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    How might Shakespeare have directed this scene to appeal to his whole audience? Essay

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    Act 2 Scene 2 is a well known scene in the play Romeo and Juliet. The theatre that the majority of Shakespeare’s plays were ad still are performed is called the Globe theatre. It was open in 1599 and is shaped as a wooden ‘o’. This obviously causes restrictions because of the stage being towards the centre, the audience who are seated at the sides would possibly be unable to see the productions clearly. The Globe seats approximately five thousand people and one thousand of these are groundlings – the people who stand in front of the stage. The layout of the Globe would of effected how Shakespeare directed the play so you have to take many things into account which makes it more challenging. You will have to involve more poetic and symbolic language so the audience can understand what’s taking place on stage; costumes will also play a very important part as they will help the audience be aware of what the characters are saying and how they feel towards each other (I.e. Juliet in an angels costume because Romeo believes she is a ‘winged messenger from heaven’) and dramatic devices like heights, themes and proxemics ( the spacial nature on the stage).

    Romeo uses many different metaphors and phrases to describe his new found love, Juliet. At the beginning of this scene, Romeo says ‘Juliet is the Sun’ which suggests that he sees her as the mother of the universe and that she is a goddess. It could also imply that Juliet brought Romeo out of his depression in the darkness and lightened his world. On later lines, he describes her as a ‘bright angel’ and a ‘winged messenger of heaven’ . This indicates that Juliet must be so unreal in Romeo’s eyes and that she can’t have been made on this planet. She must be an angel and Shakespeare has used this effect to show that she is very important because in his time, angels were seen as very important figures.

    For this scene, Juliet could be wearing an angel costume with magnificent wings and an angelic dress which makes her look important and goddess like. I believe this would be an ideal way of portraying how Romeo sees her. It will also hint to the audience that Juliet must be beautiful because she is being compared to an angel. However, there are numerous ways of dressing to put across the same image. The most powerful way of dressing her out of those options is in white and silk because it is very pure and illustrates the idea of her being a goddess. Ideally, she should be barefooted to show that she is delicate and angelic. The silk will capture any light that is exposed on stage and will make a shiny effect.

    Juliet’s position on the stage is very important because a minority of the audience will be unable to see her and her costume which is essential however the congregation will be able to gather that Juliet is an angelic figure due to the language Romeo uses. To show that she is thinking about Romeo, she could be pacing up and down the balcony above Romeo. By placing Juliet above Romeo, it demonstrates to the crowd that Juliet is dominate over him and she over rules all his thoughts. This is also displayed when they organise the wedding further on in the scene. Romeo will be looking up to her as though she really is his ‘sun’ and his ‘angel’ above him.

    On lines 33-48, Juliet talks aloud about her love for Romeo. She talks about the family names being the problem between why Romeo and Juliet can not instantly be united. ‘Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?’ suggests that Juliet is questioning herself about why he is called Romeo (I.e. Montague) and that she wishes he was not part of the Montague family. It could also imply that she knows he would be the same person even if he were not called Romeo or a Montague, this message is also displayed when she says, ‘Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.’ Juliet also says that Romeo would still be perfect even if he were not called Romeo. She then goes on to say, ‘Romeo doff thy name, and for that name which is no part of thee, Take all thyself’ which displays that Juliet wishes Romeo could remove his name so they could be together. She believes names are not important; it is the reality underneath that is important. To display this to the audience, she will have to show that she is not bothered about the name he has.

    This could be done in various ways, but the most powerful way would be to use hand movements and show expressions on her face. And because she is talking about Romeo, Juliet could talk into the open as if he was there listening, which he is but she doesn’t know yet. While Juliet is talking about how she feels with Romeo, he is underneath listening to what she has to say and he needs to show the audience some type of response to her thoughts. He surprises Juliet by declaring himself and he tells her that he will change his name. This is shown when he says, ‘Hence fore I will never be Romeo.’ Romeo admits to Juliet that his name is an enemy and that it is hateful to himself. Romeo gets this message across by saying, ‘Had I it written [his name], I would tear the word.’ To show he has come out from listening secretly, he needs to make quite an entrance. Before, he could simply tucked away but visible from the audience and when he steps out to say he loves her back, he needs to make it obvious that she can know see and hear him. He will be looking up to her and using hand gestures going from his heart to her.

