Passions make great drama, but in life they can have terrible consequences. Discuss the above statement with reference to Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet.
As the title suggests, Shakespeare’s famous play “Romeo and Juliet”, centres around the protagonists, Romeo and Juliet. The story is set in beautiful Verona in Italy. Two families of equal, noble rank (the Montagues and the Capulets); have a long standing vendetta, which has recently flared up: their followers have killed each other ‘in single strife’. The children of these mortal enemies were fated to fall in love; their tragic deaths ended their parent’s feud.
Passion is one of the central themes in Shakespeare’s tragedy “Romeo and Juliet”. Through Shakespeare’s characterisation and narrative, the audience learns about different kinds of passion. For example I have chosen 3 scenes to discuss and show how the passion evolved, I will also look at the story and how it add tension with passion.
Act 1 scene 5
I have chosen the first meeting of Romeo and Juliet in Act one, Scene five in which Romeo goes to the Capulet party and first sees Juliet.
When Romeo sees Juliet for the first time he is infatuated and finally realises that this is his first and true love. Shakespeare shows this by having Romeo and Juliet take it in turns to speak the lines of a sonnet, this shows how in tune they are with each other. Romeos words when he first sees Juliet are a complete contrast to the chatter and noise of the rest of the party. He speaks in poetry, using rhyming couplets. Within Romeo’s speech he uses a lot of soft letters and sounds which has the effect of slowing down and softening the lines.
Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet was set over a period of five days which means that their love is raw and intense and the two characters just want to act upon it I think that this is because they have a sexual lust for one another and they are blocking out the outside world which is causing destruction for the both of them and that is one of the things that makes this scene memorable because they are so quick to fall in love and are completely besotted with each other so fast.
In the play, to show that they are both infatuated with each other they have to move in a certain way to show their feelings as body language explains just as much as words can sometimes. I think that to show that you are obsessed by another person you would have to move around them and try to be as close to them as possible.
In this scene in which they first meet they recite a sonnet to one another which shows that they are in love. It does this because it shows how in tune the two people are with one another, due to the fact that they both take it in turns to recite the lines of the sonnet.
“Saints do not move, though grant for prayers’ sake”
“Then move not while my prayer’s effect I take.”
These lines are the last two of Romeo’s sonnet about Juliet when he falls in love with her; Shakespeare has created poetry as the language of love. I would instruct the actor playing Romeo to seem amazed in his mind as Rosaline is now in the past and he has fallen madly in love with Juliet, I would also ask him to be bold and not want to let go of Juliet. I would like the lights low and a romantic, slow song going on in the background.
Juliet is in the party mood due to being at a major social convention, until she meets Romeo, from then on she is confused because she is due to be married to Paris, and she has fallen in love with someone else. When she finds out that Romeo is a Montague she is very mindful because she knows the trouble between the different family names.
Act 3 scene 1
The second scene that I have chosen is Act 3 Scene 1 because the fight scene is probably the most influential point in the play, as it is the turning point from bad to good, all seems well until this scene. At the beginning of the fight scene in which we see Mercutio, Benvolio, and some Montague servants, talking of how they want to go home after the day has been a long one; their minds soon change when the Capulets arrive. The Montagues seemed worried, they fear that maybe the Capulets are mad that they sneaked into the Capulets party, but it seems that is not the reason.
Tybalt comes seeking to pick a fight with Romeo but comes across Mercutio and Benvolio instead. After some heated comments between Tybalt and Mercutio Romeo turns up and, of course does not wish to fight Tybalt because unbeknown to Tybalt, Romeo is married to Juliet and is part of the family, but Tybalt accuses Romeo of being a villain, Romeo tries to reason with Tybalt, and even goes as far as saying ‘And so good Capulet, which name I tender as dearly as my own, be satisfied’. Mercutio cannot believe this; he calls it a vile submission, and so shows a little more hatred towards Tybalt.
We know that Mercutio wanted to fight Tybalt before and he now feels that the reason Romeo will not fight is because he is intimidated by Tybalt. I think that friendship is a type of love and as a good friend, Mercutio would do what any good friend would do, and stick up for Romeo. Mercutio decides to take up the matter by saying “Tybalt, you rat-catcher, will you walk?” rat catcher because Tybalt is known as the king of cats and will you walk meaning can we go somewhere to settle this. Tybalt replies “What wouldst thou have with me?” but Mercutio’s intention is clear. However Tybalt does not seem to keen to fight Mercutio and says “Will you pluck your sword out of his pilcher by the ears? make haste, lest mine be about your ears ere it be out” meaning that if something has to be pulled by its ears to come out it does not really want to come out meaning Tybalt’s sword and implying he does not really want to fight. Again here the dramatic effect is that Mercutio wants to fight Tybalt, but Tybalt wants to fight Romeo. So the audience can see that now there is no alternative to fighting to settle the dispute. There was a lot of dramatic effect in the scene and plenty of talk and threatening that has led up to an inevitable point that has changed the play and influenced the terrible outcome in which they both die. So that is why I feel that this is a memorable scene and that this was one of the most significant Scenes and Acts in the play.
