Explore the Ways That Shakespeare Makes Act 1 Scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet Dramatically Effective.

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Essay Question :

Explore the ways that Shakespeare makes Act 1 Scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet dramatically effective.

In the play Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare explores the themes of love and hate. It is ultimately a love story between the characters Romeo and Juliet that ends in tragedy due to the ongoing feud between their families, the Montague’s and Capulet’s. Before Act 1 Scene 5 where the main characters would meet for the first time. The audience were aware that Romeo was madly in love with a girl named Rosaline who did not love him back. They also knew Juliet’s father was attempting to arrange a marriage between his daughter and her suitor Paris. Therefore the audience expected that in Act 1 Scene 5, where the Capulet’s were hosting a masquerade ball, Romeo would try to cheer up and find Rosaline; while Juliet would meet and judge her possible husband Paris.

In Act 1 scene 5 Capulet opened up the masquerade ball with a speech, “Welcome gentlemen! Ladies that have toes unplagu’d with corns will walk about with you.” Shakespeare intended the speech to be welcoming and the humorous, to create a dramatic effect. It created a happy atmosphere and so the audience were to believe that the evening would be a pleasant and joyful night for all who attended. This contrasts with the tense atmosphere at the beginning of the play when Capulet’s and Montague’s were fighting.

At the ball Romeo declared a speech of real romance after seeing Juliet for the first time. He described Juliet “as a rich jewel in an Ethiopian’s ear and asked himself “did my heart love till now”. The simile that compares Juliet to a rich jewel makes Romeo’s speech dramatically effective. Shakespeare shows how much Romeo has fallen in love with Juliet, his passionate language contrasts with the teasing character of Capulet’s own speech and the story line now dramatically changes to a romance. At the same time however Shakespeare creates an anxious atmosphere as the audience are aware...
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