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Romeo andJuliet - Tension & Violence

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Introduction

Romeo and Juliet - Act III, Scene1 How does Shakespeare show the audience the tension and violence on the streets of Verona? What is the importance of this scene to the play? Shakespeare's work was meant to be performed in the form of a play, although we so often read it as a literary text today. However years ago when it was written there were no special effects, props and lighting to tell the story, to create tension or to show the audience what kind of society Romeo and Juliet were growing up in. So Shakespeare had to use the characters' speech and actions to do all this and to set the scene for the audience. In Act III, Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet, the character who Shakespeare uses the most to do this is Benvolio. The scene starts with two characters talking, Benvolio and Mercutio. Straightaway the audience can tell what types of people they are from their names, for example "Benvolio" means kind and gentle, whereas "Mercutio" suggests that he has an aggressive and explosive personality. It is likely that the audience would be expecting a conflict from Mercutio and for Benvolio to try and calm down this conflict and they are not disappointed. ...read more.

Middle

Shakespeare uses this to show that there is no sympathy between them. They are edging towards a fight Tybalt: "Mercutio, thou consort'st with Romeo." Mercutio: "Consort! What, dost thou make us minstrels?" The audience would have been concentrating on the argument at this point to see what will come out of it, so when Benvolio interrupts, it is like he stops the action and makes the audience wonder what is going to happen next. It sets the scene for the arrival of Romeo and the tension rises again when he does. The person that Tybalt was hoping to meet has arrived. This is where Shakespeare uses a technique called dramatic irony. Dramatic irony is where the audience knows something that the characters on the stage don't. The audience already know that Romeo has married Juliet in secret so they will be anxious to see what will happen next. They also know that the ending is not a happy one so they know that what does happen next is going to be one of the most important parts of the play. Romeo's speech patterns are not as sudden or nearly as violent as Mercutio's and Tybalt's. He takes his time to say what he wants to say and in the end doesn't say it all. ...read more.

Conclusion

I think that Act III, Scene 1 is important and is the most pivotal point of the play. Everything before builds up to it and everything afterwards is a result of it. When Tybalt kills Mercutio, Romeo goes crazy and seeks revenge on him because he killed someone he deeply loved. Romeo can't control his anger and so contributes to his own unhappiness despite himself. The murder of Tybalt would have come as a shock to the audience as Romeo's character goes from" lover" to "hater". It also shocks the audience because before the murder he refused to fight Tybalt when he was insulting him. It shows us that in the end, Romeo has the potential to be just as hot headed as Mercutio. Another apparent change in this scene is the atmosphere which becomes tenser as the characters are behaving differently and out of control. Act III, Scene 1 is definitely the most pivotal point of the play, because this is the twist in the story. After this everything changes. The Prince banishes Romeo which eventually leads to the final tragedy. This scene is a turning point which can be felt in the mood, the way the characters behave and what happens as a result. It is where happiness and comedy turn to tragedy. ...read more.

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