How Does Shakespeare Shape Your Response to the Lovers' First Meeting in Act 1 Scene 5?

Topics: Romeo and Juliet, Characters in Romeo and Juliet, Juliet Capulet Pages: 5 (1585 words) Published: December 31, 2005
Yr 10 Romeo and Juliet coursework

How does Shakespeare shape your response to the lovers' first meeting in Act 1 Scene 5?

Shakespeare shapes our response to the lovers' first meeting in many ways. He continuously drops clues about their marriage in every scene leading to their first meeting and uses many different techniques and devices. An example of a device used is the chorus. The play was set in Verona, Italy. The story of Romeo and Juliet was around a long time before Shakespeare's version. Although Shakespeare used the original version he added his own bits as well. It was only about 1595-1596 before the story was both written and performed on stage.

The prologue was delivered by the chorus in the form of a sonnet. Sonnets were love poems and in Shakespeare's time were very popular. The chorus was used to inform the audience that the play was about to begin and was used as a dramatic device. It was important that the prologue was delivered as a sonnet as the story is about love and it sets the mood. The prologue was used to inform the audience what the outcome of the story was, this grabbed the attention of the audience, created tension and made the audience suspicious of how this outcome would be achieved. The prologue contains words to do with death, violence and love. The words to do with death are ‘take their life', ‘death-mark'd', ‘children's end'. There are many words to do with violence, which are ‘grudge', ‘where civil blood makes civil hands unclean', ‘fatal', ‘fearful', ‘rage'. And finally the words in the prologue to do with love, there is only one very important word, this is ‘star-cross'd lovers'. These words are used as Elizabethan people were particularly interested in death, violence and love. The words ‘star-cross'd lovers' introduce the theme of fate. These two lovers fate is hanging in the stars, they are meant to be together, no matter what they may do. Also using these words, Shakespeare shapes our response to the lover's first meeting. The Elizabethan audience in Shakespeare's time would have been talking until the chorus came onto the stage, then the sound would have died down for the prologue to be read. They would have been deeply interested when they heard all the words to do with death, violence and love.

Shakespeare opens Act 1 Scene 1 with a fight. He does this to tell the audience that the hatred between these two families is intense and to grab the attention of the audience by opening dramatically. Shakespeare makes the exchanges between the characters short and insulting, therefore the play moves very quickly. The Elizabethan audience would have got very involved with the play, they may have thrown things at characters they disliked. Shakespeare creates drama by having the characters making rude and insulting gestures. In this first Scene, there are three key characters introduced. These characters are, Tybalt, Benvolio and Romeo. The first impression we get of Tybalt is he his very short tempered, is very aggressive and is prepared to murder we know this as his sentences are very short and in these short sentences he includes words to do with death. Benvolio however is the totally opposite to Tybalt. He wants to make peace. We know this as he says ‘I do but keep the peace'. Our first impression of Romeo is that he is immature and confused as he thinks he is in love. Romeo thinks he is in love with Rosaline at the beginning of the play. The theme of courtly love is introduced. Courtly love was popular in Elizabethan times, it means when you think you love someone but they do not return this love. Courtly love involved: Admiring a woman from far, Thinking/talking about her beauty, saying all the things you would do to prove your love and finally looking and acting like you were in love for example sighing, not eating or not being yourself. Romeo thinking he is in love adds dramatic irony. This is when the audience know more than the characters on stage. The play is called...
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