How is tension created in act 3 scene 1 of 'Romeo and Juliet' by William Shakespeare

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How is tension created in act 3 scene 1 of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by William Shakespeare

In ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by William Shakespeare, Act 3 Scene 1 is one of the most important and significant scenes in the play because it changes the course of the play. The scene includes the deaths of Mercutio and Tybalt. These two deaths are significant because they are the reason why Romeo is banished from Verona for killing Tybalt. Romeo kills Tybalt because Tybalt killed Mercutio and he wants to get revenge on Tybalt for killing his best friend, it therefore has an impact on Romeo and Juliet’s relationship as Tybalt is Juliet’s cousin. We know that in the end Romeo and Juliet die because in the sonnet at the start of the play it says “tow star-crossed lovers take their lives.” After the deaths of Mercutio and Tybalt several of the characters change. The nurse before this scene supports Romeo and Juliet’s relationship but then when Romeo kills Tybalt she says that Juliet should forget about him and marry Paris. The nurse have previously created humour in the play but telling crude jokes and comments but now her mood is serious and she no longer makes jokes.


When Tybalt arrives on the scene Mercutio and Benvolio are in the town square of Verona. It is midday which is also the hottest part of the day; this is the same as Act 1 Scene 1. We know that it is this time of because Benvolio says to Mercutio, “I pray thee, good Mercutio, let’s retire: the day is hot, the Capulets abroad.” In this quote he is saying that he wants to go home because the sun is high and hot. And also because the Capulets will be near by. At the beginning of the play the atmosphere is light-hearted and jocular. One way the scene id light-hearted is how Mercutio uses prose. Another way you can tell that the atmosphere is light-hearted is the way Mercutio makes fun of Benvolio. “Thou wilt quarrel with a man for cracking nuts, having no other reason but because thou hast hazel eye.” This is saying that Benvolio would fight with anyone just because they have hazel eyes. You can tell that Mercutio is making fun of Benvolio because we can see that Benvolio is the peacemaker of the play. In this scene Mercutio is acting very peculiar and slightly angry. We know he is in the kind of mood when he says “by my heel, I care not.” He says this in reply to Benvolio’s comment that the Capulets are on their way. This comment shows that he does not care that the Capulets are coming and that Tybalt seems ready for a fight. Mercutio acts similarly to this in Act 1 Scene 5 when he starts talking about when Queen Mab coming into his dreams and also when he takes drugs before attending the Capulet’s party.

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In this scene Benvolio tries to keep the peace between the Capulets and the Montagues. We know that he is trying to do this because Benvolio says, “We talk here in the public haunt of men: either withdraw unto some private place, and reason coldly of your grievances, or else depart: here all eyes gaze on us.” This shows that Benvolio is a peace keeper and that he is trying to save both the Capulets and the Montagues because he knows what will happen to them if they fight in a public place. He reminds them of what the Prince ...

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