    Juliet begins to get concerned about Romeo’s thoughts. She begins to question him about whether he truly loves her as she loves him. Juliet says, ‘Dost thou love me? I know thou wilt say ‘Ay’.’ This means she knows that he would say yes to her question. Juliet wants a simple understandable answer to her question; she does not want any answers that are full of oaths. This point is told to the audience will as Juliet announces, ‘O gentle Romeo, id thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully.’ The reasoning behind why Juliet wants an equitable answer is because she is worried about what Romeo will think; is she too forward or not? To act out this fraction of the scene, the actress must be confident with her lines and talk down to Romeo in a stern way. Again, hand gestures will come into use her as she looks down to him and questions him. Romeo should be positive as well, as if he acts nervous or anxious then Juliet will believe she is being too forward which is not what Romeo wants her to think,

    Juliet describes her love for Romeo using similes which implies to the audience that her love Is powerful and intense. The first simile is, ‘as boundless as the sea’ and then she goes on to say, ‘love as deep [as the sea].’ The sea is extremely large and very deep and it covers the majority of the earth. She is describing her love to Romeo to be deep and measureless. On lines, 144-146, Juliet begins to tell Romeo that he must arrange the marriage e.g. times and where. ‘Send me word tomorrow’ signifies that Juliet will send a messenger the next day to retrieve the information. Already, Juliet is starting to take domination of the relationship which is demonstrated by her being placed higher above him. When she is telling him this information, she should be positive with what she is saying to him and make sure he gets the message.

    On lines 158-163, Juliet uses a hoarse whisper as she is not meant to be communicating to a young gentleman in the way she is. The metaphor she uses is, ‘for a falconers voice’ which implies she wants to have a special calling that will bring him to her like a falconer would call his bird back. Some imagery is also included in this part of the scene too. Juliet talks about pulling Romeo back with a ‘silken thread’. This creates an image for the audience which is that Romeo is like a bird connected to a falconers, but in this case, Juliet is the falconer. Every time she wants him back, she can pluck at the wire and he will come ‘flying’ ‘back to her. During this part, Juliet could use her arm to help with the imagery and pluck the imaginary thread every now and then. Whilst on stage, Romeo should stay still but face the audience while facing Juliet as he doesn’t want to seem very uptight and doesn’t want his personality to look quiet and timid. He needs to seem open as he has just been very ‘open’ to Juliet about how he feels.

    Romeo’s last speech in the scene is very graphic. He states that he would like to spend the night with his love Juliet and with his head upon her breast. When you look further into this, you will understand that he will also have his head upon her heart as well. Before he has his last speech, Juliet and Romeo get interrupted by the nurse. To show the audience the effect of this, the actors playing Romeo and Juliet need to show tension every time they are interrupted. In Shakespeare’s days, talking in secret to a young gentleman was very much forbidden and in the modern society, it is not something that really bothers us. They need to show the apprehension between them to show that they know they mustn’t be talking and that they are very close to being caught. Another reason for the nurse’s interjections is to give the audience reminders that the whole thing will soon end tragically. The nurse needs to have a stern voice when she calls for Juliet, but the two lovers must not show any sign of panic because they do not know how it will end, obviously.

    A key moment in the scene involves Romeo and Juliet talking about arranging the marriage. During this moment, they get interrupted by the nurse which creates the tension. When Juliet returns from the Nurses’ call, she says, ‘If they thy bent of love be honourable, Thy purpose marriage, send me word tomorrow, By one I’ll procure to come to thee.’ This implies that if Romeo’s intentions are trustworthy then he must inform Juliet the next day so she can arrange for the meeting. At the start, Romeo is outside below the balcony alone. Romeo will be wearing a formal outfit as he has just attended the Capulet Ball. As he speaks, he says, ‘O blessed, blessed night! I am afeard, Being in night, all this is but a dream.’ This would mean that the actor playing Romeo would look out into the audience and talk in a soft calm voice as he is at a risk of being caught and also because the dream he is in. At the Globe theatre, all plays have to be performed during the day because at night, the audience will be unable to see the actors on stage. Because of this, Romeo will have to enhance every word that is about the night time so the audience knows when about in the day it is set.

    In conclusion, there are many different factors you have to bear in mind when directing the play. The most important thing is the costume as they easily put across the message of what Romeo and Juliet think of each other. The positions on the stage are significant too. Juliet needs to be raised and placed in her balcony so the crowd gathered, know that she takes the initiative in the relationship and also helps them imagine her as Romeo’s sun and his angel (these figures are in the sky and above us all). Ideally, there should be no props or backgrounds on stage because this scene is all about the two main characters and having props will only draw away the audience’s attention to the actors. There are certain words and phrases that need to be enhanced due to the lack of lighting and because they set the scene and the atmosphere.

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