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What Makes Act 1 Scene 1 Of Romeo & Juliet Such An Effective Opening

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Introduction

What makes Act 1: Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet such an effective opening? Act 1 Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet is an effective start to the play for many reasons. It helps set the story and this scene very well, and introduces the characters to the audience very well. Firstly, it sets the plot very well. From the very start, we get an understanding of sense of place and purpose. We are clearly told that this is set in Verona, Italy, just by the Scene title. We can also pick out from the start that Capulet's servants, Sampson and Gregory, are joking around together, and boasting they are better than their rival family, the Montagues. The latter family's servant, Abram, soon appears, and we can all envisage a fight commencing. From then on, other characters come in, including Benevolio and Tybalt, but both those have different attitudes to the fight. The Prince eventually stops the fight, as fighting in public back then was not permitted, and they are threatened with death if it happened again. Romeo later comes into the Scene, telling his cousin and good friend, Benevolio, about his unrequited love for Rosaline, and he expresses his thoughts sentimentally. ...read more.

Middle

Romeo, when he comes in in the latter stages of the scene, can be seen as a very love-struck person, who cannot control his emotions well enough, hence his heart-to-heart with his cousin, Benevolio, about his non-mutual love for Rosaline. You can tell he is a very caring type of person though, not wanting to push Rosaline to turn away, but wary and wanting her to love him enough, and he is very confused over his love for her. As well as plots and characters, the use of themes by Shakespeare is also very intricately chosen. The most obvious theme in the whole of Romeo and Juliet is 'love', but for the most of Act 1 Scene 1, where it creates and sets the scene of the current situation effectively, the main theme seems to be 'hatred' and 'conflict'. Certainly in the start, we get a full extent of the two rivalling, warring families, how they both despise and loathe each other, how even their servants hate one another, talking about rape with 'their maidenheads', or 'I bite my thumb, sir', meaning they will go head-to-head no matter what the law permits. ...read more.

Conclusion

O loving hate, 167 O anything, of nothing first create! 168 O heavy lightness, serious vanity, 169 Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms, 170 Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health 171 Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!" 172 I can clearly pick out the distinguishable oxymorons that Shakespeare used to create that sense of a confused man. 'O loving hate', 'O heavy lightness', 'serious vanity', 'misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms', 'feather of lead', 'bright smoke', 'cold fire', 'sick health', and 'still-waking sleep' all show the confused state of mind Romeo is in, and Shakespeare sells this off very well to the audience. Finally, the use of words is also very good to bring out the sense of good and kindness in Benevolio. Shakespeare obviously purposely chose that name, which can be understood as 'good wishes'. Whilst the more aggressive character in Tybalt has such name, probably because of the word 'tyrant', where someone has complete power over others, and uses it in an unjustly manner. It is a very effective start to the play, with all the reasons I have gone on about, and Romeo and Juliet looks to get more exciting as it develops. Well done Shakespeare! ?? ?? ?? ?? Martin Li (c) 9E ...read more.

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