Romeo and Juliet is set in the 16th century. It is about two young aristocrats from families that were sworn to enmity. They fell in love and hoped that their secret love would bring an end to the family feud. However fate had other ideas; their families were instead torn apart by their (unions?) This essay attempts to explore the importance of act 3 scene I (sc) in the story.
Act 3 sc I, is all about the hatred from Tybalt towards Romeo and anyone who associates with him. Act 3 sc I, is mostly important because it embodies all aspects, the love and hate, of the play. Act 3 sc I, focuses on the idea of dramatic irony. This is because we the audience know that Romeo has married Juliet and therefore this results in Romeo not striking Tybalt, because he has now developed a sudden respect for him. We know why Romeo is acting very friendly towards Tybalt; however Tybalt, Mercutio and other don’t know why he is friendly towards the enemy. therefore building up tension in the audience. Act 3 sc I provides the actions which ultimately lead to the death of the protagonists. On one hand Romeo has just married Juliet, on the other he has just killed Tybalt and is faced with banishment, leaving him with nothing to do but run.
Act 3 sc I is set in the Verona market square on a hot day. The day is hot and Mercutio’s “mad blood is stirring”, this means that he should be avoided. The fact that the Capulets are around suggests that a fight is to be expected, Benvolio is aware that the “Capels are abroad” and being the peacekeeper tries to persuade Mercutio to go back inside, “let’s retire”. Mercutio is having a brawl with Benvolio about the sort of person he is, describing his own bad qualities in Benvolio who is in fact not at all violent.
Many lines in this play hint that a fight should be expected soon. The main few lines are very close to the real fight. Line 58 “thou art a villain”. This phrase would be considered as a very nasty insult back in those times. This insult meant that you were a scoundrel or a peasant. This statement outlines the storyline of the play in some ways; this is because the story is about two families who want to prove that they are richer and more important than each other and as I have said Tybalt has just called Romeo a villain. Considering the time this play was written in, people would have taken this statement to heart and may have even killed because of it; therefore this is a very important line. It also important because this is the line that persuades Mercutio to draw his rapier.
Another line that is important and is very close to the main fight is “Away to heaven respective lenity” (line 119). This line is important because it makes you, the audience, think “Oh no! What’s going to happen now?” this line is used very well in both, Baz Luhrman and the Zefferelli films. Luhrman uses this line by having Romeo whispering in Mercutio’s ear. He does this so that we have to listen with great concentration; he also does this so that he can create tension for the people who didn’t hear the line. Zefferelli uses this line in his film so that everyone can hear Romeo. Romeo says this line where he is near crying therefore adding to the drama and tragedy of the film. Because of this the lines cannot be further improved.
Another line that is really important and leads up to the fight between Tybalt and Romeo is line 121-125:
“Now Tybalt take the ‘villain’ back again that thou gavest me, for Mercutio’s soul is but a little way above our heads, staying for thine to keep him company: either thou or I or both must go with him.”
These lines are very important as Romeo challenges Tybalt to a fight to the death, saying that he will die to avenge the death of his best friend, therefore building up tension in the audience. Romeo also says that the insult of being called a villain must be taken back to say that his kinsman did not die in vain. The line “for Mercutio’s soul is but a little way above our heads” is also quite important because this line reminds you that Mercutio has just died and that he is watching over Tybalt and Romeo.
These lines are used very well in the Baz Luhrman film. You can see this when Romeo quivers with anger and speaks as though he has the strength of ten men and is willing to do anything to avenge the death of his beloved kinsman. These lines have an emphasis on the audience because they are said
Baz Luhrman could have made this line better by making it a little quieter so that the audience would have to concentrate really hard to listen to Romeo.
