HOW DOES SHAKESPEARE ADD INTEREST AND EXCITEMENT FOR THE AUDIENCE IN ACT 3 SCENE 5 OF “ROMEO AND JULIET”?
Romeo and Juliet is full of exciting incidents which are intertwined to create the interesting plot itself.
The audience have already witnessed many key events in Act 3 Scene 5. Romeo has already spent his first night with Juliet in her chamber at the house of Capulet. The audience are shocked with the unexpected arrivance of Lady Capulet.
“Your lady mother is coming to your chamber”
Here we see the nurse trying to warn Juliet that her mother is about to walk into her room. This immediately makes Romeo try and escape from the Capulet house via the famous balcony. Only moments after his escape, Lady Capulet arrives. She finds Juliet crying and Lady Capulet is made to think that Juliet is crying out of sympathy towards the death of her cousin Tybalt, however she is crying over Romeo’s departure. Then Lady Capulet tells Juliet the ‘good news’ which is that she is to get married to Paris the following Thursday. This causes even more distress for Juliet.
Due to the fact that Lady Capulet believes that Juliet is crying over Tybalt, she informs Juliet that if she wishes, she can have Romeo assassinated; she says this to try and make Juliet feel better however this has the total opposite effect on Juliet.
At this point, Juliet refuses to marry Paris, which creates suspense for the audience, as they do not know what is going to happen next. Juliet is already beginning to be rejected by her own mother and this fact makes the audience rather more intrigued.
Not before long, Capulet finds out about the situation and Juliet’s refusal to marry Paris. This is the point where the audience realise the cold heartedness of Capulet and his role as a detached father. He shows anger and violence towards Juliet, saying he will disown her if she does not do as he wishes.
“Hang thee, young baggage! Disobedient wretch!”
Lord Capulet is not interested in the feelings of his own daughter but cares more about his status in society and would rather his daughter be married to a noble prince.
Later on in this scene, the audience are presented with the betrayal of the nurse as she goes against Juliet’s trust and suggests to her that maybe it is best if she was to forget about Romeo and marry Paris.
This leaves Juliet with one last hope; the Friar.
The audience feel more interested at this point, as they know that some sort of plan is about to be unveiled and something obviously is going to stir up further action.
Throughout the play, various different characteristics are shown, which gradually become more apparent as the play develops. In act 3 scene 5, what we know is confirmed.
Juliet had evidently expressed her love towards Romeo in various different ways. She is portrayed to be a loyal, kind and devoted wife to Romeo and we know this for two different reasons. At such a young age, although she may sound naïve, Juliet has made the decision to marry a man whom she barely knows which shows the audience her deep feelings for Romeo and trust in him. The fact that she disobeys her parents to whom she has previously shown the utmost respect, strengthens this element.
“I pray you, tell my lord and father, madam, will not marry yet; and, when I do, I swear it shall be Romeo, whom you know I hate, rather than Paris. These are news indeed!”
This shows that she is willing to sacrifice her future for Romeo and even uses a hint of sarcasm in this quotation, which could have seemed risky at the time.
Lady Capulet gives out the impression that she is a cold and selfish character when it comes to Juliet. Later on in the play, she does not show any affection towards her daughter and insists on consistently remaining distant from her.
“Talk not to me, for I’ll not speak a word- Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee!”
She fails to attend to Juliet as a mother but nevertheless; we do not see Juliet affected by this a great deal.
The nurse in a sense, had been like the mother which Juliet has never had and Juliet preserved all trust and faith in her. Even in Juliet’s most troublesome times, the nurse supports her and prevents her from getting into any trouble or danger. We know this because the nurse was the only person who knew about Romeo and Juliet’s love affair and approved of it. She even notifies Romeo and Juliet with a warning of Lady Capulet’s arrivance.
“Your lady mother is coming to your chamber. The day is broke; be wary, look about”
This shows the audience her concern of Juliet and tries her best to prevent her from getting into trouble with Lady Capulet.
In contrast, a totally opposite character to this is Lord Capulet.
“Or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither”
This quote shows the sort of indecent and cruel language he uses towards Juliet. His cold, uncaring nature reveals him to be a useless, detached father who lacks any real feeling for his only child. Throughout the play, Lord Capulet barely makes an appearance, which strengthens the fact, that maybe he is not as involved with his family (especially his daughter) as she should be.
