How does Shakespeare create sympathy for Romeo and Juliet?
Shakespeare creates sympathy for the two protagonists in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ skilfully using emotive language, sonnet form, alliteration and metaphor. Before the play begins, the audience are told that it will end in a disaster. This creates an emotive reaction in the audience throughout the play as they are reminded of the fate of the two young lovers. This is emphasised by the fact that the protagonists foreshadow their own death. There is therefore dramatic irony in that the audience know how the tragic events will unfold but Romeo and Juliet do not. Shakespeare cleverly creates twists and tension throughout the entire play. Shakespeare immediately begins to create a sense of sympathy for Romeo and Juliet in the Prologue of the play. He achieves this by using emotive lexis such as “blood”, “mutiny” and “fatal”, implying that someone is going to die. After that, the audience are informed that someone “takes their life”. However, we are not told exactly who it is that dies although, we assume that it is Romeo and Juliet as the phrase “star-cross’d lovers” is used. This phrase has an ambiguous meaning creating tension in the audience as it could seem that information is being held back. If two lovers are “star cross’d” people could be inclined to think they have fate against them and that their love may go against the stars, which is therefore doubtlessly going to end in disaster. As a result to this, throughout the play the audience suppose the two lovers will die, causing a sense of dramatic irony. Likewise, “death-mark’d love” implies that their love is going to end with death; the words “death” and “love” used in the same sentence is an example of juxtaposition. This subsequently makes the audience feel sympathy for Romeo and Juliet throughout the entire play, as they are in the knowledge that this hopeful relationship will end prematurely. In addition to this, the audience may...
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