Act 5 scene 3
Romeo sees Tybalt and Juliet lying innocently in the tomb. He proceeds towards Juliet. There is a great difference between the two protagonists here as we get the impression that Juliet is angelic and innocent but then we see Romeo who is scruffy, distraught and in tears. The following, I feel, and I think that most people would agree, is the most emotional and unbelievably tragic part in the whole play. Romeo is still speaking of how much he loves Juliet when she begins to awake. Romeo then speaks of how he will take the poison and kill himself. Romeo holds Juliet’s hand and speaks of how much he loves her still. He then hears footsteps and Paris emerges from the darkness of the tomb. After a brief fight Romeo kills Paris. (There is a similarity between the two of the major deaths in the play, as Tybalt died with Mercutio much like Romeo had died with Paris).
Romeo says his last words to Juliet such before taking the poison that he acquired from an apothecary. Juliet then awakes after Romeo is dead. She cannot believe it and doesn’t understand why Romeo is lying dead next to her. She doesn’t know why Romeo didn’t know of the Friar’s plan, or if he even received it and is in a state of shock from having Romeo pass away on her knee. In panic and disbelief she finds that her love is so strong that she has no choice to kill herself. She tries to see if there is any poison left in the bottle, then she checks his lips to see if there is a ‘friendly drop’ left to kill herself, but as there is none, she finds a rusty dagger and stabs herself in the chest, she dies instantly and falls upon Romeo with her hand around him, I think that this symbolises their togetherness to the very end. She does this so that she can lie with Romeo in death; I also think that the reason she does this, is because her love for Romeo is extremely pure and she believes she may be able to be with Romeo again in the after life so there may still be a chance that they will be together again and therefore is willing to take that chance. Prince Escalus speaks at the end of the play and urges the two families to make peace, which at the very end is what happens. Balthasar also tries to defend himself by revealing the letter that was written by Romeo to support the friar’s account and to explain the events in Mantua. I don’t think that the Montagues and the Capulets were equally punished because the Capulets had lost two family members, Tybalt and Juliet, and the Montagues only one. I don’t think that Mercutio’s loss was as important to Lord and Lady Montague as Romeos death was. The ending to the play made the plot understandable to the audience with the speech at the end and of course when the two families settled their differences and made peace.
Shakespeare often set the action of his plays in foreign countries and/or in the past, yet they are nevertheless very much concerned with the contemporary Elizabethan/Jacobean society in which he lived. Similarly ‘Romeo and Juliet’ was set in Verona, Italy and yet it still represented the contemporary Elizabethan/Jacobean in which he lived. It was four hundred years ago, William Shakespeare wrote The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, it is a popular play that continues to capture the imagination and emotions of people around the world. The drama portrays the passionate, violent and often desperate lives of the youth of Verona. Even today, the tragedy resembles a blueprint of the problems that the adolescents of the twentieth century must face each day. In this play, Shakespeare explores the pitfalls of young love and the consequences they receive from their actions.
They explained their love to be true love and they knew that they had to be together, even though their families were enemies and it was truly forbidden for the two of them to marry. Romeo and Juliet kept their relationship secret from the start, in fear that their love affair would be rejected by their feuding families. That is what led to the death of both lovers. Had they held a more open relationship, eventually, both families would have accepted it. However, considering the circumstances, the street brawl and the later death of Tybalt, Romeo and Juliet felt that their parents would not have been able to understand the love between the two youths. In today’s society, youth are constantly advocating the change from total dependence on family, to their own independence. Young people often think they know better than their parents, often believing that instead of helping them, they are only punishing them. Romeo and Juliet thought that they new better than their parents, but after realizing the wrong they caused when both committing suicide.
Romeo was too young to realize that he had to take responsibility for his actions and he had to accept the consequences. This is one of the pitfalls that Shakespeare portrayed in his play for young love. Romeo did not understand the outcomes of his actions. He never realized this until the damage was done. He was too involved in and self obsessed with his love for Juliet that he didn’t devote himself to any other circumstances. Young love is often an ever-changing emotion that enthrals adolescents. When a boy sees a beautiful girl, he often thinks that he is in love. That is similar to the emotion Romeo experienced: ‘To call hers, exquisite, in question more’.