How Is Tension Created in Act 3 Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare?

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‘Romeo and Juliet’ is the story of two "star-crossed lovers who take their life". Their families, Capulet and Montague, are at a great, ancient feud; however Romeo and Juliet fall passionately in love ignoring the fact that they are, by household, enemies. The play was written in 1595, for an Elizabethan audience, and was performed at the Globe Theatre. Romeo and Juliet is set in Verona, Italy; Italy being a common setting for plays around the time for the great interest in Italian culture and an art movement known as the Renaissance. A strong factor of the play is fate and whether or not it causes an impact on the character’s lives. Many critics were confused as to what the moral of the play was, and debated on whether Shakespeare was putting a point across about how injudicious behaviour can result in your downfall; or whether fate will choose the path to lead despite whatever you may do to stop it. This is left to the audience to interpret for themselves.

During the previous act: Act 2 Scene 6, Romeo and Juliet are married in secret by Friar Lawrence. The atmosphere in the scenes are juxtaposed, as Act 3 Scene 1 is extremely tense and ultimately becomes the matter of the play; initially a comedy, transformed in to a tragedy. The moods in each of the scenes contrast completely; one of love and unanimity and the other of death and anguish; these two scenes deliberately conflict love and hate, the main themes of the play.

Act 3 Scene 1 begins in a “public place” of Verona – it was against the law to fight in public at that time so the fact that it is illegal makes the audience feel nervous. The atmosphere from the off is very tense, and the unravelling events foreshadow what will beget the remainder of the scene. Benvolio is worried that Mercutio will meet the Capulets and a vicious fight will break out. “For now these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.” This line would disconcert the audience and make them uneasy as many Elizabethans were superstitious...
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