Romeo and Juliet, one of Shakespeare’s early plays is about two young lovers from rival households that feel the only way they can be together is to get married.
Like some of Shakespeare’s best work Romeo and Juliet fits into the tragic genre; although it could be considered a comedy as it starts out a comic play, and stays comic until the death of Mercutio in Act3 Scene1.
The play is based on opposite themes; love and hate, passion and moderation and honour, all of which run throughout. One main theme is fate as Romeo predicts his own death.
Act3 Scene1 fits in the play as the turning point, when the mood turns from happy to sad, Romeo and Juliet’s relationship causes trouble although no one knows about them becoming married.
The scene progresses as Romeo refuses to fight Tybalt, even thou he was insulted so instead Mercutio goes in for the fight and is killed, the theme of honour appears here in the way one friend died for another, in Elizabethan times would be gratefully looked upon, as Tybalt had just killed his best friend Romeo now seeks revenge ending up killing Tybalt, which results in his banishment.
Throughout this scene, Benvolio acts as the narrator by playing his part, which tells the story…
‘…the day is hot and the Capels are abroad, And if we meet we will not scape a brawl…’ Benvolio tells the audience that it is a hot day with people’s emotions running high and if the Montague’s and Capulets meet, they will not escape a fight.
Near the end of the scene, Benvolio has a monologue telling the prince and the rest of the community what has just happened with Romeo, Mercutio and Tybalt, in which he is subjective,
‘thou slew thy kingsman…Tybalt her slain, whom Romeo’s hand did slay…with gentle breath, carm look, knee’s humbly bowed…’
Benvolio talks about how Tybalt killed Mercutio, reminding everyone he was a member of the Princes family, before Romeo even thought about fighting and that Romeo tried to tell Tybalt there are reasons they should not fight.
Benvolio is slightly biased toward Romeo firstly because they are cousins, and because two people have died already today and Romeo was acting in revenge, it was not his first choice of what to do.
The fight in this scene is not the first, Montague and Capulet youngsters often argue in the streets.
‘…the Prince expressly hath, forbid this bandying in Verona streets…’
This is Benvolio narrating, reminding the characters what the must not do and informing the audience of what the prince had said.
Romeo reminds Tybalt and Mercutio who are fighting as well that, if the prince or any members of ‘The Watch’ see them, they will be executed.
Romeo, Mercutio, and Benvolio gatecrashed a Capulet party, which caused trouble with Tybalt who now seeks revenge; this is part of the on-going feud between the families.
Shakespeare starts the scene with the lines ‘I pray thee good Mercutio lets retire: the day is hot and the Capels are abroad. And if we meet we will not scape a brawl, for now these hot days, is the mad blood stirring’
By Benvolio saying ‘I pray thee good Mercutio lets retire’ he is almost begging Mercutio to let them go home, Shakespeare tells us it is a hot day and the Capulets are around. This piece of speech sets the whole mood for the scene.
This makes the audience have expectations about what will happen, with a hot day people automatically think of tensions running high and trouble stirring.
Shakespeare has to set the scene like this because in Shakespearian times in a theatre, they would not have been able to create such an atmosphere with the backdrops and lighting so they had to set the scene through the words that are spoken.
Shakespeare contrasts this scene with the previous (Act2, Scene6) which is the romance scene in which Romeo and Juliet marry. This end up...