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The Prologue tells us a few important details - that the Montagues and the Capulets are "alike in dignity", that there is an ancient feud between the two families and that the grudge between them ends only with the deaths of their children.

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Introduction

You can examine the dramatic impact of the opening quarrel between the servants . Show how the petty quarrel that they don't understand immediately creates an atmosphere of dissension and violence. Look at the sordid jokes that these uneducated men make and explain that the whole effect is one of ignorance and increasing unrest. Trace the way that the quarrel escalates into something much more serious: this shows us the way that a meaningless feud can spread to all sections of society and cause more and more difficulties. Show how the silly bickering of the lowest members of the social hierarchy leads to the much more significant and frightening confrontation between Tybalt and Benvolio. Then you can go onto show how we are introduced to the quarrelling houses in the context of the street brawl. This helps to mould our opinion of the whole feud, making us see that it demeans the dignity of the older generation by bringing them to the same level in public as their servants. Describe the violence of the fight between Tybalt and Benvolio, explaining the impact on the audience of this one to one combat early in the play: we feel apprehension for the future as such an event takes place. ...read more.

Middle

Romeo is saddened by the fight, saying he's seen it all before. At the beginning he's presented as suffering through unrequited love: he loves Rosaline but she does not return his love. Romeo is seen to be very melancholy because of this, spending hours shut up in his room, or wandering alone through the grove of sycamores. It is for the purpose of showing him other women that they decide to gatecrash the Capulet party. Act 1 Scene 5 is the best place to look to see love and hate side by side. It is in this scene that Romeo and Juliet meet and fall in love. It is also in this scene that they find out that they are from rival families and are dismayed by the discovery. Tybalt reflects hatred in this scene when he learns who Romeo is, and swears he will get revenge. In an introductory paragraph you can't include all this, but you would be best off giving a general overview of what the theme of love and hate is like in the first act. First, it is important to understand what dramatic irony is. ...read more.

Conclusion

Benvolio is seen as a peace maker, whereas Tybalt hates peace and says as much. This characteristic of Tybalt is the one that makes him seek revenge for Romeo gatecrashing the Capulet party later in the play. The Prince's decree is also vitally important. He says that if any of them are caught brawling within the city walls again they will be put to death. Obviously, this is in the back of the audience's mind when Tybalt challenges Romeo to a duel, and both Mercutio and Tybalt are killed. We fear that Romeo will be killed for his involvement, yet he is only banished. As it turns out, the banishment leads to his death anyway. The violence in Act 1 is designed to be contrasted with the love in the play. The fury of the first scene is set against Romeo's unrequited love for Rosaline. As an opening, the fight draws the audience immediately into the play, and because we don't know much about the characters we don't have sympathy on either side of the feud. Once the fight has been stopped, then we want to learn about what could have possibly caused it. The little argument at the beginning was so trivial, but it had massive consequences. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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