Shakespeare coursework- Romeo and Juliet Why is Act 1 scene 5 an effective piece of drama?
Shakespeare coursework- Romeo and Juliet
Why is Act 1 scene 5 an effective piece of drama?
In this essay I am going to analyse and interpret Act 1 Scene 5. I am going to consider the dramatic events of the scene, Shakespeare’s use of language, the structure, changing mood and how he makes use of dramatic devices like scene shifts and range of characters.
Shakespeare has divided this scene into 7 sections. Section one is when the servants prepare for the party and Lord Capulet welcomes the guests. ‘‘You are welcome, gentlemen. Come musicians, play. A hall, a hall! Give room; and foot it, girls.” This shows us the happy mood Lord Capulet was in. In this section, Shakespeare makes the audience think that the party is going to be happy and it is going to be a success for the meeting of Juliet and Paris.
The second section of Act 1 Scene 5 is when Lord Capulet and his cousin talk about their youth. “For you and I are past our dancing days.” This shows how they are reflecting back on the days when they used to dance with ladies in masks. The mood in section two is reminiscent as Lord Capulet and his cousin are reflecting back on past times in their lives. Shakespeare makes the audience realise that Capulet and his cousin were both young as are Romeo and Juliet.
The third section of Act 1 Scene 5 is when Romeo sees Juliet for the first time and is immediately captured by her beauty. “Beauty too rich for use, for Earth too dear!” This shows the extent of exaggeration that is caused by Romeo’s extreme state of mind due to the recent events with Rosaline. The mood that Shakespeare sets out in this section is love at first sight it is also hopeful of a relationship and that it might work out. Shakespeare makes the audience think that finally Romeo has got over Rosaline and has met a beautiful girl who is Juliet. The audience are hopeful that this relationship might work out.
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The fourth section of Act 1 Scene 5 is when Tybalt recognises Romeo and so he sends for a weapon to kill Romeo but Lord Capulet restrains him as Romeo is doing no harm. “This, by his voice, should be a Montague. Fetch me my rapier boy.” This shows how Tybalt really wanted to kill Romeo so the mood in this section is tense, aggressive and looking bad. It looks as it Shakespeare is foreshadowing the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet when Tybalt talks about killing Romeo. The audience is left in fear for Romeo. The audiences fear for Romeo is justified by the fact that they know the type of character that Tybalt is. He has a fiery personality and it first shows in Act 1 Scene 1 when he arrives at the argument between the servants of the Montague’s and Capulet’s. He quickly steps in as he sees Benvolio trying to stop the fight and draws his sword to duel him.
The fifth section of Act 1 Scene 5 is when Romeo and Juliet speak and kiss for the first time. “Thus from my lips by thine my sin is purg’d.” This shows the mood of the scene which is very romantic and exciting but it is also risky and dangerous. The mood is also hopeful on that out of all the hatred of the Montague’s and the Capulet’s there might come some love. Shakespeare leaves the audience scared and excited for the future of Romeo and Juliet, their love maybe forbidden but it is also unstoppable!
Section 6 of Act 1 Scene 5 is when Romeo finds out that Juliet is a Capulet and is clearly shocked. “O dear account! My life is my foe’s debt.” This shows how shocked and devastated Romeo is to find out that Juliet is a Capulet. This shows the mood of the scene which is disappointment.
Section 7 of Act 1 scene five is when all the guests leave and Juliet is distressed to find out that Romeo is a Montague. “My only love sprung from my only hate.” This is an oxymoron, it shows that the story is about conflicting concepts and it also shows how shocked Juliet actually was. The caption said by Juliet defines the mood of the section which was disappointment, distress and worry. True tragedy. Shakespeare leaves the audience worried for Juliet because she falls in love with the son of her family’s enemy rather than falling for the man that her family want her to marry, Paris. This makes the audience anxious about what is yet to come.
Act 1 Scene 5’s language is contrasting. At first, Shakespeare’s language is jovial and the language that Shakespeare uses makes the mood of the scene happy, make the audience deem that the party is going to go well. “More light, you knaves; and turn the tables up.” However, just when the audience think that this party is going to be a hit he introduces Tybalt and the language starts to turn aggressive. This is the point where Tybalt spots that Romeo has gate crashed the Capulet’s party and threatens to kill him the language is very intense and aggressive. “This, by his voice, should be a Montague. Fetch my rapier boy.”