Despite all these definite characteristics, we also see drastic changes in these main characters.
In the beginning scenes of the play, Lady Capulet has seemed kind towards other people for example she attempted to halt the fighting between Tybalt and Romeo.
Although they did not have a close relationship, Lady Capulet showed some affection towards Juliet as at first she would not agree to Juliet marrying Paris. However, once she changes her mind, her attitude suddenly changes when Juliet refuses to marry Paris. Lady Capulet threatens to reject her.
“Talk not to me, for I’ll not speak a word- Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee!”
This sudden change of behaviour has great impact on the audience, as this is something totally unexpected.
In addition to this, there is a sudden and unexpected change in the behaviour of the nurse. In this scene, Juliet seeks comfort and help from the nurse as she is certain that the nurse will provide and support her like she has done in the past. However, the nurse, who was once loyal to Juliet, now suggests Juliet marry Paris.
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“Then, since the case so stands as now it doth, I think it is best you married with the county. O, he’s a lovely gentleman. Romeo’s a dishclout to him…”
At this point, Juliet is horrified by the words spoken by the nurse. These comments also make a huge effect on the audience as this is something that is definitely unexpected.
With reference to hi earlier behaviour, Lord Capulet intensifies his character by treating Juliet as if she meant nothing to him. He uses harsh language towards Juliet, as well as to the nurse.
“To go with Paris to saint Peter’s church, or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither. Out, you green sickness carrion! Out you baggage! You tallow face!”
By using such insults, proves how much of a tyrant lord Capulet really is.
To maintain the audience’s interest, William Shakespeare uses different themes with the plot.
As we are all aware, the most obvious and vital theme throughout this play is the principal of love. Impulsive love is a strong element, which creates additional excitement for the audience.
Romeo and Juliet are just two young beings and with only basic knowledge of each other, they act on lust rather than love and decide to marry without any consent, resulting in them being left to face terribly awkward circumstances. They act purely on the impulsive nature of their relationship. In the early stages of the play, Friar Laurence comments on how dangerous this love between Romeo and Juliet could end up being.
“These violent delights have violent ends”
He warns Romeo that the most violent love has the coldest end therefore in the end Friar Laurence is proven to be right.
Although some people may argue that the love of Romeo and Juliet was ‘lust’ rather than love, the strength that it has is extreme.
“I pray you, tell my lord and father madam, will not marry yet; and when I do, I swear, it shall be Romeo whom you know I hate”
This quote shows Juliet implying to the nurse that under circumstances is willing to marry Paris. This shows her commitment to her love as she is willing to defy even her own parents to follow her heart and love for Romeo. At another stage in the scene, Juliet says to the nurse:
“…O nurse how shall this be prevented? My husband is on earth, my faith in heaven; how shall that faith return it me from earth,”
This shows Juliet showing her utmost loyalty towards Romeo as even in the most testing of circumstances, she has her situation with her husband on her mind. This quotation also tells us her thoughts on how herself and her husband can abscond from this mess that has occurred.
Romeo proves the strength of the love he possesses for Juliet in this scene.
“I have more care to stay than will to go. Come, death, and welcome! Juliet wills it so.”
This quote that Romeo has made tells us he does not care what happens to him but he will never stop loving Juliet. He is so happy that he found Juliet that he implies that anyone can take whatever measures they please, however drastic, such as taking his life away, but they will never be able to seize his happiness away from him.
The fortitude of love is clearly stated here as Romeo is readily willing to sacrifice his life just for his love.
However distant Romeo and Juliet’s relationship may seem in this scene, it has certainly made a tremendous impact on each of their lives. The couple cannot express their true love in the open, due to the family feud between the Capulets and Montagues. However, both Romeo and Juliet go against what they have been taught and disobey every belief each family stands for.
