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What is the dramatic importance of Act 3: Scene 5 in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet?

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Introduction

What is the dramatic importance of Act 3: Scene 5 in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet? William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet has been described as 'the most tragic love story the world has ever known.' Set in Verona, Shakespeare writes of two feuding families, the Montagues and the Capulets. The cause of the feud is unknown; assumed to be an ancient grudge. Unforeseen by both families, a love between a Montague and a Capulet blossoms. Romeo and Juliet were married in confidence by Friar Lawrence, but following a fatal incident, Romeo was banished to Mantua. However, an ill-fated ploy to reunite Romeo and Juliet had adverse consequences, which led Romeo to believe Juliet is dead, so killed himself. Juliet, in absolute heartbreak, then killed herself! The real tragedy is that it is only as a result of the young couple's tragic end that the opposing families reconcile. I suspect that the key to Romeo and Juliet's popularity is its relevance to everyday people, both then and still today. The aspects of a doomed love affair and oppositions to a love is very much of human experience. And this play is not all fiction; some aspects are true, such as the family names. In the original poem,- entitled Tragecall Historye of Romius and Juliet, translated into French by a man called Pierre Boaistuau in 1595- the story is of a political deadlock between the Montecci's of Verona and the Capelletti's of Cremona. But as far as accuracy goes, that is it. The doomed love and other characters are fictional. ...read more.

Middle

Her presence of mind which she earlier possesses, despite her despair, is lost. She is taken aback: 'I wonder at this haste...to woo.' Here, she protests she is too young to marry, showing that she has had to think quickly for an excuse, as during the 1500's, 13 was a popular age to marry at. Again, Juliet changes at the entrance of her father. Her tactics have now changed from almost self-pitying to confusion: 'Not proud you...is meant love.' Perhaps the confusion connotated from her dialogue reflects the confusion of her thoughts, but either way it shows further themes of opposition, though this one of love versus hatred. To heighten the tension and drama of the scene, Juliet is made to beg: 'Good father... speak a word.' This emphasizes her panic and desperation. By now, both her parents have left her aswell as Romeo, so now she is left to turn to the nurse to counsel and comfort her. The audience expects the nurse to say what Juliet wants to hear, because of the close bond that is present between them early on in the play, but after feeling let down by the nurses reaction, Juliet feels she is left to act without the help of the closest people around her: 'I'll to the Friar... to dies.' This leaves the scene on a cliff-hanger- the audience are left to ask the question that if the Friar cannot help her, would she take such severe measures as to kill herself? Romeo's love for Juliet is, again, mature, represented by Shakespeare's use of passionate and intense language between the two lovers in this scene, creating an affectionate mood. ...read more.

Conclusion

The point at which Juliet sought comfort from the nurse would be expected to have soothed the tense atmosphere, but her pragmatic advice simply inflames it. Through her practical nature and love for Juliet, she tries to advise Juliet to do the right thing, despite seeming disloyal to Juliet. Previously in earlier scenes, the nurse speaks highly of Romeo: 'Well, you have made... as a lamb.' The nurse's change of opinion comes when, in trying to convince Juliet to do what is best, disparages Romeo against Paris: 'Romeo's a dishclout to... no use of him.' This can be taken as a betrayal to Juliet, but in watching the film, when asked of the sincerity of her opinion she seems to hesitate in answering. This suggests to the audience that her opinion has only been changed because she is practical. The nurse is now the final character to abandon Juliet, heightening the drama amongst the audience as to whether this is too much for Juliet to cope with. In conclusion to analysing this scene in context with the rest of the play, I persist in my initial comment that Act 3: Scene 5 is the most dramatically important. I feel that Shakespeare's biggest success is his ability to manipulate the audience's impressions of characters merely by carefully crafting their language. All of the oppositions of the play come to a head in this scene, making the sense of contrast and tension at its strongest. Shakespeare's considerately ordered actions are most crucial in this scene as, if they had occurred differently, this story may not have ended in they way that is globally known today! ?? ?? ?? ?? Rachelle Cloke 11N1 English Coursework- Mrs Fancourt ...read more.

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