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Romeo & Juliet - Act 3 Scene 1

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How does Shakespeare create tension in Act 3 Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet? "Romeo and Juliet" is one of the most famous plays written by Shakespeare, it is famous for its intense romance. It was written in the 17th century and by reading the play it is quite obvious that people at that time had very different views on life than the present time. At the time of Shakespeare, religion was an extremely serious matter, things such as honour and the importance of family were extremely valued and any that went against or ridiculed these beliefs were considered criminals. For these reasons Shakespeare decided he would set the entire play in Italy to avoid confrontation from the people. The main scene of the play will be analysed, Act 3 Scene 1, in this scene the mood of the play changes from happiness to sadness and changes the whole play, making it a key scene in "Romeo and Juliet". The techniques used by Shakespeare, such as pathetic fallacy, to create tension in this dramatic part of the play will also be analysed. Before this scene there is already a certain degree of tension throughout the play; the most obvious one is before the beginning, the prologue, which tells the audience that this story will end in tragedy, thus ultimately death. ...read more.


Despite these warnings Mercutio refuses to leave because he is not scared of an encounter with the Capulets. Mercutio then criticizes his fear and points out how Benvolio was always involved in the previous fights between the houses, this particular part of the scene creates a lot of tension and Mercutio's willingness to stay increases it further. It is also interesting to note the setting chosen by Shakespeare. "Romeo and Juliet" is set in Verona in Italy, at the time things such as love were not acceptable on stage. Shakespeare moved it to Italy to avoid confrontation and scepticism from the audience and authorities. Many had never travelled before and getting a glimpse of what happened outside of the country was extremely interesting, this factor gave even more attention at that time to this play. At the beginning of the scene only Benvolio and Mercutio are there, the tension is rising because of Mercutio's refusal to go home. When Tybalt and the Capulets arrive there is a major increase in tension because there will surely be a fight, as they start to argue and then eventually start to fight there is a great amount of tension. When Romeo enters the tension starts to increase rapidly as Tybalt approaches him after disregarding the fight with Mercutio. Tybalt starts to fight Romeo, which results in the death of Mercutio, because of this Romeo is infuriated and kills Tybalt when he returns. ...read more.


Benvolo is very important character in the play. He takes the part of the narrator in most scenes; he also helps recap events when there is a fast paced scene. He told the Prince what happened when the two houses clashed and Mercutio and Tybalt died. His helps the audience have a better understanding of the play and makes it easier to understand. He keeps the audience "up to date" and helps the tension remain throughout the play. A interesting thing to note is that characters of high rank always talk in riming couplets, this is Shakespeare's way to tell the audience they are important. Although it is not a major role Benvolio's part is helpful for the understanding of the play. Shakespeare uses a lot of techniques to create tension. Pathetic fallacy is when inanimate objects reflect human emotions, for example, as I said before, the weather in Act 3 Scene 1. Another technique used is dramatic irony; this is when the audience know something that the characters don't know such as Romeo and Juliet's marriage, which ultimately led to everyone's death. Another technique, which I have not mentioned, is juxtaposition, which is when there are two contrasting emotions which closely follow each other, for example when Romeo and Juliet get married it is very happy, then when everyone died it was sad. Using these techniques Shakespeare has created a truly compelling, fascinating and deeply emotional piece which is appreciated by everyone around the globe. ...read more.

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