Later on in the play, the intense situation is made difficult even further; Romeo is banished from Verona and Juliet left with the anticipation of being obliged to bigamy. She is not given as little freedom in which to choose who she wishes to marry and spend the rest of her life with, but instead to agree with what her parents feel is relevant. Nevertheless, Juliet has come to a stage where she no longer has a respectful attitude towards her family as she blatantly insists on defying them consistently for her love. Both lovers have the attitude that this feud occurring between each one’s family is a pathetic and pointless battle and therefore see their marriage as the right and appropriate thing to do. It is no longer a betrayal to their families as far as they are concerned but a pure declaration of their passion and commitment for each other. This is how love has clearly changed them
Also, both characters are extremely loyal for their love.
“God pardon him! I do with all my heart; and yet no man like he doth grieve my heart”
This once again shows the strong feelings Juliet encounters for Romeo and this quotation is a clear evidence of her loyalty.
This theme of love and the enduring difficulties the characters have to face give the audience a further sense of excitement. The complicated situations and cruel twists make the audience feel rather more involved and interested in the play.
In the times of William Shakespeare, the society had strange fascination and belief in stars and fortune. It was something that every household in those times acknowledged and some based their everyday lives on. For example, even the former Queen Elizabeth had an astrologer who was her guide to an insight of what the future withholds in her life. This is a major element in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and by adding this; William Shakespeare keeps both modern and olden day audiences interested. Older day audiences would find this interesting, as it was something they could deeply relate to whereas a modern audience could also appreciate this aspect through fascination. An example of this in Act 3 Scene 5i s when Romeo is forced to depart from Juliet’s chamber. Juliet is desperate to have him back.
“Be fickle, fortune; for then I hope, thou wilt not keep him long, but send him back!”
Juliet shows a deep belief in fate and pleads with destiny to help get her Romeo back. Another example of this occurs in a stage in this scene when Romeo and Juliet have their final encounter on Juliet’s balcony.
“Oh god! I have an ill-divining soul: methinks I see thee, now thou art so low, as one dead in the bottom of a tomb: either my eyesight fails or thou look’st pale”
She clearly has visions of Romeo resting in his tomb, which shows the knowledge of a tragedy waiting to happen. This gives the audience a slight inkling on what might happen next which adds suspense to the plot making it more intriguing to view.
The relationship between Capulet and his daughter Juliet is not in actuality strong. Capulet keeps a fair distance from Juliet and does not relate to her as excepted.
In this section of Act 3 scene 5, Juliet opposes her father’s command to marry Paris. Instead of what a modern day audience would expect off a father in Capulet’s position, he refuses to take into account what his daughter has to say.
“’Proud’, and ‘I thank you’ and ‘I thank you not’”.
This quote shows how Capulet feels that Juliet should be thanking him rather than opposing his decision. A modern day audience could describe the behaviour and attitude of Capulet as an ultimate iniquity. However, the original audience would find his behaviour perfectly acceptable. In fact, they would most presumably be appalled by Juliet’s undisciplined character. Defying one’ parents in those times was the terminal transgression as people thought that the paramount amount of respect and obedience should be shown towards one’s elders; especially where parents were concerned. In contrast, a modern audience experiences the total opposite sort of reaction. In fact, the behaviour of Capulet would be found eccentric and Juliet’s demeanour would be found perfectly natural. The way in which Shakespeare had conducted this element builds additional commotion to the plot of ‘Romeo and Juliet’
The way in which Lady Capulet conducts her relationship with Juliet also creates an astonished reaction from the audience as her attitude differs from what may be supposed from her. From her kind and thoughtful nature, she suddenly changes to show a slightly unconcerning and unthoughful approach towards Juliet. The fact that at one stage, she agrees to not letting Juliet marry Paris has a great influence on the audience later on in the play to when she shows a sudden change of heart again. We assume that Lady Capulet will support Juliet in whatever decision she chooses to make but in fact, Lady Capulet turns against Juliet and supports her husband’s opinion.
There is no way out for Juliet at this stage. Both her parents want her to do something that she cannot bring herself to agree upon. Nevertheless, Juliet keeps her calm as she is quite certain that there will be at least one person siding with her; the nurse.
The nurse does her greatest to mother Juliet as her own and partly replaces the deeds Lady Capulet should have performed for Juliet. Juliet relies on the nurse above all else, and in a way, probably appreciates her more than her actual parents. During this scene, the nurse tells Juliet that maybe it is best for her to listen to her parents and agree to marrying Paris.
“…marry, I will; and this is wisely done”.
