How does Shakespeare make Act 3 Scene 5 of 'Romeo and Juliet' especially dramatic?

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How does Shakespeare make Act 3 Scene 5 of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ especially dramatic? Explain and comment on the varying thoughts and feelings of the characters in this scene. What techniques do you think are particularly successful in creating dramatic tension?

‘Romeo and Juliet’, is a story of two young lovers, whose love was destined for destruction. They did not imagine that their love would lead to the tragedies that it did but with the constant pressures from their feuding families it soon ended in their tragic demise. Act 3 Scene 5 is of great importance since it reveals the anxious feelings and emotions of many characters. Events occur here, which have long-term consequences for the rest of the plays events; hence the scene can be viewed as a turning point.

Act 3 Scene 5 starts off in Juliet’s bedroom.  The atmosphere is calm and quiet and shows intimacy between the two.  Juliet awakes to the sound of a bird singing which she thinks is the nightingale symbolically the night bird. She is desperate to keep Romeo with her, almost convincing him to stay, but he is more reluctant.  Romeo appears more edgy and alert and is certain, that it is the day bird the lark, as he can now see the light.  He uses the metaphor ‘The night’s candles are burnt out’, meaning the stars have been burnt from the night sky. Light normally represents hope but this time is symbolising danger for him. Juliet is making excuses for Romeo to stay, she says the light he can see is a meteor and when he does eventually depart it will act as a guide for him. Romeo decides to stay; he is willing to put his life at risk and will accept death to be with Juliet. The audience reaction is now edgy and nervous in fear of them getting caught.  

Fear and understanding finally set in and Juliet tells Romeo to go: ‘It is, it is!  Hie hence, be gone, away!  It is the lark that sings so out of tune,  Straining harsh discords and unpleasing sharps. Some say the lark makes sweet division;  This doth not so, for she divideth us’.  Word play is used here as she refers to the lark normally making beautiful sounds with the song it creates as it divide, up note (sweet division) in its chest here, though the song causes them to separate. In the comment ‘Some say the lark and loathed toad change eyes, O; now I would they had changed voices too! Hunting thee hence with hunt's-up to the day’. Juliet is referring to a popular belief that the toad and lark could change eyes. If they changed bodies too, she would be very happy, as the song wouldn’t be a signal for Romeo to depart. If the toad was outside they could stay together but the lark is parting them. The hunting reference is referring to the increasing danger Romeo is in. The lighter it gets the darker they feel and more unhappy.  The darkness here is symbolising fears and problems: ‘More light and light it grows, more dark and dark our woes’.

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The intensity builds up when the Nurse informs Juliet of her mother coming to her chamber. The illusion of safety created by Juliet is suddenly brought to a halt when the fear of getting caught is almost inevitable. Juliet knows that Romeo must go but in doing this she knows she is letting her husband out never to see him again:  ‘Then, window, let day in, and let life out’. This again uses the light/dark symbolism with these contrasting words. When she opens the window she is letting the dangerous light in and her hopes for the future, Romeo ...

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