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Romeo & Juliet - Act 3 Scene 1

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Introduction

Romeo & Juliet Prior to Act 3 Scene 1 we witness the happiest moment in the play - the marriage between Romeo and Juliet. This occurs in secret because Juliet is a Capulet and Romeo is a Montague, there is an on-going fued between their families. This play is a classic example of a Shakespearean comedy - Juliet's father is very strict with her, she and Romeo are mis-matched lovers (they cannot be together because of the fued between their families), and Juliet fakes her death to be with Romeo. These are the basic characteristics of a Shakespearean comedy/romance. After the marriage, the genre of the play changes from romantic comedy to tragedy. This happens when Mercutio and Tybalt die. There is dramatic irony in that, in the beginning of the play, in the chorus, we are told "A pair of star cross'd lovers take their lives", so we know that Romeo and Juliet will commit suicide, but the characters don't have a clue. At the beginning of Act 3 Scene 1, Benvolio attempts to persuade Mercutio to leave. He wants to avoid a public fight because the Duke will order banishment or death upon the person whoo starts the next fight between the Capulets and Montagues in public. ...read more.

Middle

In this scene, he is determined to fight Romeo - after getting annoyed with Mercutio, Tybalt ignores him and goes after Romeo. Mercutio is a provocative joker, even at the hour of his death. He is determined to maintain his honour. This is why he became so angry when Romeo backed down from a fight with Tybalt. In Act 3 Scene 1 we see a shift in Romeo's character, from being a lover - very passive, almost effeminate - to a lethal avenger, when he kills Tybalt. He becomes so overcome with anger that he does not think of the consequences and he ruins his chances of living 'happily ever after' with Juliet. In the film version of Romeo & Juliet, Baz Luhrmann's (the director) dramatisation of this scene is exceptional. A close-up at the beginning of the scene makes clear the worry on Benvolio's face. As the Capulets arrive on the scene the camera focuses on their shiny silver guns, making it obvious that they are armed and dangerous. Mercutio is portrayed as a preening provocateur by Harold Perrineau as he mocks Tybalt. Th next part of the scene is staged as a western 'high-noon' shootout. ...read more.

Conclusion

The hate comes through as Romeo murders Tybalt because he hates him for killing Mercutio, as well as when Tybalt says, "Peace, I hate the word. As I hate hell, all Montagues." That quote also shows the rivalry between the Montagues and the Capulets. This petty fued, however, has drastic consequences as shown in this scene. The whole fued is just childish antagonism up to this point, but the realisation of their actions converts it into genuine adult grief. The play is typical of its time in that religion is very important - the priest plays a key role in the play by arranging the marriage of Romeo and Juliet. The men are bound by honour. When Romeo backs down from the fight he is seen as effeminate because he is not being honourable and accepting the challenge. Juliet is being forced to marry Paris - arranged marriages were very common back then. This scene is of great importance to the play as, were it not for this scene, the deaths of Mercutio and Tybalt would not have occurred, Romeo would not have been banished, there would not have been the double suicide of Romeo and Juliet, and everyone would have happily ever after - and let's face it, no one wants that! Tremaine Bilham ...read more.

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