Romeo and Juliet overall is a brilliant piece of drama but in particular the most dramatic scene is “Act 1 Scene 5”, this is because the mixed emotions of love and hate which keeps the audiences attention and keeps them interested.
At the start of the play we see the feud between the two families “The Capulet’s” and “The Montague’s” and get to know some of the main characters and their attitudes, this brings the audience in straight away which is a good way to start the play.
The next main part of the play I think is when Romeo enters and is talking with Benvolio about his love for Rosaline and that she does not love him back this is shown through his speech like when he says “Out of her favour, where I am in love.” I think this is an important part of the play as we learn how Romeo is very romantic and that he is in love with being in love. This leads onto scene two where Paris and Lord Capulet are discussing arranged marriage plans for Paris and Juliet and that they shall meet at the ball.Order now
The next important scene is scene 4 as this is where Romeo discusses his dream he had with Mercutio and Benvolio, at first Mercutio mocks him but then Romeo explains that if he does go to the ball it will somehow end up in his death, Romeo expresses this by saying that:
“I fear, too early: for my mind misgives
some consequence yet hanging in the stars
shall bitterly begin his fearful date
with this night’s revels and expire the term
of a despised life closed in my breast
by some vile forfeit of untimely death.”
This is also Dramatic Irony as some of the audience would of known that this is where he meets Juliet and they end up killing themselves.
This is good as we now know that Romeo and Juliet are both going to be at the ball, so in the next scene at the ball we are going to expect them to meet and fall in love.
Act 1 Scene 5
This scene is started off at a hall in Capulets house where two servants are preparing for the ball, the servants are very busy and doing a lot of work this shows the significance of the party as they obviously know the importance to Capulet as this where Juliet is supposed to fall in love with Paris. Then enters Capulet and the ball has started he straight away is welcoming his guests and trying to be the good host by joking and chatting with his guest as they enter. This is a good way to start this scene as straight away the mood has changed from Romeos speech at the end of Scene 4 which was quite depressing to a more happy and joyful scene where everyone is enjoying themselves.
This leads onto one of the most significant parts of this scene and in a matter of fact the whole play where Romeo and Juliet meet. Before they meet Romeo spots Juliet and ask one of the servants who she is but the servant replies “I know not, sir” this adds to the dramatic irony as the audience already know who she is from earlier in the play. Romeo then starts speaking in a soliloquy about Juliet and how beautiful she is. He uses terms like “a rich jewel in an ethiope’s ear” which basically means she stands out and “beauty too rich for use”, this soliloquy has much exaggeration to describe Juliet’s beauty and also is very rich in imagery so the audience can imagine what Juliet looks like and how beautiful she is, both of these features are very important because when this play would have first been shown in the theatre Juliet would have been played by a man so the characters speech would have had to shown the audience that the love was real.
The manner in which Romeo is in love now totally differs to earlier in the play when he was in love with Rosaline, when Romeo was in love in love with Rosaline was more courtly love (being in love with love) which is shown by all the oxymoron’s he uses to describe his love like when he describes love as “Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs” whereas now he is describing is love of Juliet and not what it is like to be in love.
The next significant part of this play is the confrontation of Tybalt to Capulet when Tybalt spots Romeo in the crowds, as we know the kind of angry/aggressive person Tybalt is, its not hard to realise that he’s not going to be pleased which he’s not he storms straight to Capulet and says:
“This, by his voice, should be a Montague.
Fetch me my rapier, boy. What dares the slave
Come hither, covered with an antic face,
To fleer and mock at our solemnity?
Now, by the stock and honour of my kin,
To strike him dead, I hold it not a sin.”
What Tybalt it saying that there is a Montague at our Capulet party and that he’s come to make fun and mock them so he would not hold it a sin to go and kill him to uphold honour.
Tybalt’s words are very strong and immediately change the mood of the scene to a lot angrier and increases tension for the audience, his words also reflect his character and his actions in the fight in Act 1 Scene 1, clearly he has not taken into account the princes ultimatum when he calls for his sword.
His words are far different to the romantic words of Romeo when he was describing Juliet which once again shows the difference in character and attitude as Romeo is seen as the more romantic and Tybalt is seen as being very aggressive.
