How does Shakespeare create tension in Act 3, Scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet?

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How does Shakespeare create tension in Act 3, Scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet?

By Giovanna Machado

“Romeo and Juliet” is a tragic play, which is about the young, unshakeable love of “star-crossed lovers”, which defies the feud that divides their families – the Capulets and Montagues – as their desperate need to be together, their secret meetings, and finally their concealed marriage drive them towards tragedy.

Act 3, Scene 5 opens with Juliet saying goodbye to Romeo, who must leave for Mantua. In the previous scene the audience has heard Capulet offer Juliet's hand in marriage to Paris. We can foresee that Juliet will not be happy about her father's decision. Once Romeo has gone, Lady Capulet tells Juliet she must marry. Juliet refuses, and her father angrily insists that she marry Paris or be turned out of the house. Alone with the Nurse, Juliet asks for advice. She replies that Juliet should marry Paris. Juliet is astounded and pretends to agree to this advice, while deciding that the only person who can help her is Friar Lawrence.

The themes of “Romeo and Juliet” are mainly love and hate. Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. Love is a very important theme in this play, because the play focuses on romantic love, specifically the intense passion that springs up at first sight between Romeo and Juliet. Hate is also another important theme because there is violence and arguments throughout the play, mainly coming from the two families – The Capulets and The Montagues – this is because there was an ancient grudge but there was still no forgiveness, so the two families were still considered enemies. The two themes are connected from when Juliet learns that Romeo is a Montague, and their parents are enemies. This is shown in the lines of “Deny thy father and refuse thy name,” Juliet asks, “Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, / And I’ll no longer be a Capulet”. These quotes prove that the ancient hate from the two families, was now just an obstacle between the two lovers, and they do not care about what family their partner come from, as they are truly in love.

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Shakespeare uses dramatic irony to create tension in Act 3, Scene 5.  Dramatic Irony is a writing technique, which is when the audience knows something, but the characters in the story or play do not. This is shown in the lines of “Methinks I see thee…as one dead in the bottom of a tomb” This is ironic as it is the last time the lovers will see each other. Dramatic irony is used to create tension in the scene, so the audience will be wondering what will happen later on the play.

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