The main atmosphere is a joyful one, which is only spoilt by Tybalt threat. There is also an atmosphere of love, but the audience know that this happiness will only be short lived because it was mentioned in the prologue. Shakespeare uses rhyming couplets to express Romeo’s love, creating a unique atmosphere of love. “Like a rich jewel in an Ethiop's ear; … for earth to dear.” This shows Juliet as something beautiful even though she is a Capulet. He also uses them to refer back to the family feuds through the sonnet form.
The central issue of love is sustained in this scene and there is a change in Romeo’s character. He is now more assertive about love and his questions about love are now purely rhetorical while his previous statements earlier in the play seemed to be knowledgeable proclamations but ironically demonstrated his confusions about love “did my heart love till now?” upon seeing Juliet.
In this scene there is a change in Romeo’s character. In the opening scene he is unhappy and very secretive, “And private in his chamber pens himself.” Now he is ecstatic and expresses all his feelings about Juliet. The nature of love has changed. In the opening scene Romeo saw love like a child and was very confused but now he his not confused and truly loves Juliet although before he supposedly loved Rosaline, which we later find to be false love. In Shakespeare’s time it was fashionable to show the confusion of love by using these. “O loving hate.” The change in the nature of these images also reflects the change in the nature of Romeo’s love. Other dramatic techniques used in this scene are Shakespeare’s use of rhyming couplets, which Tybalt speaks. Shakespeare uses them to emphasis feeling. In using them he conveys Tybalt's anger for Romeo’s intrusion, which shows the tension between the two families.
In Act 2 scene 2, the religious imagery is continued. When Romeo is talking to Juliet on the balcony he is looking up at her. Shakespeare used this dramatic device to convey Juliet as a Godly figure, almost the Virgin Mary. This sustains the religious image. This is a very important scene and Shakespeare shows this by using celestial images, which reflects the Elizabethan obsession with the cosmos, this was also the case with astrology, which was a great interest in the Royal Courts.
In this scene Juliet is seen as the sun, which is a life – giving entity. Romeo was previously spoken about in terms of illness and death. Before Romeo was said to “pen himself [in] artificial night”, but he now looks up at Juliet in these celestial terms. He uses metaphors, “Juliet is the sun”, and similies, “Her eyes are as bright as daylight” to keep up this image of the sun and heaven. This shows there is brightness and new hope in Romeo’s life. He also uses personification to make Romeo’s love for Juliet more accessible to the audience. “Arise fair sun and kill the envious moon”. Using these methods Shakespeare also shows the audience that Romeo’s mood has dramatically altered.
Shakespeare creates a mystical atmosphere in this scene by using an alliterating S sound. This slows down the reading creating a feeling of suspense and mystery. “He jests at scars”. There is also an atmosphere of brightness and emotional intensity; Romeo uses the strongest images to refer to Juliet. “ As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven.”
After leaving the celebratory atmosphere Romeo seems a little unsure, he approaches Juliet with some trepidation “ I am too bold” because he does not know how she will react, this reemphasis’s the family feuds theme. He is however enraptured by Juliet. Shakespeare shows this in Romeo’s speech “I am no pilot, yet were thou as that vast shore washed with the farthest sea, I should adventure for such merchandise.”
Shakespeare intensifies the drama by using a soliloquy at the beginning of the scene. Romeo is apparently only speaking to himself and this device shows the audience how deeply in love he is.
Shakespeare also used an image of sea travel. This metaphor for life was very common in Shakespeare’s time. In Elizabethan England sea-trade was a major everyday occurrence. Sea voyages were leading to discoveries of new lands and items. Elizabeth considered herself to be an Empress and ruled a number of lands. It refers to Romeo and Juliet’s journey; it is going to be very dangerous and will end in their deaths, which is what could happen on a sea voyage.
In Act 2, scene 3, Friar Lawrence is seen gathering plants, which is a key part of the play. The main theme in this scene is love. Romeo reveals his true feeling s of Juliet and Lawrence chides Romeo for his former feelings for Rosaline. The whole of Friar Lawrence’s first speech is a soliloquy. Shakespeare uses this to set the atmosphere, which is a mystical one concentrating on life and death. He also uses a similie to compare that Friar Lawrence is saying to something the audience can relate with. “Heckled darkness like a drunkard reels”. Shakespeare use oxymoric language to show that the plants symbolise love. Some plants contain medicine while others contain poison just as love can bring happiness and sadness. This can be linked to the prologue, as we know Romeo’s love will eventually kill him. He uses metaphors to carry on this image of Romeo and the plants. “Nature’s mother is her tomb.”
Shakespeare also uses a series of oxymoron’s and paradoxes. The opposites represent the two households, which are a central theme in the play. It shows the audience how difficult Romeo and Juliet’s love is with their two families feuding. Friar Lawrence also passes social comment: “In man as well as herbs – grace and rude will” He also uses personification to add to the image. He makes Romeo’s problem more accessible to the audience by doing this. “Care keeps his watch.”
