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Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare - Explain the importance of Act 1 Scene 5

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Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare - Explain the importance of Act 1 Scene 5 In this scene Romeo meets and falls in love with Juliet at her parent's masked ball. Previous to this scene we have learnt that Romeo is very depressed due to the fact that he thinks he is in love with Rosaline, who does not return her love to him. This is called unrequited love. This idea suggests to the audience that he is fickle and typical of a love struck youth. The audience also have discovered that there is much hatred between the Capulet and Montague families, which also include the servants of both families, who brawl in the streets. The opening of the play presents a street brawl started by an instant insult by the servants of both Capulet and Montague. The reason for this feud lies in the history between the two families; however the effects are very clear. Benvolio, Romeo's cousin tries to calm down the situation and is seen to be more sensible, generally when he meets the squabbling servants. "Put up your swords, you know not what you do". ...read more.


Romeo forgets his poor love of Rosaline and he experiences love at first sight. Juliet is seen as some sort of Goddess to Romeo, she is dressed as an angel in the film symbolising her goodness and innocence and Shakespeare uses a religious theme for their encounter. He refers to her as 'holy shrine' of a saint, and a kiss to a prayer. He sees himself as a pilgrim who wants to visit her shrine. This adds to the point that the name Romeo in Italian means pilgrim to Rome. She responds to Romeo's approach by sharing the image, a pilgrim who carried a palm leaf to show he had been to Jerusalem was known as a 'palmer'. Here Juliet plays on the word, comparing it to the palm of the hand. Their speech is a sonnet which symbolises their vision of love towards each other. Juliet's response also shows that she is equal in wit with Romeo. They are both intensely attracted to each other. Romeo compares Juliet to, "a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear" when he first sees her. It is central to the play that important love scenes take place in the dark, away from the disorder that marks the day. ...read more.


It is Juliet's nurse who disturbs them and this is significant because she is the one that is involved in the future meetings of the lovers. She informs Romeo who Juliet is and explains to him that 'he that can lay hold of her, shall have the chinks' In other words her suitor should have plenty of money, which reminds us why Paris was invited the 'ancient feast'. Romeo responds to this detail, 'O dear account! My life is my foe's debt'. He sees this as a costly reckoning as he feels he owes his life to his enemy. Similarly, when Juliet finds out whom Romeo is, having asked the nurse about 'yond gentleman', she states he feelings 'my only love sprung from my only hate'. She sees this as a 'prodigious birth of love' which has the meaning of ominous and foretelling evil. This scene also predicts what will happen, at the end of the play, in both the characters speeches Romeo has already had a dream where he fears something awful if he goes to the party and how he foresees his 'untimely death'. When Juliet finds out that he is a Montague she ironically predicts 'My grave is like to be my wedding bed', an anticipation of events to come. ...read more.

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