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What methods does Shakespeare employ to engage interest of theaudience in the Prologue and Act 1, scenes 1, 2 and 3 in Romeo and Juliet?

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Introduction

What methods does Shakespeare employ to engage interest of the audience in the Prologue and Act 1, scenes 1, 2 and 3 in Romeo and Juliet? Romeo and Juliet is a romantic tragedy set in the great city of Verona in Italy. The play concerns two noble but feuding families, the Montagues and the Capulets. Their feud has become so intense in the time of the play that bloody brawls are fought in the usually quiet and peaceful streets of Verona. These brawls involve even the servants of the rival families who cannot pass each other in the street without drawing swords! Within these two families are the two title characters that fall deeply in love which other. Romeo of the Montagues is a young man who is unable to get over his last love, Rosaline. This changes when he sees his love of first sight, Juliet of the Capulets. Juliet's parents have plans for her to marry a wealthy young man named Paris, yet Juliet does not love him and has already married Romeo in secret. Romeo is banished from Verona and his plans to unite with Juliet go horribly wrong, ending with the deaths of the two lovers. The play ends with the two families uniting. Throughout the play Shakespeare uses a wide range of dramatic devices to engage the interest of his audience. This was important if only to overcome the physical discomfort for the audience as the theatres in Shakespeare's day were far from how they are today and the audience's interest could therefore easily be lost. ...read more.

Middle

The talk of Paris marrying Juliet is the first the audience has heard about a possible union between the two, this acting as another obstruction that Romeo will soon have to pass. However, it seems that Capulet can be a kind hearted man as he realizes Juliet's position to choose for herself on whom she marries: But woo her, gentle Paris, get her heart My will to her consent is but a part. But his power to force her into a marriage if he feels it necessary is noticeably present from his general personality. Therefore parental influence in this story becomes a means of fate: Juliet's arranged marriage with Paris, and the feud between Capulets and Montagues, will eventually contribute to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. The means that determinants of their fate are laid in place well before Romeo and Juliet even meet. This is clear to the audience from the Prologue and their knowledge is greater than that of Romeo and Juliet's. The audience is therefore interested to see how Paris, Romeo and Juliet, along with the family feuds and social burdens all contribute to the final tragedy. Shakespeare also introduces an unexpected surprise for the audience in Scene Two by declaring Romeo's love for Rosaline: One fairer than my love! The all-seeing sun Ne'er saw her match, since first the world begun. With the play entitled 'Romeo and Juliet', the audience would automatically expect the play to be based on the events entailed in the love between Romeo and Juliet. ...read more.

Conclusion

there been seen, With tears augmenting the fresh morning's dew, Adding to clouds more clouds with his deep sighs; He ends this speech with a rhymed couplet: Black and portentous must this humour prove Unless good counsel may the cause remove There is different language for brawling and for love and sadness and different language for different characters: the Clown and the Nurse speak in prose whereas the nobility speak in verse, often with rhymed couplets. This contrasting language is very much in evidence in the first three scenes, even before the arrival of Juliet, and continues throughout the play in order to convey the unfolding drama. It mirrors and enhances the other dramatic devices Shakespeare uses to enhance the audience's interest. Shakespeare's unusual style of prologue in which the whole story and the final tragedy is declared in sonnet form is the first ingredient used to engage the interest of the audience in "Romeo and Juliet". The audience is eager to see how the events in the play result in the final tragedy. Shakespeare then employs contrast of themes and variety between scenes to which he added a variety of prose and verse forms to ensure audience expectations are realized and their interest is not lost. The audience is always interested to see how these dramatic and poetic devices are used to link with the events foretold in the Prologue of a love tragedy that ends in union between the noble families. Charlie Debelle 11.7 GCSE English Coursework: Shakespeare 1 ...read more.

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