they realize something bad will be a result of the fight if it does take place.

  2. In what way is Act 3 Scene 1 a turning point in the play ...

    He wants to leave and begs Mercutio to go indoors', 'I pray thee, good Mercutio, let's retire:' Mercutio is not a member of either family but is a loyal friend of Romeo's and the cousin of the Prince. He shows his loyalty towards Romeo by stepping in for Romeo.

  1. Acts 3 scene 1 of the play is a turning point. How important are ...

    When the Capulet's enter Mercutio and Benvolio respond differently because Benvolio fearful and worried, quote: 'By my head here come the Capulet's', this shows that Benvolio is really scared. Where as Mercutio is ready and waiting, quote: `by my heel, I care not', this shows that Mercutio isn't at all worried of having a fight.

  2. Romeo and Juliet: Act 3 Scene1 as a turning point

    This suggests that Mercutio wants to stay and have a fight and shows that Mercutio was wrong in saying Benvolio was no more peaceful than him, ironically.

  1. Act 3 Scene 1 is a turning point in the play - Analyze this ...

    "Doth with their death bury their parents strife", the audience shows they will die. There are two more quotes, which show the same, "the fearful passage of their death-mark'd love", and " which but their children's end, nought could remove."

  2. Explore Shakespeares Presentation of Act 3 Scene 1 as a Turning Point in the ...

    Although the audience sees Tybalt as being evil, as is further portrayed in the Baz Luhrmann interpretation of the play (where Tybalt is wearing devil horns), he is actually doing the thing he has been told to do all his life- hate Montagues.

  1. I will be exploring and analysing the different ways and methods in which Shakespeare ...

    Lady Capulet voices that even if Juliet's tears could wash Tybalt out of his grave, she couldn't bring him back to life, so Juliet should stop crying although her grief shows her love. This is ironic because Juliet has clearly not been thinking of her cousin at all.

  2. Make a close study of Act III scene I. How far can it ...

    We already know that Mercutio is a very good friend of Romeo and Benvolio. We also know he has a way with words, he is full of energy and he also has a sense of fun. We know this because he is always teasing people like the nurse of Juliet

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work