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Romeo and Juliet Tragic Play Essay

In: Shakespeare free essays

Romeo and Juliet Tragic Play Essay

Romeo and Juliet is a tragic play written by William Shakespeare in 1589. The play is made dramatically effective through the playwrights use of contrast There are two contrasting themes, these are love and hate, and peace and violence. Shakespeare also uses imagery, a example of his use of imagery is when Romeo first sees Juliet he says “Like a rich jewel in a Ethiope's ear.” What he's saying is that she is a bright jewel on a dark surface. This gives us the image that she is bright and everything around her is dark. Another way Shakespeare makes the play dramatically effective is using oxymoron's. This gives the play a sense of tension and confusion. Shakespeare also uses Dramatic Irony and fate. The playwright uses this to make the play really effective because we know that the play is going to end in a death which is what we hear form the prologue, and in part of the play Romeo thinks he will die. Even though the story was written many years ago, people still relate to it, they watch the films which some directors have made. The play is still relevant to audiences today, this is because people can still really hate each other, people still fall deeply in love, as did Romeo and Juliet. Some families even have some major feuds. This shows that things haven't changed. The play is still presented in theatres and it is extremely popular. Another technique the playwright uses is stage craft. If he wanted to create dramatic tension, for example he would fill up the whole of the stage with many people as this raises the sense of chaos. Then when he wanted the tension to become less he would have as many as two people on the stage.

In the start of the play, Shakespeare uses language and contrast to create mood and expectation for his audience. The first two characters that Shakespeare introduces us to in the beginning of the play are a contrast to each other. One is named Benvolio and he is a kind and loving character who wants to create peace between the two families. On the other hand there's Tybalt, who hates all the Montague's just wants to create a fight, he is a very angry man who doesn't want peace but wants to fight the Montague's which he calls his enemy. These two characters make the introduction to the play very dramatic, as it includes a lot of fighting it also has some very powerful language. As Tybalt says “What, drawn and talk of peace? I hate the word, As hell, I hate all Montague's and thee. Have at thee coward.” This part of the scene really shows us what Tybalt is like. It shows the hate and fury of his character. We are then introduced to  the character Romeo. At this point of the play, he believes he is deeply in love with a character called Rosaline. His language is lacking in substance and real feelings. His language is also very saccharine. Everything which he says is too well thought through, as if he has been sitting and thinking of every little detail what he wants to say. Shakespeare also uses oxymoron's to make this scene effective. An example of this is “Here's much to do with hate, but more with love, why then o brawling love, o loving hate”. Romeo mentions love and hate which are a contrast to each other. The Shakespearean audience would believe, that Romeo is not real love. This is because he shows no emotion in what he's saying.  In this part of the play, Shakespeare also uses Imagery, as Romeo, refers Rosaline to a goddess named Diana. Who is the goddess of hunting and chastity, she avoids cupids arrows. This is only a myth so the Shakespearean audience may not have believed that he was in proper love, because what he was saying isn't true.

Shakespeare continues to create a dramatically effective play, through the contrast in mood between the end of Act 1 scene 4 and Act 1 scene 5. Act 1 Scene 4  ends with Romeo telling his best friend Mercutio and his cousin Benvolio, about how he doesn't want to go to the Capulet's party, because of a dream he has had, about how the dream showed him that his evening was going to end with something tragic. This part it would make the audience very aware, as the Elizabethans were very superstitious and they believed in omens. A way in which Shakespeare makes this part of the play effective is   through dramatic irony. This is effective because the audience already knows something about Romeo, that this evening may result in the death of him and other people. It then goes onto the Capulet's party which begins with panic and a lot of chaos. This is a contrast, as scene 4 ends with not many people on stage, to many people on stage, running around trying to get the party ready. It then changes from a very chaotic atmosphere to a very happy atmosphere, as everyone is in a party mood. Capulet is in a very good mood, and makes all his guests welcome.  He speaks in a very jocular manner, which gets the audiences attention. He teases all his guests which would make them laugh. I would say that he puts himself down, because he says about how old he is now, and about how there is so many young men ready to pick up the ladies off their feet and dance with them. This scene is very different to the first scene we see in the play. It shows the contrast between peace and violence. As in the beginning, there is a lot of violence but at this part of the play, everyone is happy and no-one is thinking about destroying the party, or making a feud.