Shakespeare heightens the dramatic impact in this scene by foreshadowing the confusion between Romeo and Juliet being helped by the potion given to Juliet by Friar Lawrence and Romeo then thinking she is dead later on in the play. Also by Juliet first drinking the sleeping draught and then trying to drink from Romeo’s poison bottle, and again by Juliet drinking the draught, which is designed to help her and Romeo drinking the poison, designed to kill him. The scene is also emotionally intense as this scene begins the tragic sequences and the couple are desperate and only Lawrence can help them. Also Romeo says that he is willing to take his own life for Juliet.
In this scene we see another character change. Before, when Romeo was in love with Rosaline, he was unable to function, while now he is assertive and livelier. Lawrence observes this and warns Romeo: “They stumble that run fast.”
This is a metaphor and Shakespeare uses it to prefigure the ending. Their relationship has been fast and they got married only days after meeting each other and the prologue tells us that the relationship will end in tragedy.
In Act 3, Scene 3, Romeo is banished for killing Tybalt. To Romeo this is worse than a death sentence as he cannot see Juliet. Shakespeare shows this by using a similie comparing Romeo’s banishment with a death sentence. It is a euphemism for death as he will not be able to live without Juliet so he might as well be dead. “Thous cut’st my head off with a golden axe.” He also uses personification to make Romeo’s banishment look like a person for the audience thus drawing the audience to the action. “Howling attends it.” Friar Lawrence says to Romeo: “Thou art wedded to calamity.” This is both and a metaphor and it personifies calamity. Shakespeare uses it heighten the drama by prefiguring death and sustain the theme of Romeo and Juliet not being in control of their destinies being “Star crossed lovers.” This is further sustained by references to “doom.”
In this scene the theme of family feuds is brought up again. Shakespeare uses this theme to show the audience how hard it is for Romeo and Juliet to love each other. Romeos says, “Heaven is where Juliet lives” which sustains the religious image from the previous scenes. Shakespeare creates the image of hell and torture to show the audience how Romeo’s banishment compares with death. This also creates a dark atmosphere, “the damned use that word in hell.” Friar Lawrence suggests that Romeo can be consoled by philosophy, he says, “armour to keep off that word Adversity’s sweet milk, philosophy.” but of course he can’t.
In Act 3, Scene 5, Juliet is told of her marriage to Paris. Her parents tell her she is to marry Paris, while unknown to them she is already married. Shakespeare uses this dramatic irony to keep the audience in suspense as the audience know but the characters do not. He uses a mix of metaphors and personification in Juliet’s speech in the first line to show how Juliet is so sad to see Romeo leave. This also illuminates the love theme, “jocund day.” as well as the themes of destiny and feuding.
In this scene Juliet is seen to have changed a great deal. In the first act she is portrayed as a brave little girl who is very obedient, but in this scene she defies her father’s wishes to marry Paris and does not tell them of her relationship with Romeo, and, of course, she has lost her virginity. Shakespeare uses a metaphor of rubbish to show Juliet as a whore. Capulet uses it ironically as he is unaware that Juliet has had sex, whereas the audience do know this. “Out you baggage.” This creates a violent atmosphere.
In this scene Shakespeare also uses a soliloquy to show how Juliet really feels about Nurse. The last speech in the scene shows Juliet talking about Nurse. This has a great affect because the audience can relate with how Juliet feels, “Ancient damnation.” It also shows how her character has changed; she is now less of a spoiled brat. At the beginning of the scene Shakespeare uses a pun, “straining harsh.” This has the opposite affect because it creates a light-hearted atmosphere and gives the audience some comedy to keep this interested. As well as this there is also the atmosphere associated with death, which is shown by the personification of sorrow, “Dry sorrow drinks our blood”
Throughout the play, but in this scene especially there are images based on Greek and Roman myths. It demonstrates the Elizabethan obsession with antiquity. Romeo’s banishment scene where is about to leave Juliet after spending the night with her is similar to the Greek myth “Cynthia”. These images conjure other images like the sun.
Act 5, Scene 3 is the final scene where Romeo and Juliet take their own lives. In this scene Shakespeare uses a metaphor to again show the journey image. It was Elizabethan obsession to talk about ships and journeys and Shakespeare uses this to describe life. “The dashing rocks they sea-sick weary bark.” Shakespeare does this to compare Romeo and Juliet’s relationship to something the audience can relate to. This also builds up the suspense before they take their own lives.
In this scene Shakespeare also uses personification when Juliet stabs herself. “O happy dagger.” This shows that she is glad that the dagger will end her suffering. This brings her death to a climax and creates an atmosphere of tension and depression. Shakespeare also uses oxymorons to continue the image of sadness and how Romeo cannot live without Juliet. “Unsustainable death is amorous.”
These points show how Shakespeare masters figurative language and how his use of imagery intensifies the drama, creates atmosphere and illuminates the central theme. He masters the use of imagery and manages to tie it in with Elizabethan obsession. His use of figurative language conveys character and plots the dramatic rise and fall of Romeo and Juliet faultlessly gripping the audience at all times.
Here's what a teacher thought of this essay
The analysis in this essay is good, particularly the analysis of language. The title means that quite a lot has to be explored and perhaps a slightly more focused title may have enabled analysis to flow a little easier. 4 Stars