The nurse is telling Juliet that maybe it will be wise and best for Juliet if she was to marry Paris. Although this may have seemed like a betrayal by the nurse to Juliet, in my opinion the nurse said this with Juliet’s best interests at heart.
This segment of the scene, was a vital part of the play to the audience as it contains a great deal of drama and unforeseen outcomes.
The society in which this play was placed upon adds major excitement to the play. Romeo and Juliet both come from feuding families of many years. Due to this reason, the two lovers have to keep their love affair a secret from humanity which keeps the spectators on edge having them question themselves:
“What will happen next…?”
The fact that the audience is uncertain of why the actual feuds occurring within the two families befell, adds further anticipation to their minds. Their imaginations at this point would be racing in order to come to an adequate conclusion to the reason behind the family feud. This also allows the audience to feel involved in the play, which encourages them to remain attracted and drawn to ‘Romeo and Juliet’.
Towards the end of the play, in my opinion I think it finally becomes apparent to everyone that this tragic love story ends with two innocent people sacrificing each of their lives over something they had no possible control over. From another perspective, we could imply that the unfortunate deaths of Romeo and Juliet should be blamed on the both families. This tragedy was caused by hate. If the couple were not forced to hide their relationship from their parents, then perhaps this lamentable incident could have been avoided. If Juliet had had the comfort of knowing that he mother and father would support her rather than to recoil at the thought of Juliet even associating with Romeo, then certainly Romeo and Juliet could have endured their death.
The idea that women were a degree below men in the times of William Shakespeare makes the play more fascinating for the audience to watch. Men were clearly treated with greater dominance over women as they were seen as the superior sex. One fact that may astonish a modern audience is the age of Juliet getting married. At only 13, Capulet and Lady Capulet felt it was necessary to plan her forthcoming marriage. This, in the opinion of modern audiences can be described as an outrage, however, a girl to be married at this age would have been a perfectly decent act in those times. They felt the only possible way for a girl to live a decent life was if she was betrothed to a man who was responsible to provide to her. This is a ridiculous motion to audiences of nowadays as they believe both men and women should be treated with equality therefore watching ‘Romeo and Juliet’ gives the modern audience a brief insight on how differently men and women were treated in the earlier generation.
The character of Juliet was expected to listen to and obey her father despite how objectionable his demands were. In contrast to this, a modern Juliet would defend herself and stick up for her own views and thoughts. She would have never have herself spoken to In such manner which the original Juliet was spoken to by her family and this is because of the way in which attitudes have changed throughout the years; nowadays society believes in thorough equality and respect.
The role of women was extremely inferior compared to the role of men. Proof of this statement is when in a part of this scene, the nurse attempts to have her say on the unfortunate situation in which Juliet is forced into. However, her opinions are not taken into account whatsoever. This may be because of her social status of being a nurse but again it was rather more likely due to the fact that she was a woman.
These additional actions and u unacceptable views in Romeo and Juliet, help give the audience additional prospects to fascinate them upon.
To most people of nowadays, marriage is seen as a commitment and a huge step to take in life. It is something that most of us feel should be taken under careful consideration and though. However, in Romeo and Juliet marriage was seen as a commodity. Juliet was being forced into marriage for the sake of it; it was felt that it was necessary to live up to what was expected from society and that was indeed marriage. Anyhow, Juliet objects.
Juliet is against marrying Paris due to the fact that she does not love him and it is against her will to marry someone she has no feeling for as well as the obvious reason that she is deeply in love with Romeo and is married to him.
The power of love can be superior and this is distinctly shown amongst the characters of Romeo and Juliet.
Juliet’s devotion towards Romeo’s love is extremely radical in which she is willing to do anything for. She claims that she will overstep the ultimate boundary to prove her love by agreeing to go as far as killing herself for Romeo. This statement has a colossal impact on the audiences of both then and now and with other additional factors, this play is more compelling for audiences to watch.
In this particular scene of ‘Romeo and Juliet’, the language and stagecraft have various effects on the audience.
‘Romeo and Juliet’ can be a blissful and glamorous plot to watch, however it can also be seen as sorrowful and depressing. The first effect that the language is supposed to have on the audience is to create empathy. As Romeo departs from Juliet’s chamber the morning after the unforgettable night the two companions spent together, Juliet has a terrible vision of Romeo.
