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Shakespeare's creation of dramatic tension in Romeo & Juliet

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How does Shakespeare create dramatic tension in Act 4: Scene 3? Shakespeare generates an atmosphere filled with dramatic tension and apprehension creating an emotional and psychological conflict between the characters, using a variety of different techniques, including his use of language and stage directions in his romantic but tragic play 'Romeo and Juliet'. The most obvious situation where Shakespeare displays this type of tension is when Juliet demonstrates her strength whilst developing into a self-confident, faithful, and capable woman, previously being an obedient and sheltered child. Juliet requests the Nurse and Lady Capulet to let her spend the night prior to her wedding by herself, 'I pray thee leave me to myself to-night, for I have need of many orisons' (Act 4: Scene 3: line 2-3) displaying glimpses of her determination and strength, by purposely lying to the adults, giving the audience an impression of betrayal and disloyalty towards her parents. During this point Shakespeare hasn't given they Nurse any lines to respond to Juliet, expressing the fact that the tension between the two of the women is growing, and has begun to disperse since the Nurse feels guilty, knowing that it was somewhat her fault that Juliet was about to commit bigamy. Juliet continues '...upon my state...full of sin...you let me now be left alone...in this so sudden business...' ...read more.


In this scene she could be shaking her head, whilst saying the words '...No, no....' in an uncompromising and demanding voice. The adjective 'This...' could be said in a more pleasing but rasp voice whilst she cautiously stares without blinking at the weapon of death, since she has now found a solution if the potion concedes to react. The tension increases, since she has now established a more excruciating way to die, being glad to have found a solution to her dilemma, whilst displaying her increase in confidence. The interjection 'no' expresses her denial and refusal to believe that she will survive and carry on with her life without Romeo. The tension strengthens, as Juliet confidently proves that she has the ability to accomplish her destiny, exemplifying her determination to endure the agony of death, regardless of what it takes to reunite with Romeo. The use of the strong verb 'forbid' continues to emphasize her strong sense of determination and willpower, prohibiting and refusing to allow her to live, without her husband. Although Juliet places her trust on the Friar, she continually hesitates before taking the potion, irrationally questioning herself 'What if it be poison...subtly...ministered...to have me dead' (Act 4: Scene 3: Line 24-25) displaying the lack of trust. The use of rhetorical questions add tension and explains to the audience that Juliet is once again uncertain and doubtful about taking the potion and placing her trust on the Friar. ...read more.


This line is monosyllabic and includes imperatives 'stay' suggesting that she's giving an extremely important order, begging her cousin not to haunt and torment her or Romeo's lives, increasing the tension. The exclamation marks suggest that she's startled and most probably delivers these lines using a desperate voice. In conclusion, Shakespeare has presented numerous areas displaying dramatic tension in this scene, as Juliet dramatically transforms into an assertive woman, previously being an anxious and nervous teenager. The most obvious is when Juliet goes against what is expected of a woman during the Elizabethan period, displaying the fact that she's able to think for herself, make her own decisions and having the courage to act independently whilst scheming her impetuous future to be with Romeo. Her trust between her family and loved ones collapses once Romeo is banished from Verona, resulting to her irrational but audacious actions to reunite with him. In general, Shakespeare portrays Juliet as a courageous woman of beauty and strength, battling against the powers of her family and a path full of perplexing obstacles, to lead a content life with her beloved husband. Unfortunately, her tragic ending reflects upon her commitment and dedication towards her marriage as she desperately followed her heart, guiding her towards her death; the ultimate destiny. ?? ?? ?? ?? Anushki Jayasekera 10A ...read more.

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