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Using your knowledge of the range of reasons for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet in what sense does Shakespeare create dramatic tension?

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Introduction

Laura Hogan 11 Sefton Using your knowledge of the range of reasons for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet in what sense does Shakespeare create dramatic tension? 'Romeo and Juliet' die as a direct consequence of the war and feuding within their society. The main themes in the play; fate, feuds, domineering fathers, and adolescent passion, coincide with the fatal mistakes each character makes contributing to the tragedy at the end of the play. The audience never quite knows what to expect and the fortuitous events create dramatic tension between the characters and the audience. Shakespeare's characters and the language he uses pertaining to love fear and hate, establishes a hostile and merciless atmosphere. Shakespeare's repetition of oxymorons, metaphors and similes formulates imagery, puns and sonnets. The prologue is written in the form of a sonnet, a fourteen line poetic piece of writing. Shakespeare's use of phrases for example, 'a pair of star-crossed lovers take their life' and 'death marked love' creating a sense of atmospheric tension before the play has begun. The audience would therefore realise that their love is doomed from the start that their death is written in the stars. ...read more.

Middle

serious both houses are about the hatred between them, proving that 'Romeo and Juliet' are not going to have an easy time trying to stay together. Benvolio attempts to make the peace, 'Part fools put up your swords'. (Act1 Scene1, lines 55-56) The prince puts an abrupt end to the battle. 'Your lives shall pay the forfeit'. The audience wonders how long the family can contain the hatred and violence that they have against each other. In the next outbreak of violence Tybalt kills Mercutio who is then slain by Romeo. Men from both households are looking for trouble. The hot summers day creates tension between the characters and shortens their tempers. The Capulets assume Juliet pines for Tybalt, not for the banishment of Romeo, and consequently the marriage with Paris is arranged, in order to end her misery. 'a`Thursday tell her, /she shall be married.' (Act 3 Scene 4) A hasty marriage that is quietly introduced adds greater momentum to the pace of events, and the velocity of the play increases, Juliet shows great desperation to escape an unwanted marriage. Juliet's domineering father sympathises with her over the supposed grief of Tybalt but when Juliet refuses to obey him, he will 'drag thee on a hurdle thither' and will repudiate her. ...read more.

Conclusion

Their deaths make them permanent symbols of the power of love, which is achieved through all adversity. Shakespeare was aware of the power of individual free will. The characters often ignore the authority of the state, family and church. Daughters should have obeyed their fathers, Mercutio should have obeyed the rules set by the prince. The Friar preaches about the sin of suicide, and yet 'Romeo and Juliet' eventually choose to take that path, in the tomb, to be reunited. The Friar is afraid to be caught in case he is blamed, and held responsible, for the tragedy and deaths of 'Romeo and Juliet'. 'I dare no longer stay' (Act 5 Scene 3). This also shows that the Friar did not care much for the lives of 'Romeo and Juliet', because he does not say much to persuade Juliet to follow him out of the tomb. Shakespeare creates dramatic tension and an atmosphere of suspense, by generating a number of reasons for the deaths of 'Romeo and Juliet'. The lovers are unstoppably impelled through a sequence of events and caught up in circumstances beyond their control. Fate has taken over and the actions they take are written in the stars. It is the pace of events and urgency in the play that creates the apprehensive atmosphere and compelling drama. ...read more.

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