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The two key themes of Romeo and Juliet could be describes as love and hate. In Shakespeare's presentation of Act 1 Scene 5, how are these contrasting ideas represented through the characters at the ball?

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Introduction

The two key themes of Romeo and Juliet could be describes as love and hate. In Shakespeare's presentation of Act 1 Scene 5, how are these contrasting ideas represented through the characters at the ball? During Romeo and Juliet love is juxtaposed constantly with hate. This is shown through language and actions of the characters, and also by the layout and setting of the play itself. For instance the love between Romeo and Juliet is contradicted by the hate between the two families, Montague and Capulet. During Act 5 Scene 1 these emotions are highlighted. Shakespeare does this to highlight the struggle the young couple are facing. Shakespeare's use of language is very deliberate to highlight the emotions and relationships between the characters. When Romeo and Juliet are together biblical, heavenly images are conjured up. "This holy shrine, the gently is this". This shows that it is almost divine intervention, an act of god for the couple to be together. Also that it is a natural relationship. The heavenly images are juxtaposed with Tablet's fiery hellish tongue. Shakespeare portrays Tybalt in this way to highlight the feud between the families- the contrast between heaven and hell. This is also effective because it draws the audience into the play and forces their involvement and as they almost choose a side as if they were themselves part of the feud. ...read more.

Middle

This is a constant rhythm that is also like the continuous rhythm of their love for each other. Throughout the play extended metaphors are used. In Act 1 Scene 3 the theme of love is raised, in this care Lady Capulet's love for Juliet, in an extended metaphor of writing between the lines eighty-five and ninety-four. Lady Capulet believes Juliet needs a cover or husband; she believes this should be Paris and not Romeo. This highlights the period the play was set. In Elizabethan England, Juliet would be married at her young age of thirteen. Elizabethan audiences saw no problem with this as it was another part of their customs but audiences nowadays question why Shakespeare had thee main character to be very young. If the play was set in the twenty-first century that we are in, Juliet might be in her twenties, which is a huge difference. This highlights not only the changes in time but that " a text is a product of a period in history". Shakespeare continually alters the pace of the play through bout punctuation, "quarrel, sir? No. sir" and sentence length. "Retain that dear perfection which he owes" Shakespeare uses heavily punctuated sentences like the one in Act 1, Scene 5, to portray both hate and the tense atmosphere. ...read more.

Conclusion

The couple also bring back memories fro the audience of what they had to do to be with their first true love. They audience see the couple as the 'happy ending' in the play which is shown to be tragically false and ironic. By having the two contrasting events in the one scene so early in the play I feel, kick-starts the action and immediately makes the audience sympathize with Romeo and Juliet. By doing this so early in the play allows the audience to develop strong feelings and a personal relationship with them so when the end for the couple arrives the audience are affected more. The relationship the audience built with two main on stage characters, Romeo and Juliet, heightens the tragedy of their death and emphasizes the waste of their death and feud between the two families. The audiences' feelings of love towards the couple change to anger and almost hatred towards the remaining family members. The audience's emotions are mixed which again shows the many sides of love, when both families realise what their fighting has done. The audience fell relieved that they have both finally seen that the feud cannot continue, but the audience feel annoyed that the young couple had to die from both families to realise that. The audience also wish that the Capulets and Montagues could have seen the error of their ways earlier in the play. This reinforces the message/ morals the audience are to take from the play. ...read more.

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