Act 1 Scene 5 is definitely the most the most influential scene in the play. It supplies us with the meeting of Romeo and Juliet whose love affair advances the play. Shakespeare shows his skill as a dramatist in his use of language, imagery, change of pace, characterization and timing. He uses these skills to link this scene with those that come before it and to entertain and create suspense for the audience.
When Romeo first sees Juliet he is amazed by her beauty and this comes out in his language.
‘So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows.’Order now
This tells us that Juliet stood out from everyone else like a dove would if it were to fly with crows. A ‘snowy dove’ also gives us the impression that she was pure and that she was a virgin.
‘The measure done, I’ll watch her place of stand.’
This line explains how bewitched Romeo is by the beauty of Juliet because even thought the dance has finished he can’t take his eyes of her even for one second.
‘Did my heart love till now?’
Doubt occurs in Romeo’s mind when he sees Juliet because he thought he loved Roseline, but he couldn’t have been in love with her because he now loves Juliet and he forgets about her very easily.
‘Oh she doth teach the torches to burn bright.’
This is a hyperbole (a gross exaggeration). Yet it tells us what Romeo saw in Juliet and is a line which explains to us what drove him to further actions in the play.
In this part of the play Shakespeare uses similes such as ‘Ethiop’s ear’ in comparison to describe Juliet’s beauty. He uses alliteration ‘teach the torches’ to keep a general rhythm throughout this speech. This is aided by the use of rhyming couplets ‘bright-night,’ ‘crows-shows’ and ‘ear-dear.’ This shows definite rhythm to his speech. The one time when the speed changes, is when Romeo asks himself a question. The pace increase fot this statement and then returns to its original speed.
By chance Tybalt overhears Romeo’s comment and reacts viciously. His response to Romeo’s presence is important in the overall context of the play, as is the strong talking to he receives from Capulet.
‘What dares the slave come hither, covered with an antic face.’
Tybalt is angry here he says, how dare an enemy come here, disguised in a mask where he believes no one will recognize him.
‘To strike him dead I hold it not a sin.’
Tybalt now considers killing Romeo because he has no place at this party and that even if he were to kill him he wouldn’t consider it to be wrong. Tybalt’s anger could be a result of the fight that took place in scene 1 even though Romeo was not evolved.
Fortunately for Romeo, Capulet intervenes before Tybalt can take any serious action.
‘And to say truth, Verona brags of him to be a virtuous and well governed youth.’
Capulet explains to Tybalt that Romeo is a pleasant youth and that he should ‘let well alone’, so that his party does not get ruined.
Tybalt doesn’t agree to this and says:
‘I’ll not endure him.’
This is met by a rough reply from Capulet which changes the pace of this part of the scene.
‘He shall be endured.’
Shakespeare uses repetitions of the phrase ‘go to’ here to the point over that Tybalt should leave well alone. Shakespeare also uses rhetorical questions to convey Capulet’s power.
‘You’ll not endure him?’
Tybalt agrees but remarks.
‘I will withdraw, but this intrusion shall,
Now seeming sweet, convert to bitterest gall.’
Tybalt is even angrier than before. He will search for Romeo in Act 3 scene 1 and this will eventually result in the deaths of Mercutio and himself.
The next event is when Romeo and Juliet meet. This is the turning point in the play and is therefore the most important part of the play.
The meeting of the two lovers has to be spectacular. Shakespeare does a great job he conveys their openings words through a sonnet, the most romantic way possible, which they share and create. The sonnet is beautiful it captures perfectly the awkwardness of the moment yet perfectly conveying the two’s feelings towards each other. He carefully slips in a religious idea as well in this sonnet with the central image – of a pilgrim worshiping at a shrine – this underlines the depth and purity of their love. Shakespeare conveys Romeo and Juliet’s love even more through the rhyme in the sonnet.
There are three verses of four lines – or quatrains – and a final rhyming couplet. When you look closely at the sonnet, you will see the first quatrain is given to Romeo ant the second to Juliet. The lovers share the next four lines and between them they compos the final couplet. What makes the poetry so effective is that it is as if each is instantly on each other’s wavelength. A sure sign that they are in love!
To the end of the scene both Romeo and Juliet become more and more impatient to know who each other is. When the nurse comes to collect Juliet because ‘your mother craves a word with you,’ Romeo asks the question of who her mother is, he is confronted with the reply.
‘Her mother is the lady of the house.’
To this he replies,
‘Is she a Capulet?’
………’My life is my foe’s dept.’
Romeo finds out that Juliet is a Capulet, the child of his great enemy. He is shocked and confused so he decides to keep it from Mercutio and the other Montagues but complications later arrive in Act 3 scene 1.
When Juliet requires the knowledge of who Romeo is her indirectness in telling the nurse which man interests her displays her youth and shyness. When the nurse returns with the information Juliet is distraught to find out that Romeo is a Montague and the only son of her worst enemy. She replies,
‘My only love sprung from the only hate,
Too early seen unknown, and known to late!’
Juliet explains that she saw him to early when he was unknown to her, and that by the time she knew who he was she was already in love with him. Although before she finds this information out she says something quite poignant.
‘My grave is like my wedding bed.’
This is interesting because what happens later in the play.
Even though Romeo is a Montague, she will continue her love affair with Romeo and marry him but will keep it a secret from her family until the killing of Tybalt by Romeo means that she can never reveal it.
This is most certainly the most important part of the play. Although it nearly didn’t happen Romeo was experiencing fits of depression brought on by his love of Roseline, which is understandable to Shakespeare’s audience because love was supposed to be a painful matter. Luckily though Benvolio, even though he is a good man, tells Romeo he should look elsewhere to find love and convinces him to go to the party. Romeo goes to the party but rejects the idea from Benvolio, though ironically it is precisely what happens. Still before Romeo arrives at the party in Act 1 scene 4 he predicts that something terrible would happen that night. Nothing bad happened that night though, but as a result bad things were to come of that night.
In Act 3 scene 1 Mercutio, Benvolio and others meet in the street on a hot day in Verona. Tybalt arrives looking for Romeo and the opportunity to fight him. Romeo then joins the group, but unknown to his friends fresh from his wedding to Juliet. Romeo attempts to avoid conflict with Tybalt but Mercutio, mistakes Romeo’s reluctance for cowardice and starts to fence with Tybalt. Romeo doesn’t want the fight to persist and steps between them but Mercutio is accidentally and fatally wounded and Tybalt flees. When Romeo finally catches up with Tybalt he is incensed and fights and kills Tybalt, then he also flees. In Romeo’s absence he is sentenced by the prince to immediate banishment on pain of death. This may never have happened if it weren’t for Act 1 scene 5 where Tybalt sees Romeo at the party. Due to this event Juliet can never tell anyone who she is married to.
The last lines of Act 1 scene5 when Juliet says
‘My grave is like to be my wedding-bed.’
These lines are particularly significant when you discover what happens to Juliet in the end of the play.
In Shakespeare’s time it would have been possibly more difficult to create such elements of the play such as darkness, than in today’s theatres. Shakespeare would have overcome this problem by sending members of the cast on to the stage holding lamps; this would indicate to the audience that it was night time.
In the actual play of Romeo and Juliet in particular scenes Shakespeare uses different levels to show importance of character, role and what they have to say. For instance the balcony scene, when Juliet is talking she is quite high up on the balcony and while Romeo listens he is on the ground. But as soon as Romeo starts to speak and Juliet listens, Romeo climbs the tree to be at the same level as Juliet. This wouldn’t be able to happen in Shakespeare’s theatre because a tree would not be growing at of the stage. So levels were actually moved up and down on pullies to show the audience what was happening.