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With particular reference to Act 1 Scene v and Act 3 Scene i discuss Romeo and Juliet as a Shakespearean tragedy

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Introduction

With particular reference to Act 1 Scene v and Act 3 Scene i discuss Romeo and Juliet as a Shakespearean tragedy Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy, but it is a tragedy of circumstances rather than personality. That is to say, circumstances and events conspire against a happy ending for the lovers, rather than the lovers causing their own unhappiness and eventual death. This gives the tragic thrust of the play a Shakespearean dimension. Although it is love that draws the lovers to their fate, it is the actions of people around them that seal their doom. One action leads to another, and a whole series of events arises that lead to an inevitable conclusion. There is a point at which the tragedy could perhaps have been averted. In Act 1 scene v, Romeo has spotted Juliet, but she hasn't yet seen him. Tybalt, a member of the Capulet clan, warns Juliet's father that Romeo is present at the feast: "Uncle, this is a Montague, our foe, /A villain that is hither come in spite, /To scorn at our solemnity this night." Capulet's reaction to the news is relaxed. He tells Tybalt to leave Romeo alone, and even speaks well of him: "Verona brags of him /To be a virtuous and well-governed youth." He also says that he will not insult Romeo when he is a guest in his house. ...read more.

Middle

Juliet commits an even more profound blasphemy in the next scene when she calls Romeo the "god of her idolatry," effectively installing Romeo in God's place in her religious faith (Scene 2, Act i). This first meeting foreshadows their tragic fall at the end of the play. Elizabethans would have recognised the hubris, or inappropriate overreaching passion of the lovers in Scene 1 Act v, and would have expected some sort of tragedy to follow. Later towards the end of the first Act, Juliet asks her nurse if she knows who Romeo is, and she (Juliet) foreshadows the fate of the lovers as Romeo did earlier: "Go ask his name - If he be married. /My grave is like to be my wedding bed." As Juliet's nurse has told Romeo earlier that Juliet is a Capulet; she likewise tells Juliet that Romeo is a Montague: "His name is Romeo, and a Montague; /The only son of your great enemy." Juliet is not discouraged from her new love, but she does recognise the danger in which the lovers are placed: "My only love sprang from my only hate! /Too early seen unknown, and known too late!" Act 3 scene I is passionate in its violence and aggression. This scene is in sharp contrast to the gentle backdrop and the passionate first encounter of the lovers in Act 1, scene v. ...read more.

Conclusion

On the other hand, Mercutio's response is to curse the Montagues and Capulets as the agents of his fate. He sees people as the cause of his death, and gives no credit to any larger force. The larger world of Verona arrives with the Prince and angry citizens in Act 3 scene i. Romeo's killing of Tybalt is rash, although it could be seen as self defence. The Prince banishes Romeo from Verona as a result of the killing. This action has compounded the lovers' problems. Not only is their love prohibited by their families, it is also thwarted by the actions of the Prince of Verona. It can be seen from a comparison of Act 1 scene v and Act 3 scene I, that Romeo and Juliet is an example of a Shakepearean tragedy in terms of its movement towards an inescapable and tragic conclusion with the death of the two protagonists. Act 1 scene 5 sets the scene and establishes the relationship between the lovers; it also foreshadows the fate of the lovers at the end of the play. Act 3 scene 1 serves as a contrast to Act 1 scene 5 by thrusting the brutal world of Verona at the audience, which emphasizes the futility of the fragile relationship between the lovers and demands that we recognise the role of fate and the wider world in the lives of individuals. ?? ?? ?? ?? Siobhan Miller English Coursework Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet ...read more.

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