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"Through Close Examination of Two Scenes, Comment on Shakespeare's use of Dramatic Irony, In Romeo and Juliet"

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"Through Close Examination of Two Scenes, Comment on Shakespeare's use of Dramatic Irony, In Romeo and Juliet" I understand that the term, 'Dramatic irony' is the irony that occurs when a situation, or speech for instance, is fully understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play. Shakespeare uses dramatic irony superbly throughout the play, because he leaves the audience in suspense and anticipation whilst leaving the theatre surrounded by tension. This is what I think makes the play a great tragedy because it makes us ask the question, "What if?" What if Romeo hadn't been so hasty in love? What if he hadn't let his emotions (especially rage) control him? In the prologue, the chorus announces, "A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life." The audience is quick to figure out that he means Romeo and Juliet, but they wonder why Shakespeare has just declared the ending at the beginning of the play. I think this is because he is implying to the audience that fate has control over their lives and there is no way to interfere with what has been set for them. This also sets the scene and the audience can now see the play from a new perspective as what they know is revealed before them. What the audience know from the chorus now also plays with their emotions and reactions, as they know what will happen, but how? And when? This also causes more suspense and anticipation and lets them focus on less obvious parts of the play such as the language or actions of the characters. ...read more.


Romeo to make him so filled with hatred and rage, it consumes him completely that he searches for Tybalt to obtain vengeance. When Romeo charges off to seek revenge for the death of his dear friend, he exclaims, "Fire-ey'd fury be my conduct now!" We know these words are incredibly real as from now on the rest of the play is filled with Romeo's hatred and haste controlling him. We know that if he had stayed calm and thought through the consequences of both Tybalt for killing Mercutio and also if he is to kill Tybalt, what would happen to him? But he doesn't stop to think, and even more terrible are yet to come Mercutio's death is vital to the play as if he had not died, Romeo would not have slain Tybalt therefore his banishment would not have been brought about by the prince. This is worse for Romeo, because if he steps foot in Verona again, "That hour will be his last" As we enter Act 5 Scene III, we encounter Paris. He bears flowers and scented water for (what he thought) his beloved wife to be. Suddenly his page on guard whistles, indicating someone comes. Paris asks, "What cursed foot wanders this way tonight?" It is Romeo who approaches, coming to say his final goodbye to his wife. Unlike the audience, Paris does not know they are married, therefore he tries to stop Romeo as he thinks Romeo has come to abuse the family more, "Can vengeance be persu'd further than death?" ...read more.


Last time he asked for his guide, it showed him the way fully and now there is no way to stop him. "O true apothecary, the drugs are quick" Romeo states. We know they were going to be and that they'll fade out his life fast, so there is no hope for him to see his wife alive for one last time. Now with one dead, we know that the play is drawing to an end, but the suspense and anticipation is not over as we now wait for the unawares Juliet to wake. Friar Lawrence enters the scene, unprepared for the worst, although fearing for "some ill unthrifty thing" and when he enters the tomb, Juliet stirs, asking "Where is my Romeo?" and in her hour of need, Friar Lawrence abandons the tomb, leaving her confused and disorientated looking for her husband who was supposed to be by her side, ready to run away from Verona and all their troubles. The last thing to pass Romeo's lips were the words; "Thus with a kiss I die." This creates a very unnerving tension for the audience, as we know that Juliet has yet to find this out, when she is in the tomb with nothing but Romeo's "happy dagger" and watchmen approaching. Now we see the end of such a happy tale filled with romance, delicate and beautiful language, turn into such a tragic tale of hatred and ill fate. If only Romeo had stopped to think after the words, "O I am fortunes fool" had been uttered from his mouth, that they could have so much of a dramatically ironic affect on their fresh and promising lives. By Kate Naylor 10L ...read more.

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