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Shakespeare Unit - Act Four, scenes 1-4

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Shakespeare Unit: Act Four, scenes 1-4 Introduction: When anyone thinks of Shakespeare, they normally think of his most famous work: Romeo and Juliet. It is because of this that we are studying it. In particular scenes 1-4 of act four. The events in this act lead up to the final, tragic end. It is because of these important dramatic scenes that we chose to write about this part. Act Four, scene 1 Paris, like everyone else, knowing nothing of Romeo and Juliet's attachment, visits Friar Laurence to make arrangements for his marriage to the bride in question. Juliet enters, followed by polite conversation. Paris unaware of Juliet's objection, is happy to see her. Unfortunately the feelings are not mutual. Paris leaves shortly Friar Laurence devises a plan in desperation, to stop Juliet from going through with the wedding and can reunite with Romeo. He gives her a powerful drug that will so heavily sedate her that she will remain in a "dead" form for 42 hours. He ensures her that after that period of time the drugs affect will wear off and she will awake unharmed. He also says that he will make a letter telling Romeo of the plan, and will return to return to Verona, to take Juliet to Mantua with him. ...read more.


After complaining for some time about her husband staying up all night, she edges in a sly comment of previous experience, stating that he used to go around chasing women all night, and that she now has her eye on him: "ay, you have been a mouse-hunt in your time; but I will watch you from such watching now." Juliet: Juliet is the main character in this scene, the spotlight closely watching her every move. In act four, scene one she is confronted by her troubles, ironically, in the place she has come to speak of this trouble: Paris. In spite of this she maintains her composure in front of Paris, and manages to engage a polite, yet secretly coded conversation. In this scene she shows deception very cleverly. All her replies are indirect, meaning she says things that sound promising to Paris, but does not actually say that she is going to marry him, or indeed that she intends to: "That may be, sir, when I may be a wife" "what must be shall be" Once Paris leaves, she pours her heart out to Friar Laurence. She eagerly accepts Friar Laurence's proposal to use his potion. ...read more.


Secondly, to symbolise that this was the lie that Juliet's life was: happy on the outside, but deep down very tragic and unhappy. She projects the image of those around her, which is happy, even though sadly, she is not. Maybe there is a third being that there is a moral to the story, likely to be along the lines of "Do not force opinion or action upon a person against their will, for the outcome can be cataclysmic," or "Family whilst loving and caring, can also cause quite the opposite, so it's best to meet half way." (Closely linked with A View from the Bridge) I think what Shakespeare was trying to do was get a message across to the audience. At the time his plays were shown, the view on marriage in most families was very similar to this, in that if you were asked to marry someone, by your father, regardless of the fact of whether you know or like the person, you had to, due to the repercussions involved if you were to refuse. So I think that by outlining what happens when the father/mother does such a thing against the son or daughter's will, even though slightly exaggerated, outlined the point that people needed to start behaving differently towards such situations. ...read more.

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