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    William Shakespeare creates a lot of tension for the audience in Romeo and Juliet during act one scene five Essay

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    William Shakespeare creates a lot of tension for the audience in Romeo and Juliet during act one scene five, where we see Romeo and Juliet fall deeply in love. The audience know that they are both from feuding families- the Capulets and Montagues before Romeo and Juliet themselves discover it, which creates tension. Shakespeare also creates tension by showing contrasts in the moods and emotions of the characters, particularly Tybalt and Capulet. He also uses different styles of language, acting and dramatic irony to produce more tension within this scene.

    The atmosphere at the beginning of the scene is very bright, entertaining and effective. This is because Capulet is welcoming his guests in a humorous and cheerful manner. ‘Welcome gentlemen. Ladies that have their toes unplagued with corns will walk about with you. Ah ha my mistresses, which of you all will now deny to dance?’ This quote is extracted from the Capulet’s welcoming speech, clearly in a good mood. This shows the merry mood he intends for the party to have and his humour and jolliness rubs off on the rest of the guests, as the party eventually breaks into song and dance. We can also see from his speech these intentions when he says ‘A hall a hall, give room and foot it girls’. This also shows his encouragement and eagerness to get the festivities started.

    When Romeo first speaks of Juliet ‘Oh she doth teach the torches to burn bright…’ it injects a lot of romance into the scene. Firstly Romeo uses a number of metaphors and similes to emphasise his view of Juliet’s beauty, ‘So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows’. This shows that Romeo compares her to being the most beautiful in the room and standing out from the rest of the women, as the dove symbolises Juliet and her beauty amongst the dark crows.

    ‘It seems she hangs upon the cheek of the night…’ This quote is Romeo descriptively stating his overwhelming his praising view of her and her radiance, which again effectively shows the romance and passion. This part of the scene is a sonnet, which is very poetic compared to the other sections of this scene, making it a unique style from the rest of the language within the scene.

    When Tybalt realises a Montague is present at his family’s party, he becomes very outraged and rather hotheaded that they had dared to trespass the party. ‘This by voice should be a Montague, fetch me a rapier boy.’ This quote shows his sheer outrage and hatred towards the Montague family marking the beginning of conflict in order to get revenge for what they have done. So much does he feel angered that he is willing to disrupt the peaceful and merry mood of the party in order to do so. However surprisingly Capulet disagrees with this and a strong conversation develops between the two family members. ‘Why, uncle t’is a shame…’ ‘Go to go to.’

    This quote shows that Capulet is intolerant of Tybalt’s intentions to retaliate and the conversation becomes further heated, whilst seeing a different side to Capulet for the first time. ‘You are a saucy boy. Is’t so indeed?’ This quote from Capulet shows an insult thrown at Tybalt being so insolent, noting that at the time of writing these words were considered to be rather strong, even though not seeming much now.

    In terms of how this part between the two men should be played, the actors should portray these lines by Capulet showing a strong contrast between his jolliness at the start of the scene to his anger at the present time. Both actors should show strong expressions whilst arguing to strongly emphasise the disagreements between the two hotheaded men to the audience. Body language is also important too. Whilst facing the audience, gestures should be used to again exaggerate the situation and the mood of the characters.

    Particularly in lines 90/91, Tybalt gives a number of warnings and further implications between the families for the future. Although at the end of the argument with Capulet he agrees to calm, he clearly shows this is only for the short term and he may use this as a reason to seek revenge and conflict with the opposing family. Tybalt is clearly going to be the first to make a move with the fights and revenge as shown in lines 88-91. ‘Patience perforce with wilful choler makes my flesh tremble in their different greeting.’ ‘I will withdraw, but this intrusion shall, now seeming sweet, convert to bitterest gall.’

    Tension is increased for the audience, as they know who Romeo and Juliet are in terms of family ties, and the tension is also built up in this scene in many other ways. Firstly the tension is increased when Romeo and Juliet begin to talk on a one to one basis. ‘My lips two blushing pilgrims ready to stand to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.’ This quote gives evidence of Romeo being desperate to kiss Juliet- his object of affection, and compares her to being like a shrine to him.

    The tension builds because instead of an immediate embrace between them both, they talk romantically to each other for a while. This leaves the audience in suspense as to whether they kiss each other or not, and begin a romance. There is also hesitance between Romeo and Juliet questioning each other as to whether to kiss and if they have fallen in love with each other. ‘Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?’ ‘Ay pilgrims lips that that they must use in prayer.’ These quotations give evidence of the couple’s constant questioning of their possible love for one another. As the conversation intensifies and Romeo and Juliet are about to embrace tension therefore increases because the audience know that if they do, they shall both be eventually heartbroken when they discover their family identities, which are known to the audience already. This is an example in this scene of dramatic irony.

    In the final section of the scene, Romeo and Juliet discover separately who they both are. The tension increases by the fact that Romeo only discovers Juliet’s identity by knowing who her mother is and catching on then to her Capulet household name.

    ‘What is her mother?’ ‘Her mother is lady of the house…’ ‘Is she a Capulet? Oh dear account my life is my foe’s debt.’ This conversation between he and the nurse shows how he learns about Juliet and of the realisation that he is getting involved with a member of the opposing family- the Capulets. Note that Romeo asks indirectly about Juliet, which again causes tension because he is afraid that the nurse will discover his romantic intentions and that she as a result would ruin it.

    ‘His name is Romeo, and a Montague…’ This is spoken by the nurse to Juliet informing her of her worst fears like Romeo of their backgrounds. From these quotes therefore tension occurs when both realise from the nurse individually who they truly are, and the dismay that they both feel when they know that their true love for one another could be destroyed due to their name.

    ‘My grave is like to be my wedding bed.’ This quote from Juliet, states that she will either die unmarried or she will die if she cannot marry Romeo under all these circumstances. This is an omen for the future because she ironically dies later on as a result of all her love for Romeo. ‘My life is my foes debt.’ Romeo quotes this also when discovering about Juliet, means that his life is dependant on his enemy. This is again an omen for the future because he also dies as a result of his household enemy but Juliet in the end. This again is an example of dramatic irony whereby we see them speaking omens for the future, and then because of their romance becoming real.

    In conclusion Shakespeare has used many elements in order to create tension for the audience in this scene. He has used dramatic irony along with a build up in dialogue during Romeo and Juliet’s conversation to create tension for the audience. This proves to be very effective upon analysing it. Also Shakespeare has developed an alternative style and use of language when Romeo describes the beauty and his love for Juliet. He uses a sonnet and poetic, romantic styles along with uses of similes and metaphors to emphasise his love for her.

    This was effective because it is a turning point when the audience views Romeo falling in love with the enemy, and from the style the tension increases for the audience as the irony again comes into effect. Shakespeare also adds lines into the lines of Romeo and Juliet when they discover their identities that imply hints for future events. These are also constructive because he mixes present and future occurrences in small hints and statements like the omens.

    The actors portraying all the characters in this scene would firstly show a contrast in Capulet’s mood, from his jolly mood at the beginning of the scene to his heated conversation with Tybalt. It is important to use as much vocal facial and bodily expressions as possible in this scene. This is because there are so many feelings, and emotions to portray strongly to the audience. The scenes involving Romeo and Juliet should be acted passionately with lots of vocal expression. This is because the scenes are romantic and very dramatic in order to show to the audience the extent of their love.

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