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Withparticular reference to Act 1, explore how an impending sense of tragedy andforeboding is created in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

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Introduction

With particular reference to Act 1, explore how an impending sense of tragedy and foreboding is created in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. In the play, Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare creates an impending sense of tragedy and foreboding. He uses a variety of devices to provoke this, such as themes, language and tone. To begin the sense of tragedy and foreboding he introduces characters caught in a sensitive conflict. The audience of the performance are very aw are that the genre of the play is a tragedy; therefore they have expectations for something traumatic to happen, such as death, doom and a disaster. Shakespeare succeeds in meeting these expectations by including several parallels in his performance. Parallels are events that foreshadow a later, more tragic incident of the play and are used to add suspense even in act 1 to create a sense of foreboding and tragedy. In a classic, tragic tradition, Shakespeare highlights the main characters by naming the play Romeo and Juliet. Therefore the audience are aware of who the main characters are, who will lose their lives, at the beginning of the play. Before these two characters are introduced, the audience find themselves becoming impatient to meet them. ...read more.

Middle

The play Romeo and Juliet is set over only a few days. Right from the beginning of the play the audience see a sense of rushing, as Romeo falls in love with another woman strait after he has been moaning that he will never love again, 'One fairer than my love?' This sense of rushing automatically portrays a sense that something bad will happen later in the play. There are many events in the play that show this impending sense of doom and tragedy. It puts the audience in a horrible position, as the audience are aware that what is happening on stage is wrong and is happening too fast. For example, when Romeo and Juliet first met, the audience knew that their families were enemies, but at the time the couple were not aware of this. This device is called dramatic irony, which is when the audience of the play know something that the characters on stage do not know yet. It is very effective as it adds to the tension in the audience. This strong sense of rushing is noticed by some of the characters, such as Friar Lawrence. Friar Lawrence warns Romeo and Juliet that they are moving into decisions too fast, 'Wisely and slow. ...read more.

Conclusion

Friar Lawrence is very weary about this situation and he knows that this is a bad decision. He tries to explain to Romeo about the mistake he is making. Nevertheless Friar eventually agrees to unite Romeo and Juliet as husband and wife. 'In one respect I'll thy assistant be.' Shakespeare is now portraying Friar as a weaker character, as he contradicts himself. The impending sense of tragedy is extremely intense now that the audience is aware that Romeo and Juliet will be married in a few days time. At the end of the play, the impending sense of tragedy and foreboding which has been created throughout the whole play is finally all pulled together in a very intense ending, where the two lovers both commit suicide because of a rushed mistake. The audience feel a great sense of tragedy as the death of the lovers would not have happened if they had an extra few minutes. Shakespeare succeeds to create an impending sense of tragedy and foreboding by using a variety of successful devices. For example, he wrote in different moods within a scene, also he included a very important prologue at the beginning of the play. Furthermore, Shakespeare's adds to his technique by writing parallels and echoes to portray this important sense of foreboding. All of the contrasting styles which Shakespeare adopts in his writing contribute to the tension building in this outstanding play. Caroline Mear ...read more.

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