Romeo's romantic speech about Juliet contrasts greatly with Capulet's jocular manner, creating further drama throughout the scene. When Capulet makes his first speech he is a very teasing character. He says too the ladies, “ladies that have their toes unplagued  with corns will have about with you. Ah ha, my mistresses! Which of you all will now deny to dance? She that makes dainty, she, I'll swear, hath corns; am I come near ye now?”. What Capulet is trying to say is that all the ladies have to prove that they do not have corns on their feet, by dancing with him on the dance floor. He's saying it in a nice manner, he's not being horrible, he's just teasing them, because he wants everyone to be dancing on the dance floor. Romeo then enters the party, and he immediately sees Juliet across the room, and falls in love with her. He makes a romantic speech about Juliet, and how he feels. Shakespeare's use, many different techniques such as Imagery. He refers to Juliet as a dove, which we know is small and pretty and is a symbol for love and peace. He then refers to Rosaline as a swan. Which is a lot bigger creature, and it isn't as loving, or romantic. Shakespeare also uses rhyming. The end of every line Romeo speaks rhymes. For example “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.” At this moment, Romeo is forgetting all about his love for Rosaline, which shows the Shakespearean audience that he was never in real love. Romeo's language at this stage of the play is also a contrast to his earlier talk about Rosaline. When he talked about Rosaline he referred to mythological creatures such as Cupid, and the goddess Diana.  But when he talks about Juliet, he refers to Christianity references. Which would relate to the Shakespearean audience a lot more. Capulet's and Romeo's speech are a big contrast to each other, because Capulet says his in a very joy full way, and he knows what he wants to say, where as Romeos is a lot more different. Mainly because of the way that the playwright has made his speech so effective, with the use of rhyming and Imagery.

Tybalts speech about Romeo is a huge love and hate contrast to Romeo's romantic speech about Juliet. Just after Romeo's very romantic speech about Juliet, Shakespeare takes us straight to the character of Tybalt. Who has just seen Romeo at the party. His speech is very dramatic, as he wants to cause a fight with Romeo and kill him. In this part of the play the tension would become very high, as Shakespeare would fill up the stage

with lots of people. Tybalt refers to Romeo as a slave, and how it would not be a sin to kill him. This is a huge contrast between love and hate. Because we have Romeo, who is talking all about love, and Tybalt who's words are full of nothing but hate and anger towards Romeo. Another way in which Shakespeare makes this scene very effective is that Romeo is oblivious too the fact that Tybalt is threatening his presence. As in the play, there would be Romeo on one side of the stage, and Tybalt on the other. I know that at this point the audience know that something will happen, but they don't know what to expect. So they would be very on edge, because it might make them think that Romeo is already going to be killed. Because we know that something was going to happen to Romeo, after he mentions a dream he had which showed him that something bad was going to happen, if he went to the party. When Capulet finds Tybalt in his storming rage, there is a fight between the two of them. Capulet tells Tybalt to leave Romeo alone, and to let him enjoy the party, but Tybalt argues, that he shouldn't be there. There is then a power struggle at this point, because Tybalt is a older son and he is expected to inherit the Capulet's family fortune, but Capulet threatens to take away his inheritance, if he doesn't do what he says. Shakespeare's written many other plays which involve conflict over money and inheritance, such as Much ado about nothing, which involves two brothers called Don John and Don Pedro who  are against each other because of inheritance. 

When Romeo and Juliet meet, the tension levels change drastically.  Shakespeare uses many ways to make this part of the play effective. There is a big change on stage, as we go from a high tension point with many people running around on stage, to a low tension point where we don't have as many people on stage or there is just Romeo and Juliet alone. In this scene Shakespeare uses metaphors. Romeo refers to Juliet as a shrine, and himself as a pilgrim. They also talk in a shared sonnet together. A sonnet was invented in the 13th century in Italy. It is a poetic form of love. People who have used sonnets before are Dante-Vita Nuova, and Petrach who wrote 317 sonnets in total. We also have Shakespeare who wrote many sonnets about love. In this part of the play the sonnet makes it very effective, as it means we can tell that there is a connection between the two lovers, Romeo and Juliet. Romeo and Juliet's speech is very formal and patterning it is a gentle expression of love. After there speech the nurse comes in saying, “Madam, your mother craves a word with you.” This brings the reality back. Juliet has to leave.

