How does Shakespeare make Act 1 Scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet dramatically effective? Melanie Ngai
Romeo and Juliet is a play written by William Shakespeare, which is about the feud of the Capulet’s and Montague’s. Romeo and Juliet fall in love, but find that they are the children of their parents’ enemies. Act 1, Scene 5 is an important scene in the play because it shows a change in relationships which greatly affects how the watching audience sees some of the major characters in the play.
There are many dramatic techniques used in this play, including plenty of dramatic irony. For example, in act one, scene five, the audience know that Romeo and Juliet are from rival families, but they are not aware of this when they first meet, and the young lovers don’t find out about each others identities (they are from rival families) until the end of the scene.
The audience’s initial reaction to the main characters could include Juliet being mature and level-headed, and Romeo easily swayed and in love with the idea of being in love rather than the person he is infatuated with (Rosaline). Mercutio is portrayed as playful optimist. Juliet’s nurse is also joyful but is much more motherly towards Juliet than Lady Capulet, who doesn’t seem to connect well with her daughter. The action that immediately preceeds the Nurse's revealing of the identities of the lovers allows us to see their attraction and falling in love with each other. Of course, one of the central methods Shakespeare uses to make the scene tense is dramatic irony: we as the audience know the identity of the two lovers, when they do not, and we know that they are from feuding households. However, the dialogue makes it clear that for both Romeo and Juliet have fallen in love with each other. After the Nurse says to Juliet who Romeo is, he responds: "O dear account! my life is my foe's debt". There is also dramatic irony in Juliet's dialogue, as Juliet says as she sends off Nurse to find out Romeo's identity...
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