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Romeo & Juliet

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Romeo and Juliet By William Shakespeare How does Shakespeare create tension in Act 3, Scene 5, through his presentation of relationships between adults and children Act 3, Scene 5 is an important scene in the play because it shows a change in relationships which greatly affects how the watching audience sees some of the major characters in the play. It is also a part of the play which greatly increases the difficulty in Romeo and Juliet's marriage, and adds much tension, which translates on stage to entertainment. This essay aims to outline some of the ways Shakespeare uses the relationships between adults and children. In order to understand why this scene is tense, we must look at what has happened in the play before our key scene, and gain some understanding of Romeo and Juliet's awkward situation. Romeo and Juliet are from two prominent and feuding families who reside in the city of Verona, a real city in northern Italy. As far as the audience are aware, they are their parents' only offspring, the only other 'children' in the family are Benvolio cousin to Romeo and Tybalt cousin Juliet respectively. As only children, their parents are naturally protective over them, Juliet's father, especially. Towards the beginning of the play, in Act 1, Scene 2, Paris asks Capulet for permission to marry his daughter. In Elizabethan times (when the play was written and performed), it was the job of the father to give away the daughter, as if she were a present or his property, rather than her own person. Rather than just give away his daughter to Paris, `a young nobleman, kinsman to thePrince`, and someone who would be seen as a 'good catch' for a husband, he tells him: 'But going o'er what I have said before, My child is yet a stranger in the world, She hath not seen the change of fourteen years, Let two more summers wither in their pride, Ere we may think her ripe to be a ...read more.


The speech also starts in the iambic pentameter, which follows the rhythmic beating of your heart, but then goes out slightly towards the end, this can be seen to show that Capulet is getting more and more worked up in his determination to control his daughter and starting to lose control. Shakespeare also uses direct address 'mistress minion, you' to make the speech seem more direct and focused, asyndetic listing to make his list of words to throw back at Juliet appear longer, poetic word-play to make the speech more interesting, fricative alliteration, and violent verbs such as 'drag' to make the speech more powerful. Until this point it seems that there may be a chance for Juliet to brush the wedding aside and perhaps convince her parents to like Romeo. However, after this there seems to be very little chance of that happening. The tenseness in the audience shifts from the state of Romeo and Juliet's marriage to concern for Juliet's welfare. After this outburst, Lady Capulet asks her husband if she is mad, although she doesn't appear much of a mother, this may suggest that she holds her only daughter in higher regard than her husband does. It seems that perhaps this relationship isn't quite as bad as it previously appeared. However, by trying to calm her husband, she may anger him further, this coupled with the knowledge that Lady Capulet too thinks that this is perhaps getting a little out of hand, creates yet more tension. 'Good father, I beseech you on my knees, Hear me with patience but to speak a word. [She kneels down]' Juliet now pleads with her father on her knees. The audience really feel the tension now, as it seems that the relationship between Juliet and her father are coming to the point of no return. Kneeling down is also a very dramatic and meaningful gesture, she is putting herself at her father's mercy. ...read more.


All that Capulet needed to do was to ask his daughter of her opinion before arranging her to be married or for Lady Capulet to respect Juliet's wishes to delay the marriage for a month so that she could get things straightened out. In the end the feuding families of Montague and Capulet finally settle their differences at a price - as prince states at the end of act 5, 'For never was a story of more woe Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.' To put the play into context, readers must understand some things about Elizabethan society. Elizabethan society was what is known as a patriarchal society, which is a society governed by men. Women had very little individual power or influence, and fathers were seen as the head of the household and were to be obeyed. Daughters were regarded as possessions of their fathers, something that could be 'given away' to a candidate that the father decrees as suitable. This would have made Juliet's arguing with her father very unorthodox and shocking - a woman, arguing with her father, the man who possessed her. Children were expected to obey adults at all time, their word was law. Adults and children didn't have the sorts of friendly, easygoing relationships that we have today. Children were to obey and not have strong opinions or an unhealthy amount of free will - both of which Juliet possesses. Religion was also a big part of Elizabethan society. Marriage was seen as a holy event and was also a big family event. For Juliet to have had a rushed wedding with very few people (and no family members) present would have been very unusual to the Elizabethan audience. The idea of suicide would also have been much more shocking to an audience in the Elizabethan era. Whereas nowadays suicide is seen as taking your own life, Elizabethans had the added shock of a woman going against gods will. Towards the beginning of the scene, Juliet expresses quite explicitly that she would like to 'wreak her love upon Romeo's body'. ...read more.

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