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Shakespeare Coursework: 'Romeo and Juliet' Why does the play still appeal to audiences so long after it was written? Use references to Act 1, Scene 5 (1.5) and Act 3, Scene 5 (III.5) to explain.

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GCSE English and English Literature Shakespeare Coursework: 'Romeo and Juliet' Why does the play still appeal to audiences so long after it was written? Use references to Act 1, Scene 5 (1.5) and Act 3, Scene 5 (III.5) to explain. Four hundred years ago, William Shakespeare wrote what is perhaps the world's best-loved play: 'Romeo and Juliet'. It still plays to packed theatres, all over the world, and has been adapted and rewritten for thousands of operas, musicals, films and plays. However, a close look at the structure and content of "Romeo and Juliet" can explain the play's timeless appeal. The play is constructed with an astonishing complexity. A large number of related impressions, ideas and emotions are woven together throughout the play; this ensures an audience's interest is maintained throughout. The play changes from violence to beauty (1.5, lines 91-94), and from abundant love to malicious hate (III.5, lines 52-55). There is music and dancing (I.5), fantasy and nonsense (I.4, lines 54-97). There is lively festivity and peaceful moonlight (II.1-II.2), the unhappy dawn in the bedroom and the desperate suicides in the tomb (III.5/V.3); all of these combine to form an emotionally and dramatically charged play. The complexity of the plot in Act 3, Scene 5 is worthy of note. In this scene we learn that Juliet is to marry Paris against her will. ...read more.


I.5, line 53) is immediately followed by Tybalt's threat to kill Romeo ("To strike him dead I hold it not a sin" I.5, line 59). The emotions are so different that thy make the other seem bigger by comparison: the drama of both emotions enthrals and involves an audience of any era.. Shakespeare builds on this technique with uses of contrasting language to reflect the conflicting feelings of the characters. A demonstration of this is Act I, Scene 5, lines 44-59: from lines 44-53 Romeo speaks of his love for Juliet in a poetic soliloquy, this is written in verse with a strict iambic pentameter. The first half of the speech uses strong metaphors and imagery to describe Juliet's beauty: "Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear" (line 59) and comparing her radiance to the brightness of light: "O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!" (line 54). In the second half of the soliloquy Romeo speaks of his love for Juliet; using poetic metaphors to establish his view of Juliet as a saint: "And, touching hers, make blessed my rude hand" (line 51). The speech continues to follow a strict Iambic rhythm, with consecutive pairs of lines rhyming and 10 syllables in each line, ending in a rhyming couplet: "Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! ...read more.


However, "Romeo and Juliet" would have little or no historic interest to the audiences of the 16th century; nevertheless, Shakespeare's plays were valid and popular then too, this is because the Shakespearean audiences found pleasure in different things, for example, audiences in the 1500s were more aware of the wordplay and language used by Shakespeare. When William Shakespeare wrote "Romeo and Juliet" in the 16th century, the theatre was, unarguably, a very different place, as were the audiences who gathered there. In the 16th century, drama served as universal entertainment; prior to a play, the rich and the very poor would mix with merchants, wares-men and performers. The theatre was expected to provide music, dance, song and poetry, all of which added dramatic appeal. "Romeo and Juliet" provided all these things to its 16th century audiences and yet today it is still popular because although the audiences needs have changed, the play can still provide for the 21st century. Consequently, the play has survived the 400 years since it was written and is still popular today. The essential factors for any play to ensure the audience is enthralled are very much the same today as in the 16th century. Human beings may appear more sophisticated but the basic themes of Characters, Complexity, Language skills, Powerful emotions and Relevant issues which are discussed above, are as evident in today's modern films as in a 16th century Romantic Tragedy. Sarah Clay : 10.1A English Language and Literature 1 ...read more.

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