By considering both the language of the scene and how it might be performed on stage, Show how Shakespeare’s makes his audience aware of Juliet’s state of mind in Act 3 Scene 5.
How is our sympathy engaged for her?
Refer closely to both this scene and other parts of the play you feel are relevant.
In this coursework I will be discussing a topic concerning the relationship of ‘two star cross’d lovers’, who meet a terrible fate at the hands of their own love for each other. The play is called ‘Romeo and Juliet’, and this play is set in the Elizabethan times, which is studied by students all over the world. ‘Romeo and Juliet is not supposed to be a film, or a text, but performed on stage.
I will be considering both the language of the scene Act 3 Scene 5 and how it might be performed on stage. Also religion was very important at that time and everyone went to church and in the society, it was not heard of divorcing your husband.
Furthermore I will be writing about how Shakespeare makes his audience aware of Juliet’s state of mind in Act 3 Scene 5, as this play was a political and social message to the audience.
First and foremost I will be discussing, the historical context, and social context. Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy and a love story, in the Elizabethan times a girl had to get married at the age of 14-16 due to the fact that they could start becoming pregnant, also women at that time did not live for along and some women used to die during childbirth as they did not have any sort of treatment at that time, for example hospitals, etc.
Another point I am going to make is that, women were not allowed to act, so men played women’s part. I believe that the whole play is covering the topic of dramatic irony. I will also be talking about the role of the play which will be discussing the moral, philosophical, and social significance of the play. In the scene that has been put into the question, Juliet is being questioned for her love; I will be sectioning Juliet’s change in her state of mind into four parts:
You will find that from the first part to the fourth, Juliet is dreaming and is in love, to being upset and suicidal. First I will discuss how in love Juliet is with her beloved lover Romeo.
‘Believe me, love, it was the nightingale’
Here we learn two things, obviously by Juliet’s tone of voice we find that she is in love with Romeo, also she uses natures sound, to persuade Romeo to stay as the nightingale is a night bird and she is trying make her own self believe that it was the night bird and not the lark, which is a morning bird. She uses repetition telling him that it definitely WAS the nightingale. Romeo replies in sadness that is was the morning bird and tells her that he has to leave.
‘I must be gone and live, stay or die’
Again Juliet still uses persuasion to make him stay by telling him that it she saw a ‘meteor’ referring to the night she tells him to stay. If I was the director of this film I would make Juliet drag Romeo by his clothes as this would be more dramatic, so he agrees by using a form of reverse psychology by saying:
‘Let me be put to death’
Romeo then agrees with her, telling her that he might as well be put to death and stay with her this ,after a while Juliet finally wakes up to reality and realises that she has been just trying to make her self believe that it is night when it is well and truly daytime, so she replies with shock,
She uses imagery by describing, the way a lark (morning bird) sings, I would make Juliet sigh with great sadness and make her bow down to Romeo and than finally realising that it will not change anything coming back up and kissing him goodbye. Juliet only wishes that lark could change its voice into a nightingale. She then blames the lark for dividing them.
The nurse comes and warns them that their mother is coming, but I would make it more dramatic by Juliet’s mother walking in and Romeo having to go quickly, this would make the audience more interested in the play and make them sit at the edge of their seats.
This is where it all begins when Juliet says her farewells to Romeo and she feels deep inside her that Romeo is going to die, she experiences that something quite bad is going to happen. She has a very weird vision.
‘Methinks thinks I see thee, now thou art so low,
As one dead in the bottom of a tomb’
The dramatic irony and imagery used in the coming verses is great, you will find that it is very interesting and quite unbelievable of what takes place, as the audience we already know that Romeo and Juliet are going to die, as the prologue at the beginning of the play tells us,
‘Two households both alike in dignity’
This sentence means and what I understand of what the rest of the prologue is trying to tell us, two households both equal in status. On beautiful Verona, where the play is set, you will watch how a long standing grudge leads to new conflict, the two families violently fight each other, from these two enemies, two children are born; unfortunately these two unlucky children become lovers and kill themselves. It is their sad, unfortunate death that ends their parents quarrel, their unhappy story of their fated love and their parents rage, will be shown on stage for the next two hours. If you listen patiently you might learn a lesson from it.
Furthermore I will discuss the type of imagery Shakespeare uses in the following scene when Lady Capulet comes in to tell Juliet that she is to marry Paris soon. This is how Juliet’s state of mind changes, as Juliet is crying and her mother thinks she is crying due to the fact that Tybalt has been killed.
‘Evermore weeping for your cousin’s death?’
Lady Capulet does not know that she is crying for Romeos banishment to Mantua,
‘Yet let me weep for such a feeling loss.’
Juliet uses ambiguity, as there is an unclear meaning to this, in this sentence, as the audience we know that she is talking about Romeo, but the character’s do not, this is also dramatic irony, Shakespeare has used this idea very cleverly, as this makes the audience much more interested in the play.
‘I cannot choose but ever weep the friend’
Here friend can mean lover, which can be Juliet’s private meaning. Lady Capulet then goes on talking about the person that killed Tybalt; while on the other hand, Juliet is talking about someone else.
