William Shakespeare makes Act 3 Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet crucially dramatic to emphasize its importance to the play as a whole. The use of tense dialogue, provoking language and aggressive action creates dramatic tension and conflict which engages and interests the audience to the scene. These techniques highlight the scene’s significance as the main turning point of events from a romance to a tragedy.
The scene opens up into an extremely tense and irritable atmosphere which foreshadows conflict and hostility. Benvolio introduces the tense mood by saying ‘The day is hot,’ which presents connotations of anger and frustration, creating drama which interests and engages the audience. Benvolio then says, ‘the Capels are abroad, And if we meet, we shall not ‘scape a brawl,’ foreshadowing conflict and drama, immediately catching the audience’s attention. Despite Benvolio’s request to withdraw from the public areas, Mercutio refuses and attempts to provoke Benvolio into aggression, by listing the reasons that Benvolio would quarrel. Mercutio lists ‘Why thou wilt quarrel with a man that hath a hair more or a hair less, in his beard than thou hast,’ showing Mercutio’s rebellious and hot-headed nature. Mercutio then explains Benvolio would quarrel by saying ‘Thy head is as full of quarrels as an egg is full of meat’ demonstrating dramatic irony and creating humour because of Benvolio’s role in the play as the peacekeeper. The irony is Mercutio’s conversation with Benvolio highlights the tension and aggression in the character at this point of the play which indicates the feuds and tragedies that will occur later in the scene.
The tension and aggression that is introduced at the beginning of the scene gradually develops as the scene continues. Tybalt enters the scene looking for Romeo to seek revenge on his presence at the Capulet Ball. Mercutio then begins to provoke Tybalt into a fight through the use of