“O God! I have an ill-divining soul: Methinks I see thee, now thou art so low, as one dead in the bottom of a tomb; either my eyesight fails, or thou look’st pale”
As Romeo climbs down from the balcony, Juliet’s imagination makes her foresee Romeo’s body lying dead in his tomb. This is a somewhat emotional time for the audience as well as the character herself as it crates the image in everyone’s mind that maybe this is the last time Romeo is to see Juliet again. If the fact that the society in those times strongly believed in the inevibility of faith is taken into account, the surrounding atmosphere would immediately intensify. Juliet is foreseeing the future, which then develops questions in the audience’s mind of whether these images Juliet has seen are warnings, or whether they are just general thoughts; this adds extra excitement and fascination.
Again, in this moment of Act 3 Scene 5, the actual departure of Romeo creates a more emotional atmosphere for the audience. Romeo and Juliet both feel hurt and distressed with the circumstances and clearly show this in Act 3 Scene 5. Romeo awakes in Juliet’s chamber in the early hours of the morning. Both of them know that the time of Romeo’s departure was rapidly approaching but Juliet refuses to believe that the time had come.
“Wilt thou be gone? It is not yet near day: it was the nightingale and not the lark that pierc’d the fearful how of thine ear.”
In this quotation, the audience are shown how Juliet is trying her hardest to convince Romeo to stay for a while longer by feeding him with wrong information. She is implying that the bird that was just heard was the nightingale; a bird that sings on a night, and not the morning bird, which is the lark. However, Romeo knows it is time for his farewell and informs Juliet he has to leave. He is equally distraught about the condition and finds the situation terrible. He does not want to go, but he knows he has no choice.
“More light and light; more dark and dark our woes”
In this quotation, Romeo is saying that he does not want morning to arrive as light signifies his time of exodus but nevertheless, he does not approve of nightfall either as darkness indicated their troubles.
“ I must be gone and live, or stay and die”
Here, Romeo’s use of language is extremely powerful in having an effect on the Spectators as his wordings are short and simple but exceptionally striking. The audience are once again reminded of Romeo’s ‘ultimatum’ in a sense. This intensifies the atmosphere and the audience automatically feel sympathetic towards the situation.
Juliet as never very close to her father and he does not show the expected amount of emotion and care towards his daughter.
This part of Act 3 Scene 5 is probably amongst one of the most sentimental times in the play as it shows how distant a father daughter relationship can be.
“Good father, I beseech you on my knees, Hear me with patience but to speak a word”
Juliet pleads with her father to listen to what she has to say. Her desperation and anxiety bring her to tears, however Capulet blatantly ignores her.
In my opinion, the modern audience can relate to her emotions rather more than an older audience, therefore they feel more sentimental towards Juliet. The audience of William Shakespeare’s’ time would not have felt any sadness for Juliet, but instead admiration for the cold-hearted behaviour of Capulet. This was purely due to the fact that Juliet was seen as a rebellious character and many older audiences felt that the treatment she was getting from her father was appropriate and necessary.
As we find out later in this scene, the nurse betrays Juliet. Juliet’s desolation at the betrayal of the Nurse is immense and intensifies the audience’s previous emotions.
“I think you are happy in this second match, for it excels your first: or if it did not, your first is dead- or ‘twere as good he were, as living here and you no use of him.”
The Nurse insults Romeo and encourages Juliet to marry Paris. In this quotation, the nurse tells Juliet that she is fortunate enough to have a man like Paris and that Romeo is not use to her.
Juliet feels as if she has nobody; everybody has turned against her. Her Nurse was her penultimate hope and now the Nurse’s change of heart brings her to feel desolate. This is effective for the audience, as the Nurse’s deception is a substantial shock to them rather like Juliet.
In my opinion, this part of the scene is the most controversial to the audience.
“I’ll to the Friar, to know his remedy: If all else fail, myself have the power to die”
Juliet vows to kill herself if she cannot find a way out with the Friar who is now her last hope. Whether it is a modern audience or an older day one, sympathy would be felt, as everyone would feel sorry for her. We are saddened at the fact that she will go to the extreme of committing suicide in order for her love.
