Romeo and Juliet is a story written in the 15th century by William Shakespeare. It is a tragic love story set in Verona (Italy). The play is about two households, the Capulets and the Montagues. Romeo is one of the main characters in the play and he is the only son of Montagues. Another protagonist character is Juliet; she is the only daughter of the Capulets.
These two households are undergoing a long feud we are told about the grudge in the prologue on line 3,
“From ancient grudge break to new mutiny”
Although we are told there is an “ancient grudge” we are not told how it started or what is it about.
Romeo Juliet Act 3 Scene 1
The play is started with a prologue, which is set out as a sonnet. The prologue is important because it gives us some useful information, it tells us the play is set in Verona. Shakespeare continues the play with a brawl in the market of Verona between the serving men from the two households. I think shake spear uses the brawl to start the play because it grips the audience attention, helps to raise the tension in play and keep the audience amused through out the play.
The two protagonists Romeo and Juliet first meet in act 1 scene 3. To show that they are falling in love Shakespeare writes their speech as a sonnet to make it sound more romantic. Romeo and Juliet meet after Romeo gatecrashes the Capulet’s party. Juliet was told to married another man named Paris but Juliet said she was not yet ready.
Although she says she s not yet ready she later marries Romeo. Shakespeare uses similies to show what Romeo feels towards Juliet. In act 2 scene 1 Romeo compares Juliet to the sun, stars and heavens, Romeo says
“The brightness of her cheeks would shame those stars” (line 19 act 2 scene 1)
Romeo and Juliet get married, they get married at the end of act 2 scence6, Friar Laurence is the person who marries them, he marries them because he thinks this will end the capulet’s and Montague’s feud.
After Romeo and Juliet get married, they leave the church and go their separate ways so no one finds out.
The other chapters in the play include Benvolio and Mercutio both Romeos friends and Tybalt who is Juliet’s cousin and Romeos enemy. None of these characters are aware of Romeo and Juliet’s marriage. Act 1 scene 3 is the most important part of the play it is the pivot point of the play for a number of reasons that I will elaborate.
Act 3 scene 1 begins with Mercutio, Benvolio and some other men who are being approached by Tybalt and his men who are looking for Romeo. This time Tybalt only asks where Romeo is.
Mercutio taunts Tybalt, but Tybalt ignores his insult, because he is seeking Romeo.
When Romeo arrives Tybalt insults him by saying
“Thou art a villain” (line54)
Romeo ignores his insults and try’s to make peace between them by saying
“Good Capulet, which name I tender as dearly as mine own, be satisfied” (line 64-65)
Mercutio who is beside them felt that Romeo is being a cowered and reacts badly by saying
“O calm, dishonourable, vile submission” (line 66)
Mercutio doesn’t know that Romeo is refusing to fight because he is now married to Tybalt’s cousin Juliet. Mercutio is disgusted now at Romeo’s show of defeat and surrender so he challenges Tybalt him self. As they draw their swords Romeo comes between them and holds Mercutio back, Tybalt comes up and stabs Mercutio from between Romeo’s arms. Tybalt ran away after stabbing Mercutio because if he gets caught his life would pay the forfeit.
Mercutio is hurt but still making jokes and puns
“Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man” (line 89)
The pun in this sentence is “grave” because he knows he’s going to die, although he knows he’s dying soon he still makes jokes this tells us that he is a joker and doesn’t admit defeat easily. Before Mercutio dies he curses both of their houses
“A plague on both of your houses” (line 97)
After Mercutio dies Romeo goes looking for Tybalt. When he found him he killed him.
Prince Escalus had earlier warned of any street fighting and if they ever disrupted the quite of their streets their life will pay the forfeit.
“Old Capulet, and Montague, Have thrice disturbed the quiet of our streets, And made Verona’s ancient citizens Cast by their grave beseeming ornaments” (act 1 scene 1)
This tells us that the fights have being happing for a long time because the prince said “thrice” after the first fight we saw.
Another aspect to consider is the character of Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio. Romeo is a soft character on the play the loving person who is trying to make peace between the two families. He feels that his new-formed love for Juliet has changed him. Tybalt on the other hand is a proud person in an aggressive way who doesn’t let any little thing pass away this is shown when he comes after Romeo the next day just because he gate crashed his uncles party. Mercutio is different from the other characters because he is not a Capulet or Montague family member; he’s just a friend, he takes everything as a joke, he is also a very proud person who believes in preserving honour. Benvolio is very sensible although he quarrels a lot, he also anxious to keep the peace between the two houses
“I do but keep the peace” (act 1 sense 1)
Along side the development of the characters we should consider the time the play was written in, in the 15th century it was common to have cultural, suicidal historical context.
Shakespeare builds up the dramatic tension and dramatic irony by giving us hints from the prologue that something bad was going to happen. We (the audience) knew thing that the characters did not know for example we knew that the wedding has taken place but the other characters did not. This is another device used to build up the tension; Shakespeare enables the audience to feel more connected to the play.
Shakespeare used many dramatic devices to keep the audience interested, because the play was preformed live on stage.
Shakespeare had to find ways to show that it was dark. One-way Shakespeare reserved this was to give the characters torches as started in act 1 scene 4 line 11
“Give me a torch”
Shakespeare uses fights in his play to keep audience interested and he uses puns to keep them amused.
Act 3 scene 1 is a pivotal point in the play as it communicates a lot of negative things like the banishing of Romeo due to the fight never to see Juliet again this made the play very melancholy. Juliet’s father, lord Capulet also changed, he became very strict and demanded that Juliet gets married without asking his opinion on the matter. Juliet also changed; she was forced to choose between her family and her husband.
When Juliet drank the poison to escape marrying Paris, Romeo thought she died so he killed him self and Juliet woke up, killed her self when she saw him dead, this caused the Montagues and the Capulets to end the feud between them.
This play is very interesting and thoroughly enjoyable, Shakespeare made it very interesting with the pivot points and the dramatic irony.