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What techniques does Shakespeare use to create a sense of inevitability in Romeo and Juliet and how does this effect the audience?

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Introduction

Salome Neequaye Shakespeare Coursework Miss Bergin What techniques does Shakespeare use to create a sense of inevitability in Romeo and Juliet and how does this effect the audience? Shakespeare is known as one of the greatest playwrights known to man. The exact date of his birth is unknown but we know he was christened on Wednesday the 26th of April 1564 which in his era, was a few days after birth. In London he joined a theatre company and became an actor. His career as a writer began with him writing parts of the play he was acting in. As he became better at writing his work became more widely known. In London he became part of the Chamberlains company of player from 1594. This is when he had began to write the plays Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Richard II. As years went by, more and more plays were written. When he died on the 16th of April 1616 he had written over 50 plays, sonnets and poems. The play Romeo and Juliet is classed as a tragedy, however some have thought it more closely resembles Shakespeare's comedies than other tragedies. In general, the genre tragedy is an effort to exemplify the sense that human beings are inevitably doomed, through their own failures or errors or through the ironic action of their morality. What is more, it could be through the nature of fate or destiny or the human condition to suffer, fail or even face death. The measure of a character's life is to be taken by how he or she faces the inevitable future. In dramas, the genre tragedy recounts a casually related period of events in the life of a person or persons, climaxing in an unhappy catastrophe. Romeo and Juliet is about two teenage children from warring families who fall in love. Convinced that their families will never allow their marriage, the two 'star-cross'd' lovers attempt to conceal their affair. ...read more.

Middle

This effects Romeo as well as Juliet because he has no idea of Friar Laurence and Juliet's plan which now turns around the course of events that were supposed to occur from the characters perspective. This doesn't really change the plot as the audience already know this was to happen. All of these examples of chance refer to the prologue. In lines five and six of the prologue it reads: From forth the fatal loins of these two foes, A pair of star-cross'd lovers, take their life: (Prologue lines five and six) This part tells us that by the two families accidentally meeting and turning to fight, this results in Romeo and Juliet losing their lives to the power of the stars. When Friar John cannot deliver the letter to Romeo it refers back to the prologue and Romeo and Juliet being 'star-cross'd'. Even though fate and chance seem to be main themes in Romeo and Juliet, decisions aren't always left to them. some of the characters often make choices which effect the final outcome. One of these examples of choice is when Capulet allows Romeo to stay at his room. This effects the course of Romeo and Juliet meeting each other since they would never have meet if Capulet ordered Romeo out from his ball. Another example of choice and the effects it has is when the nurse keeps the wedding a secret from everyone. This choice is very important because if the nurse hadn't kept it a secret their marriage would have been torn apart and Juliet would have been forced to marry Paris. The feud between the two families would have multiplied as each would blame the other resulting in more death. A final example of choice in Romeo and Juliet is when Mercutio challenges Tybalt when Romeo refuses, which ends in both his and Tybalt's death, and, in turn, the banishment of Romeo. If Mercutio had left Tybalt alone he wouldn't have died and Romeo would not have been banished. ...read more.

Conclusion

The prologue also heightens the tension as Romeo and Juliet starts to build to its climax. It raises the audience's expectations of what the themes are of the play. The prologue also acts as a catalyst, the start of speeding up the plot and the events to occur in it. The themes of fate and fortune also contribute to creating a sense of inevitability in the play. The characters constantly refer to fate and appear to believe entirely on the power of the stars. Even though the characters feel that the mistakes they makes are due to their own reasoning, they have no control of the things they do or the mistakes they make as the stars have already predetermined what they do. The theme of time is another technique used. This relates to the theme of fate. As it is compressed, there is no time for characters to think about their mistakes or actions, neither is their time to look back on their actions. As this theme relates to fate and inevitability, they are zooming along on their predestined course, which is something they cannot avoid or prevent. A final dramatic technique Shakespeare used to create a sense of inevitability was that of the chorus and the Prince. The chorus set the scene of Romeo and Juliet and present to the audience the themes the play contains as well as the predestined course Romeo and Juliet are bound to. They also pass on knowledge of Romeo's change in admiration of two women, Rosaline to Juliet. The Prince is used as a dramatic device to move the plot along. He can be seen as paradoxical, as he contradicts he warning of death at the beginning of the play to banishing Romeo when he murders Tybalt. This acts as a catalyst which speeds up the plot to drive it to its predetermined dooming end. So in brief, by use of the prologue, the themes of fate and fortune, the theme of time, and the use of the chorus and the Prince, Shakespeare was able to create a sense of inevitability in Romeo and Juliet. ...read more.

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