I think that Romeo's love which he expressed for Rosaline wasn't real.  His language with Juliet  shows a lot more emotion in what he is saying. One of the main reasons why I don't believe Romeo's love for Rosaline is because when he talked about her he referred to mythological creatures, which is not real. But when he talked about Juliet he talked all 

about Christianity. Also Romeo compares to Juliet as a lot more things which symbolise with love. Where as he compares Rosaline to other things. I think that the Shakespearean audience would have agreed with me, that Romeo's love for Rosaline was not real. I wouldn't say it was fake, but I would say that he might have liked or loved her a little, but not as much as he said he did. I personally think that Romeo was in love with being in love, and I think that his behaviour when he though he was in love with Rosaline was very attention seeking.  I think that the Shakespearean audience would have thought that Romeo was attention seeking as well. As in the beginning of the play, lady Montague is saying about how Romeo has been acting. She says that in the day Romeo just walks off himself all on his own, and at night just locks himself away and cries. In a way it sounds as if he is trying to get attention by doing this. In class we discussed about how we thought that this was normal behaviour for a teenager, and a teenager in love.   

The effect of At the end of Act 1 scene 5 makes this part of the play very effective, as the tension gets even higher when Romeo and Juliet find out they are each others enemy.

Scene 5, it is when Romeo and Juliet find out that they are each others enemy. This is a very effective ending. Because they have fallen in love everything has happened. When Romeo finds out that Juliet is a Capulet he says “O dear account! My life is my foe's debt.” What he means by this is that he now owes his life to his enemy. Because he's in love with her. So it means his life is now always going to have his enemy in it. After Romeo has found out about Juliet being a Capulet, she then asks her nurse to find out who Romeo is. But she is very careful, as first she asks who another man is, before asking who Romeo is. She says to the nurse “Go ask his name: if he be married. My grave is like to be my wedding bed.” She is asking the nurse to find out if he's married, she then says that if he is already married she will die. When the nurse tells her that he is Romeo and a son of her enemy. Juliet says “My only love sprung from my only hate! Too early seen unknown and known too late! Prodigious birth of love it is to me, that I must love a loathed enemy.” What she's saying here is that she has already seen him now, and she's fallen in love with him, she says its too late she's in love with her enemy, and she can't turn back now. Juliet also introduces the theme of death as Juliet's lover. Because she says “my grave is like to be my wedding bed.” This moment for both of the characters is a very high tension point,a s they don't know what will happen to them. It will make the Shakespearean audience very uncertain on what will happen next. After finding out each others real identity, both Romeo and Juliet want to see each other again. Both of them still want to be together.

In conclusion, Act 1 scene 5 is very dramatic because of all of the techniques Shakespeare uses. Like the big contrasts of love and hate throughout the play. It would be all quiet and calm, then it would go into a big fight or argument, it just shows that Romeo and Juliet would never be able to be together in peace. I also like the way that Shakespeare uses imagery. Especially when Romeo is describing Juliet, it gives us the picture that Juliet is beautiful. I also love the way which Shakespeare has used the love sonnets. When I read the part when Romeo and Juliet first meet, the sonnets really made me feel as if there was a connection between the two of them, as if they were meant to be, but you have to bare in mind, the fact that they cannot be together because of this huge family feud. Shakespeare also uses a lot of dramatic Irony which makes the scenes very effective, because Romeo has the dream in which tells him that either him or someone else will die, and yet he just ignores it. Some of the oxymoron's which Shakespeare uses really make Romeo's speeches about Rosaline effective. They make him sound confused and as if he doesn't know what to do or say. There is other very effective and dramatic scenes such as the balcony scene which is very romantic, and before Romeo is banished to Mantua. Romeo and Juliet spend a very romantic night together. I think that Act 1 scene 5 really engages the audience as it is so romantic. It is also very eventful, especially when Tybalt starts to threaten to kill Romeo, in the middle of a party.  This scene of Romeo and Juliet meeting is very crucial because if they hadn't have met there would be no story. If Romeo and Juliet's families were not enemies, then it would not be very dramatic or exciting. If we didn't have the contrast of love and hate it would make the play boring, as we wouldn't have the fights and the romance. I really enjoyed this part of the play as it is so romantic, and when I read the part of Romeo and Juliet meeting I felt as if something bad was going to happen straight after which is true, because at this point Tybalt wanted to kill him. It really built some tension, as I didn't know whether Romeo was going to get killed straight away, or whether there was going to be a fight. So there for I think that Shakespeare has made Act1 scene 5 very effective as he has used so many different techniques which people today can still emphasise with.