‘As that the villain lives which slaughtered him’
Juliet, enquires, by who she means as the ‘Villain’, Lady Capulet replies,
‘That same Villain, Romeo’
Here ‘Villain’, is used as a pun (playing with words).
‘Villain and he be many miles asunder……………
And yet no man like he doth grieve my heart’
She means Romeo, who is in Mantua and that is miles away, on the following line she is also using ambiguity. Dramatic Irony is used again.
Dramatic Irony is used everywhere in the play, the audience obviously know whatever is happening, and understand it well due to the fact that it has been mentioned in the play’s prologue. Here we would feel very sympathetic towards Juliet due the fact, that her mother thinks she is talking about the ‘prince of cats’, while really Juliet is talking about her one and only true love which has just been banished to Mantua due to her villain of a cousin getting killed by Romeo, we feel sorry for her as there is no one their for her excluding the nurse, which very soon she will also go against her.
Now Lady Capulet is going to tell her the news of Juliet marrying Paris, here there will also be a change of emotions, for Juliet.
‘Put thee from heaviness,
Hath sorted out a sudden day of joy’
Juliet’s mother tells her to stop being mournful, and tells her that she has some news to change her day unhappy into a joyful day,
‘Marry my child, next Thursday morn,
The gallant, young, and noble gentleman
If I was the director of the play I would have made the character of Juliet pop her eyeballs out, whilst her mother is informing her of the arrangements that have been made regarding her forced marriage to Paris. I would have also added a drum role thus, creating a tense and dramatic atmosphere.
‘Now by Saint Peter’s Church and Peter too,
He shall not make me there a joyful bride!
Juliet then shocks the audience by retaliating and going against the customs of that time which was that – children were only seen, never were they heard.
Now that Juliet has just told her mother, she tells her to sort it out with her father who is also coming to know what she has to say about the marriage.
‘When the sun sets, the earth doth drizzle dew
Here Lard Capulet uses a lot of similes as well as metaphors, when he says; ‘In one little body Thou counterfeits a bark, a sea, a wind…….’ he also compares Juliet’s tears to the sea. He has also used a lot of other things in this speech, and then he becomes angry and says to her that he is going to turn into a storm. This now shows the different tone of language that is used by him, and on the other hand, how he changes so suddenly when he is angry, although Capulet is not in front of us, we can imagine quite well what kind of tone of voice is likely to be used.
Lady Capulet has been given a two choices, they are, whether she wants to go on her daughters side or go on her husbands side, she chooses to go on to her husbands side, by saying:
‘Ay, sir- but she will none, she gives you thanks.
I would the fool were married to her grave!’
Lady Capulet curses Juliet, instead of taming her husbands anger; she is provoking Capulet and creating more of an uproar. We also learn how Juliet changes the entire atmosphere with refuting to marry Paris and how Lord Capulet changes the atmosphere also, by saying what he says.
In Capulet’s angry lines he uses rhetorical questions and repetition, Juliet then cries in annoyance to him and answers him back, this make Lord Capulet much angrier, cursing her, calling her a, ‘green sickness carrion’, and other hurtful words like that which makes Lady Capulet come in between them telling them to calm down, this makes Juliet asking for forgiveness and then with some last few curses he then starts telling the nurse off for interrupting, cursing her also calling her an, ‘Utter…bowl’, which means that save your serious words for when you having a drink with your women-friends.
These are the last words he says to her, Juliet who is in a state of devastation. In the space of a few minutes, her whole life has turned upside down, her husband has killed her cousin, her mother has turned against her, and her father threatens to disown her.
Her only hope is the nurse, the nurse as she is her rock; who has been there for her all her life. She means more to her than her own mother does. If the nurse were to disown her, her whole life would come crashing down, and she would reach the lowest of the low. Shakespeare does the unthinkable he turns the nurse against Juliet which will destroy her.
Now that Capulet has just left Juliet turns to the Nurse for help and guidance through this shattering part of her life, at first the nurse tries to defend Juliet, but when Lord Capulet replies to her in utter disgust, she realises that her job could be in jeopardy, if she was to go on defending Juliet-at once evaluates her position and decides against helping Juliet.
This plays a large impact on Juliet mentally, as she realises that no-one is there for her anymore. Even the nurse has gone against her, and this causes Juliet to being in a vulnerable position she finds herself in.
At the end of the scene Juliet talks to herself, this is known as soliloquy as this has a very good effect on the audience. Juliet has just been betrayed and let down, she is angry as well as very lonely. This is the last and final stage when Juliet becomes suicidal, and she comes up with a solution, she believes now that the friar can only help, this is because the friar is the only one who, can be trusted and maybe, can come up with a solution.
‘For never was a story of more woe than Juliet and her Romeo.’
Now I will conclude my essay by telling you how Juliet’s state o mind has changed through out the entire play, first of all she is an innocent young girl, then she sees Romeo who she falls in love with and then she is abandoned by her parents and then her closest family nurse has now gone against her. From start to finish she has gone through ups and downs, now she is in a position of utter devastation.