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With reference to the two productions, discuss the dramatic significance of Mercutio and Tybalt's death scenes in Act 3, Scene 1 of 'Romeo & Juliet' by William Shakespeare

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Introduction

Ben Palmer 10s With reference to the two productions, discuss the dramatic significance of Mercutio and Tybalt's death scenes in Act 3, Scene 1 of 'Romeo & Juliet' by William Shakespeare 'Romeo & Juliet' is possibly the most well known, most famous of all of William Shakespeare's masterpieces. It is well known as a romantic tragedy, however, surprisingly it does include lighthearted comedy in the first two Acts. Mercutio seems to give the first two acts an almost comical feel to them, with his prancing and fooling around. However, this all seems to change when he is slain by Tybalt, Juliet's cousin. After this, sequences of events occur, that ultimately lead to the death of Romeo and his Juliet. It is as though that as this scene ends, the fate of the lovers is inevitable, as Friar Lawrence already indicated in Act 2 Scene 6; 'These violent delights have violent ends' As Romeo and Juliet are married in secret, a sense of dramatic irony comes into play as they are married, yet know one else knows, topped by the antagonistic feelings between the Capulets and the Montagues. The audience is lured into a false sense of security with all the events leading up to Act 3 Scene 1, ...read more.

Middle

The play is interpreted differently, with Mercutio now being the one who deliberately wants to start conflict; 'I will budge for no man's pleasure' Tybalt replies in a gentlemanly manner, even in a friendly way, when he leaves Mercutio as Romeo enters; '... Peace be with you sir, here comes my man' In the Zefferelli version, Mercutio decides to interoperate this as meaning that all the attention will now be on Tybalt and Romeo. This annoys him because he still wants to be the centre of attention (as always). Tybalt naturally wants to speak to Romeo, and doesn't care whether Mercutio is the centre of attention or not, which Mercutio is unable to accept. Mercutio and Tybalt have a duel in a playful manor, with both characters mocking what would happen in a real fight. Romeo realises that the duel is becoming a fight for attention from the crowd, and could become dangerous, so he tries to break it up, and in the process, Tybalt accidentally stabs Mercutio; 'Why the devil came you between us?' The audience become aware of what has happened, and recognises that is a tragic event. ...read more.

Conclusion

Romeo screams at Tybalt in anger and grief; 'Either though, or I, or both must go with him' He repeats this line several times, to connote the deep emotion he is feeling. In contrast, after Romeo has killed Tybalt, the scene becomes completely silent, a sign to the audience that Romeo is utterly shocked at what has happened, and showing that he never really fully intended to kill Tybalt. In Franko Zefferelli's production, Romeo seems to be angry with himself more than anything; 'O, I am fortune's fool!' He uses personification to show his despair here at the fact that he thinks that fate is playing games with him. This scene turns the whole play around, with the well-paced deaths of Mercutio and Tybalt only the start of the tragedies that are to follow. Romeo is banished from Verona by the prince for murdering Tybalt, and separated from Juliet. At the end of the play, the lovers commit suicide because they cannot bear to spend the remainder of their lives separated. The play careers towards this tragic climax as a result of the deaths of Mercutio and Tybalt; after these deaths, the deaths of Romeo and his Juliet are inevitable. For these reasons, the scene is one of the most significant and important scenes throughout the whole of William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet. ...read more.

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