Other lines that are closer to the fight in this scene are important because they tell the audience “something big is going to happen, keep your eyes peeled!” Some of the most important lines in this scene close to the fight between Tybalt and Mercutio are lines 84-85 “Tybalt, Mercutio, the prince expressly hath forbid this bandying in Verona streets”. Though this is after the fight starts it is a very important line. This is because Romeo is shouting to Tybalt and Mercutio that this sort of fighting is something you could get hurt by and the prince can banish you for it. This line also puts the audience on alert because it is in some ways saying that something bad is going to happen later on. And something bad does happen, Romeo fights Tybalt, who would have unknowingly been banished as he was fighting and had not listened to the prince, and kills him therefore clearing Tybalt’s punishment and putting Romeo into banishment. In the Baz Luhrman and the Zefferelli films you can not hear these lines being said as there is too much of a ruckus because Mercutio and Tybalt are fighting. It could have been made better if you could hear these lines, Zefferelli and Luhrman could have done this by getting Romeo to have temporarily stopped the fight and said this, and then Tybalt and Mercutio don’t take any notice of what was said and continue to fight.
By looking at the start of Romeo and Juliet we can see that there is some sort of grudge held by both families and is passed on from generation to generation. We can see this because when the play opens for absolutely no reason we are faced with Gregory and Sampson, part of the Capulet family sucking their thumbs, a very offensive gesture in those times, at the Montague’s. Straight away Shakespeare tells us that this play is not only about love it is also about hate. We can see this because as soon as Sampson bites his thumb Abram comes to defend himself and starts a fight. The prologue also tells us that we should expect some sort of fight because of the “ancient grudge”.
Shakespeare uses a lot of dramatic irony in this play. He does so that there is a lot of tension built up. Shakespeare uses dramatic irony in act 4 scene 1 we can see that dramatic irony is used once more. We can see this because as soon as the letter to Romeo explaining Juliet’s fake death is sent he hears of Juliet’s death and goes to die too. This scene is done very well in the Luhrman film because the letter is dropped off and Romeo doesn’t see it, he hears about the death and takes off, leaving the letter in the dust. Shakespeare also uses dramatic irony in the last scene of the play where Romeo has just committed suicide and Juliet awakes. This scene is very well done in the Baz Luhrman film because as Romeo is drinking the poison Juliet awakes and tries to stop him, but she was too late, Romeo looks at Juliet as if he can’t believe his eyes and dies.
The importance of Act 3 sc I in Romeo and Juliet is great. I say this because this scene influences the fate of Romeo after killing Tybalt. This scene is also very important because it underlines this play as a definite tragedy. After reading this play you can gain an insight into what it was like to be a teenager in those days. However the films show that Romeo and Juliet have left their teens behind.
Act 3 sc I is an important scene because it embodies all aspects of the play. It shows that there is love and there is also hate, you can see this because when Tybalt meets Romeo, Romeo reacts as nicely as possible and Tybalt reacts with as much hate as possible.
The whole of this play is based on the idea of dramatic irony. Dramatic irony is what builds up the tension for the audience. The dramatic irony in this play turns the story back and forth, once again building up tension for the audience. The structure of the whole play leads to a tragedy. We can see this because of the timing, a very good example of the timing is when Romeo has just killed Tybalt, because Romeo has just married Juliet he wouldn’t want to fight Tybalt as he is his kinsman; however he kills Tybalt and is banished. This is great timing as this builds up more tension and makes the audience think “oh no!” Shakespeare tells the audience of the consequences in most scenes. He does this in act 1 sc I line 90-91, this is where Prince Escales is telling the Montague’s and the Capulets:
“If you ever do disturb our streets again, your lives shall pay the forfeit of peace”
and in act 3 sc I we can see that Mercutio, Tybalt, and Romeo have forfeited the peace, therefore they would, as the prince said, pay the forfeit of peace. Just before this scene Romeo and Juliet have just married, this scene, act 3 sc I, shows Romeo killing Tybalt therefore disturbing the peace, and building up tension as this is also a part of dramatic irony, as Romeo has not heard of this rule. This is evident because Lady Montague asks Benvolio whether he [Romeo] was close when the fight started. She does this straight after the prince leaves therefore indicating that Romeo was no present when the prince was talking of this rule.
Due to the reasons given above I conclude that act 3 sc I is a very important part of this play.
The scenes that I have mentioned in the previous paragraph influence the viewer’s thoughts, this is because they always build up tension and make you question over and over again “Why? Why? Why?”