The Romeo and Juliet Effect

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The Romeo and Juliet effect

How did Shakespeare ensure that his audience’s attention was maintained for the duration of the play ‘Romeo and Juliet’? Romeo and Juliet was first performed in the Globe Theatre in 1593 and has since become a widely recognised play in society today. While Shakespeare wrote a lot of plays in this time, Romeo and Juliet was very unique in its way because not many playwrights ventured into the tragic comedy genre. This essay will attempt to answer the question by using specific examples from the play to discuss and relate relevant themes, motifs and symbols back to the question. It will also discuss the contrast between scenes, the comic reliefs, the use of the prologue, the foreshadowing exemplified by the characters and the originality of each character.

One of the most salient themes of Romeo and Juliet that captures the audience’s attention is the idea of a forceful love, and its role as a cause of violence. Two quotes which exemplify this element are “O she doth teach the torches to burn bright”, and “so shows a snowy dove trooping with crows”, each metaphor emphasizes the fact that Romeo is instantly overcome by feelings of love that he cannot control. The forcefulness of passion is also demonstrated by Juliet when she says, “bid me go into a new-made grave” using a hyperbole to convey her mournful imagery of marrying Paris. Furthermore Romeo calling for Juliet in the balcony scene, “It is the east and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon”, metaphorically implies that Juliet is the sun and she is transforming night into day; again demonstrating that love can make one blind. The audiences of the Shakespearean period would have been captivated by the theme of love because the motif and symbolism behind love creates a unique feel that is of interest to the Elizabethan audience. Ironically the same forcefulness of love also causes irrational decisions that ends in tragedy. Two prime examples of this...
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