How Does Shakespeare Use Dramatic Devices Is Act 3 Scene 1 of "Romeo and Juliet" in Order to Make It an Exciting Scene and a Turning Point in the Play

Topics: Romeo and Juliet, Characters in Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio Pages: 5 (1985 words) Published: March 14, 2008
Fate, love and violence are the three words to describe this play. Shakespeare uses these throughout the play to comment on men, women and marriage in society at this time when girls were betrothed to a man of their fathers choosing and under the condition that they were ‘pure'. Men were seen to be superior to women and dominated them, as women had very few rights and were property of their fathers, and then their husbands. Shakespeare's use of dramatic devices in Act 3, Scene 1 makes it an interesting, exciting and important scene because so much happens in a short space of time which in turn affects all the characters in one way or another. Furthermore, this scene falls dramatically in the middle of the play and can be seen as the turning point in the story. Shakespeare's thoughtful choice of dramatic devices such as movement, tone, stage directions, dramatic irony and characterization (among others) effectively create an atmosphere that naturally generates excitement and interest.

Shakespeare uses different methods to create mood and atmosphere at the start of the scene. He uses devices such as language and the characters involved to create a ‘fun' kind of mood at the very beginning by having Mercutio trying to wind up Benvolio, who has no intention of starting a fight but Mercutio does. It's also a ‘fun' way to start the scene as Mercutio says many witty and somewhat humorous things. One particular example is when he says ‘as soon to be moved to be moody, and as soon moody to be moved', which plays on the words moved and moody. Benvolio seems agitated and doesn't want to fight, whereas Mercutio is up for a fight which builds tension and sets the whole mood of the scene as the audience don't know what will happen next, and whether they will indeed be a fight or not. The beginning takes a sudden turn for the worse from the light-hearted, jokey start to a serious beginning when ‘Tybalt and Others enter'. His eerie and fiery personality changes the mood instantly and brings a dark atmosphere to the table. Tybalt and Mercutio then exchanges words whilst the latter continues to play with words, as he twists the meaning of ‘consort', when Tybalt says ‘Mercutio, thou consort's [are associated - literal meaning] with Romeo-', in which Mercutio replies quickly and wittily ‘Consort! What does thou make us minstrels? And thou make minstrels of us…' which also has Mercutio playing around with ‘minstrels'. Mercutio deliberately mis-interprets Tybalt's meaning of the word as Mercutio is talking about a company of hired musicians (‘Consort!'). Benvolio then tries to act as a peacemaker as he tries to calm things down by saying the two should ‘reason coldly [calmly] their grievances', meaning they should try and sort out their differences. As the scene progresses, Romeo enters the scene which ultimately leads to Mercutio's death.

The hopeful tone of Act II changes dramatically at the beginning of Act III as Romeo becomes embroiled in the brutal conflict between the families. The searing heat, flaring tempers, and sudden violence of this scene contrast sharply with the romantic, peaceful previous night. The play reaches a dramatic height as Romeo and Juliet's private world clashes with the public feud with tragic consequences. Mercutio's death is the detonator for the tragic turn the play takes from this point onward. Additionally, this scene sees many incidents happen over a short period of time which makes a very fast-paced scene, offering variation from the slow romantic scene previously. Act III, Scene I fits perfectly into the middle of "Romeo and Juliet" and is a real turning point in the play as it contains so many key events in the play, which in turn affects so may characters in the play. Every single theme that one could associate with "Romeo and Juliet" comes into play at one stage or another in Act III, Scene I.

Dramatic irony is another dramatic device used by Shakespeare to interest, involve and affect the audience...
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