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Romeo & Juliet:Describe the tension in Act 3 Scene 1

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Introduction

Romeo and Juliet Speaking Exam Intro: * Romeo and Juliet was written by William Shakespeare in the 1500's, and is the story of two "star-cross'' lovers from two rival families who find love with one another amongst the hate and violence between their two families. * The play belongs to the genre of plays known as "tragedies", and more specifically, belongs to "Romantic Tragedy", a genre Shakespeare created, and started off with this very play. "Romeo and Juliet" is a tragedy as the two main characters (Romeo and Juliet), die at the end of the play. * The main themes of the play: Love, Destiny, Power, Honour, "Masculinity and Manhood". * Socio-historical Context: Male Dominance, Arranged Marriage, Plague, City of Verona-City associated with hot-blooded people. Act 1 Scene 1: * The Elizabethan society was strongly male-dominant, and men had the role of the "breadwinner", the person who works and earns income. Women were thought of as "mothers and child bearers" and were considered "subservient" to men. Masculinity is a key theme of this scene- servants show off and boast - "I strike quickly to be moved." ...read more.

Middle

This atmosphere is "turned on its head" and is contrasted sharply with the very tense and violent scene of Act 3 Scene 1. Shakespeare does this to draw in the attention of the audience, and to show the contrast between love and hate, a very core theme of the play. * Shakespeare highlights the faults of the upper-class, and more importantly, of men in this scene. The fight between Mercutio and Tybalt which lead to both of them being killed was caused by the simple fault of arrogance, and the need for upper-class men to live upto their "reputation", their "manhood", and their need to compete for power. This could have reflected the social situation at the time, and Shakespeare could have been trying to send a message to these men in the upper class of society that their boisterous ways can only lead to unfortunate outcomes. * At the beginning of the scene, the atmosphere is quite relaxed, yet tense and agitated, due to the scorching heat of the day, and the restlessness of Mercutio. ...read more.

Conclusion

This plague is associated with death and devastation. This is the point at which the play turns for the worst. Before this scene, and this point in the scene, the play was heading towards a happy outcome, with Romeo and Juliet marrying in an effort to join the two families. After this point, Mercutio and Tybalt are killed, and Romeo exiled. It could be said that this curse foreshadows the rest of the play and inevitably leads to the end outcome of the play, with both Romeo and Juliet taking their lives. * Conclusion This scene is vital, as it is the climax of the whole play, and is the point at which the play turns for the worst. This scene creates a feeling of pity and fear within the audience, which is the main purpose of a tragedy play and "flips" the whole play around, and converts the atmosphere from one of peace and love to one of hate, violence and bloodshed. Shakespeare also points out many of the flaws of Society in this scene, and communicates with the audience, showing them that the beliefs of "male dominance" and the attitudes of the upper-class must be eradicated to create a peaceful, happier society. Fahmi Ally ...read more.

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