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Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet: Act 1, Scene 5

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Introduction

SHAKESPEARE'S ROMEO & JULIET: ACT 1, SCENE 5 There is a sense of excitement and romance in this scene, but also an undercurrent of danger. These are shown at many points in the scene, such as the point at which the servants are preparing for the party, where Romeo sees Juliet for the first time, where Tybalt discovers that Romeo is a Montague and argues over it with Capulet, where Romeo meets Juliet and they kiss, and where Romeo and Juliet discover each others' identities. In line 1, Servant 1 speaks with annoyance, as he prepares for the dance, as Potpan (another servant) is not working. There is a sense of excitement here, mainly because Romeo and Benvolio are arriving in disguise with the Masquers, at the party of their enemy. In line 2, Servant 1's tone changes to sarcasm; it seems to become "He?! Shift a trencher?!..." In lines 3 & 4, Servant 2 makes a comment about Potpan, saying that he never washes his hands "... and they unwashed too". In line 9, servant 1 calls Anthony and Potpan and tells them that they are wanted elsewhere. When they are told this, Potpan makes a quick remark to the effect of "How can we be in two places at once?" ...read more.

Middle

the ideas of contrasting light with dark, beauty with ugliness, richness with poverty, it seems to stand out against the background, it is precious and stands out from the crowd (an Ethiop was any black person, not necessarily from Ethiopia). It brings to mind he phrase "diamond in the rough". The image of the "snowy dove" among crows brings up many meanings; it could be taken to mean new life, peace, gentleness, or the Holy Spirit. Crows are very closely related to ravens, which are considered to be evil, and so it may be said that again there is a contrast between light and dark, beauty and ugliness, good and evil. "I never saw true beauty 'till this night" - this confirms that he has forgotten about Rosaline, she has become one of the crows. At this point, the atmosphere is most certainly romantic, and the audience is on edge hoping that it all goes well. The mood changes again in line 53, where we hear Tybalt announcing his belief that Romeo is a Montague - there is a direct contrast between Romeo's romantic mood and Tybalt's angry warlike mood. But Tybalt has got completely the wrong end of the stick, he thinks that Romeo is there to mock them and spoil the party, but when actually he is there to find love. ...read more.

Conclusion

The rhyming couplet in lines 104 and 105, suggests their harmony, togetherness, and at that point they kiss. The audience is excited at this point, because neither of them yet knows who the other is, and this atmosphere is very romantic. Now, the party starts drawing to a close, and Romeo asks the Nurse of Juliet's identity as Juliet is talking to her mother, and Juliet then asks the Nurse about Romeo's identity, while he is walking out of the door. By asking about Petruchio and Tiberio before asking Romeo's identity, it makes her enquiries look casual. While the Nurse leaves to ask Romeo's identity of someone else, Juliet makes a rather dangerous comment "If he be married, my grave is like to be my wedding bed". This comment turns out to have a meaning later on in the story, but we do not yet know of this, it is ironic and ominous. The audience is likely to feel sympathetic for Romeo and Juliet at this point. During this scene, the audience has seen Romeo and Juliet grow closer together, and is likely to feel sympathetic, almost sorry for the lovers, as they have discovered each others' identities. We are likely to feel worried and anxious about what is going to happen later on in the courtship, and we are wondering whether the parents will disapprove, or suchlike, due to the family they come from. Ed Bennett 9CJ/N ...read more.

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