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Violence and Conflict are central to Romeo and Juliet. Discuss this theme with reference to act 1, scene 1 and act, 3 scene 1 and how you would bring out all of the tensions if you were directing the scenes.

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Introduction

Violence and Conflict are central to Romeo and Juliet. Discuss this theme with reference to act 1, scene 1 and act, 3 scene 1 and how you would bring out all of the tensions if you were directing the scenes. By Charlie THOMAS In the play Romeo and Juliet, the main characters; "two star-crossed lovers", called Romeo and Juliet, are victims of a fierce battle between the warring families of Montague and Capulet. These Italian families have a strong sense of family respect, dignity and standards and refuse to adopt or accept one another's power and presence in order to achieve peace in "fair Verona". The scenes I will be focusing on are Act 1 Scene 1 and Act 3 Scenes 1, these scenes both contain similar situations that both feature direct conflict where characters of opposing families come into physical contact and see each other in the flesh. In both these scenes the servants from each family act rudely and aggressively towards each other, and are thus both as bad as each other in the way they torment and aggravate and provoke one another's feelings and emotions. There is also a great tension between both sides, which more often than not ends in violent confrontation, (i.e. aggressive gestures, sarcastic remarks and offensive language). Shakespeare roughly based his version of Romeo and Juliet on a love poem published in 1562 called The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet, by Arthur Brooke, perhaps which inspired him to recreate it into a dramatic tragedy/love story. ...read more.

Middle

Tybalt then feels confused, and interprets Romeos bizarre behaviour as a threat and then, when Mercutio mocks and questions him in saying "good king of cats, nothing but one of your nine lives, that I mean to make bold withal, and as you shall use me hereafter dry-beat the rest of the eight" generates anger in Tybalt, as mercuitio outlines his 'nine lives' and effectively how he will 'dry-beat' the rest of his eight, meaning he'll beat the rest of his lives dry. This in turn and how he will where after Romeo unexpectedly orders Mercutio and Benvolio to 'beat down their weapons' but then complains the families are forbidden to brawl in the streets. Then, just as Romeo is telling Mercutio and Tybalt to hold down their weapons, Tybalt slyly lunges for Mercutio under Romeo's arm and severely injures him. Romeo later realizes he will be blamed for Mercutio's death. There are a number of things that could alter the effect of tension between the characters and in the situation by directing it differently. I would keep the setting in the same age, as I think it suits the idea of very harsh bloody sword battles between the families, plus I also think it goes well with the big Italian families that care about respect. I would make the families wear totally contrasting colours such as red and blue to show their difference in opinion and to distinct enemies from one another, I also think this would help the actors and audience understand the family's deep hatred for one another in more depth. ...read more.

Conclusion

My adjustments to these two scenes, I hope would have a overall affect on the audience in that it would shock and surprise them, with snappy new ideas to help increase tension. I hope the tension I intended to create would be riveting to watch. My Ideas however I think were designed to engage the audience in situations and really make them feel the characters feelings rather than bring out violence and conflict, as I feel this would actually be more tense than if I lets say just added some blood and guts. The play Romeo and Juliet surprised me. It showed me that Shakespeare used the violent plot to cover a whole number of captivating scenes. Despite the play being named a tragic love story, its content is extremely violent (Physically, verbally and mentally). My favourite scene is act 3, scene 1 as it contains the strange conversation between Tybalt and Romeo, that I think is very awkward. I like it as I can recognize what feeling Shakespeare was trying to get across; Romeos despair in trying to be accepted by Tybalt. The themes which I think have direct relevance with today are: the tiring and longing ordeal of violence that has continued throughout mankind's existence, (as it does throughout the play); wars, which continue to this day (as in the play); and the fact that, when both Romeo and Juliet die, the families reach an agreement to stop fighting, which gives us hope in the real world that conflict might someday also come to a halt. ...read more.

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