As a modern day audience, we see the coldness of Lady Capulet towards Juliet as a great shock. As a mother, we would expect her to support Juliet through her most troublesome times and maintain re-assurance however; Lady Capulet does the total opposite of this. In contrast, she threatens to disown Juliet if she does not obey her. In addition to this, Juliet is pressurised by Capulet’s vicious words:
“…I will drag thee on a hurdle thither. Out, you green-sickness carrion. Out, you baggage! You tallow face!”
Many of the versions of Act 3 scene 5 carry a violent element and we know this as it is made apparent in the plays and films produced. In Zaffereli’s version, Capulet physically pushes Juliet across the room with severe force which living in a modern society we find appalling. In the modern version of the play, Capulet again physically abuses her. She looks intimidated and scared.
This element of aggression has been picked up by directors therefore they have tried their best to make it further distinct to the audiences through their versions of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ as Capulet declares,
“My fingers itch.”
An older audience would have found Juliet’s behaviour appalling and would have seen Juliet’s defiance as a crime. What the vast majority of the older audience would not understand is the fact that in order to remain faithful and loyal to Romeo, she had no other option and was forced to act like this. Legally, Juliet was married to Romeo so in fact she lawfully had to go against her parents’ will and refuse to marry Paris.
A modern audience could presumably understand Juliet’s situation from this, however an older audience would still be disgusted with Juliet and refuse to encounter the fact that she was legally bonded to Romeo.
Throughout this whole scene, most of the audience realise that the nurse is the one character who creates the most tense and confusing atmosphere. The shock that we feel at her betrayal to Juliet is colossal. She is expected to get Juliet out of this situation, but her sudden change of heart prevents her from helping Juliet.
“Romeo’s a dishclout to him”
Such hard and vivid implications that Romeo is nothing but a dishcloth compared to Paris changes the whole attitude and feelings we have about the nurse.
Amongst all the shocks, defiance, trickery and deceit the audience experience, a sense of admiration is also created within their minds towards the play and the characters themselves; especially Juliet. Not so much and older audience, but a modern audience would respect Juliet’s actions to some extent. She stands up for what she believes in and refuses to give up on her love for Romeo. Her statements made about how she is willing to make the most unexpected sacrifices for Romeo show her strength, and the fact that Juliet feels her love is more worthy than life itself shows the audience her pure devotion. When the shock of the Nurse’s betrayal is bought upon her, knowing that the nurse was her most dependable hope, she does not give up but engages her mind to find some other solution. At only the age of 13, she is showing courage, determination and strength, which even an adult would find difficulty in doing. By doing this, she is exposing her mature attitude towards life therefore all this is to be admired upon by most viewers and should be successful in doing so.
William Shakespeare uses the element of dramatic irony with the character of Juliet.
“Indeed, I never shall be satisfied with Romeo, till I behold
The way in which she masks her feelings for Romeo gives the audience a greater involvement. The audience will revel in the fact that they know a vital piece of information that the initial characters do not even know. She covers up her deep feelings towards Romeo, which for anyone in her situation would be difficult to do. This use of dramatic irony keeps the audience in suspense and makes them feel rather more involved with the character of Juliet. This also creates further approbation towards Juliet and helps maintain the attention of the viewers.
In my opinion, the way in which William Shakespeare has composed ‘Romeo and Juliet’ has sustained the interest, excitement and suspense throughout the entire play.
The fact that it is cleverly written and constructed evolves a superior appeal and aids it in becoming a timeless piece; the subject has a positive affect on all age ranges. Whether young or old, everyone has some element in which to relate to. An older audience could revel in the aspect of Juliet’s ‘obscene’ behaviour and defiance, whereas a younger audience could be occupied with the facet of Romeo and Juliet’s devotion to the peculiar behaviour of Capulet.
William Shakespeare deals with jealousy, hate, great passion and defiance, which is something we can all relate to and appreciate to a certain degree.
I think this play written by William Shakespeare was fantastically composed and was written with a certain technique that is impossible to be achieved by the majority of writers. His skill, dexterity and aptitude to write was truly proved in “Romeo and Juliet’.
Ayesha Parvez 10FA 10.1 Miss Grogan