Discuss The Dramatic Effectiveness of The Soliloquies in Romeo and Juliet.
Romeo and Juliet is probably Shakespeare’s most well known play. It is the story of two star-crossed lovers fighting to find acceptance of their love. Throughout the play there is a consistent, ongoing fight between the Capulet’s and the Montague’s, Romeo being a Montague and Juliet being a Capulet. It all ends in tragedy but “through bad comes good” and the Capulet’s and Montague’s start to build bridges. In my essay I will be discussing the language Shakespeare uses to create terrific drama and suspense throughout the play. I will be discussing Friar Laurence’s soliloquy (Act 2, Scene 3), Juliet’s soliloquy (Act 3, Scene2) and Romeo’s Soliloquy (Act 5, Scene3).
We are first introduced to Friar Laurence during Act 2, Scene 3. It is early morning when he enters his cell with a basket. He plays the religious character in the play, we can also see that he is thought of as wise because Romeo, Juliet and the nurse all go to him seeking advice and comfort from their “terrors”. Religion had a huge emphasis within people’s everyday life in the Elizabethan period and therefore Friar Laurence had an important status to maintain throughout the play. Shakespeare informs his audience of this by using several devices; he uses blank verse and rhyming couplets. Blank verse was used to identify a key individual and the use of rhyming couplets helped to emphasise this.
Whilst watching this soliloquy amongst the tension in the theatre the audience would gain respect for him. This is because the Friar is a man who looks at life through all different aspects. When the Friar is talking about the plants “With baleful weeds and precious-juiced flowers” makes him seem genuine as he appreciates the power of something others would not. Later in the play we see that the Friar is using the plants as a metaphor he discusses the good and the bad points of plants, which is a metaphor for his own personality. You see this when the Friar abandons Juliet in her suicidal state. The audience will also feel trust in him because so far in the play Shakespeare has introduced so many temperamental characters, they would feel relieved to have a mature character to put their trust in.
With the Friars persistent referral to good and bad, life and death (good things plants can do and the bad things they can make). He is referring to a continuous cycle; whatever dies will be reborn again from nature “What is burying in her grave, that is her womb with his love he kills himself and in turn she sees her dead husband and also commits suicide (bad). This is the irony of his soliloquy, which is revealed later in the play. Maybe the Friars reference to bad resulting in good is, with the death of Romeo and Juliet, the Capulet’s and the Montague’s might find peace with each other “Vice sometimes by action dignified”. The plants that Friar Laurence talks about are a symbol for all the people in the world (good plants – good people, bad plants – bad people).
The audience is made to feel suspicious by the language Shakespeare uses. He creates a comparison between the Friar and the witches from “Macbeth” both of these characters use rhyming couplets and uses plants to create power for themselves. The audience is left wondering whether this was Shakespeare’s intention. By doing this Shakespeare is creating tension within the audience.
The Friars Soliloquy was used to show the importance of the Friar as a character and the importance of the plants in the final scenes.
Juliet’s soliloquy during Act 3, Scene 2 is another important soliloquy throughout the play. Juliet has just married her beloved Romeo and is anxiously waiting in her room to consummate their marriage. Shakespeare uses another device in Juliet’s soliloquy to create a feeling of sympathy for Juliet and to create a feeling of suspense...
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