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With particular reference to Act 1 Scene 5, Act 3 Scene 1 and Act 3 Scene 5, consider how Shakespeare builds tension and brings out the drama of these scenes for an audience?

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With particular reference to Act 1 Scene 5, Act 3 Scene 1 and Act 3 Scene 5, consider how Shakespeare builds tension and brings out the drama of these scenes for an audience? During the famous Shakespeare play 'Romeo and Juliet' Shakespeare uses many devices to build up tension between characters. During this essay I will be outlining the ways he does this focussing mainly on act 1 scene 5, act 3 scene 1 and act 3 scene 5, and the effects this has on the audience. Even though the question I was set doesn't include the prologue I think it is important to explain its significance. The prologue is written as a sonnet and it gives a brief account of the main events in the play. But by doing this it doesn't reveal the finer details and leaves the audience thirsty to find them out. I also believe the prologue gives a certain air of 'Impending doom' Act 1 scene 5 focuses on the ball; the Capulet ball. At this point the family's feud is at an all time high and the audience are aware of this. In Elizabethan times (when the play is set) it was custom for balls to be themed. The ball featured in the play was a masked ball. ...read more.


The effect of the insults is that it shows the historical culture of 15th century people. Intermission is made by Mercutio; witty banter is thrown in each direction until the situation takes a turn for the worst. Romeo intervenes in the sword fight between Mercutio and Tybalt; resulting in Tybalt "accidentally" stabbing Mercutio. The conflict in this scene gives the audience an early indication that something terrible is about to happen. As Tybalt doesn't know that Romeo is married to Juliet and the audience does, this creates dramatic irony. The effect this has on the audience is that it makes them feel sorry for Romeo. As Romeo is in a conciliatory and has done nothing but love Tybalt and "tender the Capulet name" it also has a structural effect on the rest of the play as two more character have been taken out of the picture. Therefore Shakespeare has to make the story even more interesting. We can see this from the way that Shakespeare uses dramatic devices to create tension and conflict. Shakespeare includes Pathetic fallacy, Foreshadowing, Puns and Dramatic Irony to add to this effect. At the beginning of the play Romeo is portrayed as a romantic poet, wanting only peace with his fellow friends. Tybalt was seen as the main character for violence and seen as the man of action throughout the film whilst Mercutio was known as the witty joker not knowing the seriousness of Tybalt's actions and words that would then lead to Mercutio's death. ...read more.


Shakespeare also enhances the drama by switching scenes frequently, this creates a dramatic effect, and keeps the audience drawn in and keeps tension running by sometimes almost leaving it on a cliff hanger. Another clever devise I have noticed is with each scene change there is a change in mood: Eg. Comedy to tragedy or violence to love. In Elizabethan times it was very much a patriarchal society ''A patriarchal society is one whereby men are the decision-makers and hold positions of power and prestige, and have the power to define reality and common situations.'' This fact immediately boosts tension as the audience are aware that Juliet's father wishes for her to be wed to County Paris The conversation between Romeo and Juliet at the beginning of the act is also important; the discussion about the true nature of the bird outside the window. Is intended to aid the audience in understanding the levels of adoration they share however, there is a note of sadness: just as they couldn't overturn the social prejudice that keeps them apart, they can't turn dawn into night. They must be kept apart. Juliet's conversation with her mother is in this scene full of twists and turns; Juliet appears to be agreeing with her mother by condemning Romeo and wishing for his death, but the true meaning of her words is just below the surface. ...read more.

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