Shakespeare then change’s the language to a calm mood where Capulet tells Tybalt that Romeo is doing no harm and relaxes the mood. This offends Tybalt and sends him into a rage; he sees this relaxed mood by lord Capulet as a defeat in the vendetta with the Montagues. The language is a big impact, “A bears him like a portly gentleman.” Shakespeare then transfers the language in to romantic and poetic. When Romeo first sees Juliet, he sees her as a goddess. “Did my heart love till now…for I never saw true beauty till this night”. The language that Shakespeare chooses to use is very effective and shows how Romeo has strongly fallen in love with Juliet. “This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this: My lips, two blushing pilgrims’ ready stand.” What Romeo had said was extremely romantic.
When Romeo finds out Juliet is a Capulet and Juliet finds out that Romeo is a Montague, the language shows how surprised Romeo and Juliet are to find out that they are in love with their enemies. “O dear account! My life is my foe’s debt.” This compliments the idea that this play is a tragedy, it gives that all important ironic feeling to the whole scenario and gives a real sudden twist to the whole storyline.
The language contrasts, first starts out to be happy then suddenly turning aggressive, then diverges into a romantic language then suddenly into a shocking language. The effects of the language changing from poetry into prose shows how the poetry symbolises the romantic language of the scene, when it then changes into prose it symbolises the anger of Tybalt or the disappointment of Romeo and Juliet in the scene. When Tybalt is speaking, he is speaking in prose. The way that Tybalt is speaking is very forceful and angry where as when Romeo is speaking to Juliet he is speaking in poetry representing a very romantic approach towards the audience as he is speaking in poetry. “It fits, when such a villain is a guest.” This is an example of the prose that Tybalt is using which shows the anger expressed in words instead of poetry, there is no evidence in this passage to show that Tybalts character is the very fiery type; his speech is very sharp and straight to the point. There is a feeling of devout and intense frustration and anger. “And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.” This shows the poetic side of Romeo symbolising his love for Juliet. This shows the contrast from prose to poetry.
The socio-historical context in Romeo and Juliet is that in Shakespeare’s day fathers had the power to refuse or accept a marriage for their child. The fathers would often arrange a marriage for their child with a person from a suitable family so that it would increase the social standing of their family. In Shakespeare’s day it was common for girls around thirteen to marry men who are much older then them. As we already know, Juliet was around thirteen and Lord Capulet was trying to arrange a marriage for her with the prince Paris who must have been much older than Juliet. Marriage was a financial contract; it provided for the bride’s dowry and a settlement in cash and property to the husband’s family. There is a huge contrast between what Juliet’s parents want her to do and what she feels like. The Capulet’s point of view is that Juliet will get married to a very rich and powerful man thus bringing the family more power due to this arranged marriage. However, this is not what Juliet wants. Juliet is longing to marry the man that she loves even though Romeo comes from the family that is feuding with hers.
In conclusion, Act 1 Scene 5 is a very significant scene of the play. This scene is foreshadowing the dramatic events yet to come. The scene is split up into seven sections. The mood starts off very happy then particular events of the scene completely change the mood of the scene into a very aggressive and shocking mood. The audience experience so many different emotions during this scene. At first they think everything is fine and go through happy emotions, and then the audience feels fear for Romeo’s life because they grow too attached to his character in the play because he comes across as a very nice man, this is mainly manifested as fearful emotions of Tybalt killing Romeo in Act 3 Scene 1. After this, seeing Romeo and Juliet falling in love makes it a real ride although the audience are happy that Romeo finds another love but they are very scared for Romeo and Juliet as they are arch enemies; this is very expected because it is quite clear that their families are enemies and that the prince has given a warning to both sides about what could happen. I think that this scene does have a lot of effect on the play and it foreshadows the heartbreaking set of events yet to come.
Here's what a teacher thought of this essay
There are some problems with this text. Although it shows understanding and knowledge of the scene the analysis is over simplistic and chronologically structured. There are no topic sentences and the essay is unfocused at times. Why is there a paragraph on historical context towards the end. The essay also needs to display a wider vocabulary and more literary and linguistic terminolgy in order to do justice to Shakespeare's craft. ***