Capulet tries to keep calm during this and gently rebukes Tybalt and tells him that Romeo is thought of a well mannered young man in Verona and that Tybalt should just “endure” him which means that he should go about what he was doing and just ignore that Romeo is there but Tybalt answers that he shall not endure him Capulet’s mood starts to change and become irritated which is reflected in his language, he starts to use disparaging terms and describes his nephew using the more formal “you” for example Capulet says “you are a saucy boy”. As talking to Tybalt suddenly his speech and tone changes to more of a party mood asking for “more light, more light” this shows us that he has not forgot he’s the host of the party and don’t want to be seen getting angry if someone walks past him and carries on when they have walked away.
When Capulet threatens to make him quiet Tybalt agrees to “withdraw” but soon adds
“This intrusion shall now seeming sweet will convert to bitter gall” so he will back off for now but what Romeo has done will not be forgotten, this could have had a cliff hanging effect on the audience because they now know that Tybalt is going to get his own back so the audience will be waiting for Romeo to be confronted. There is also further dramatic irony here as the audience here the threat but not Romeo.
At the end of this conversation the mood has been left very tense and angry but is soon converted back to the less tense love mood when Romeo and Juliet finally meet.
While holding Juliet’s hand Romeo is trying to woo her and compliment her just so he can have the chance to share a kiss with her, in this part of the play it is written in sonnet, sonnet is a 14 line poem where the lines are written in the rhyming form (a,b,a,b,c,d,c,d,e,f,e,f,g,g) Shakespeare chose this form because the audience would have known that it was used for expressing love in addition they could share the lines equally and it would have separated them from all the other characters.
In this sonnet there are many metaphors used to describe each other and extended metaphor is used as Juliet being a saint and Romeo a pilgrim for example Romeo said:
“Have not saint lips and holy palmers too?” and Juliet replied to play along:
“Ay, pilgrim lips that must be used in prayer”
This Religious imagery reinforces for the audience the purity and seriousness of their love, unlike Rosaline Juliet shows she is interested by carrying on with the extended metaphor and after the 14th line they even start off another sonnet but is interrupted when the nurse enters.
When the nurse enters actually turns out to be quite an important part of the play, as through her both Romeo and Juliet learn about each others backgrounds, as she enters and says to Juliet “your mother craves a word with you” Romeo intervenes and asks the nurse who her mother is it is then when the nurse replies “she’s the lady of the house” of course that means Juliet is a CAPULET when Romeo figures this out his reaction his mainly shock and then turns to grief which is shown by him saying:
“Is she a Capulet?
O dear account! My life is my foes debt.”
This means that he owes his life to his enemy. Juliet’s response is very ominous that she has fallen in love with her only enemy, her rhyme separates her inner thoughts (for the audience) from her conversation with the nurse, this is much worse when she first feared “my grave is like to be my wedding bed” she thought that she would die if he was already was already married, this is an ironic anticipation of what’s to come. These reactions were much different as Romeo was just a single thought but Juliet’s was much deeper. This creates much tension for the audience because they could now think they might not get together.
There are many reasons why I think Act 1 Scene 5 is dramatically effective and in this part of the essay I am going to look at what they were and how they made this scene more effective.
The first and personally my main reason I’m going to discuss is the use of different language to separate the characters with more stature like Capulet from the lower class characters like the servants.
Also Shakespeare has made very good use of language rich in imagery so the audience could visualise Juliet I think this is also very important because when this play would have first been shown Juliet would have been played by a man so its good that the audience would be able to imagine what the young beautiful girl would have looked like.
The next feature of this scene that makes it dramatically effective is the sudden and many mood changes, the changes of mood from love to hate fits in perfectly with the theme of the play as the love is about Romeo and Juliet “two star-crossed lovers” and the hate is between the two rivalling families “The Capulets” and “The Montague’s”. This theme was very effective and still is, it was so effective back in Elizabethan times it’s been used up to now and is still in modern day television programmes like Eastenders, this shows that it is very effective to engage audience and also keeps the storyline from getting boring.
The way Shakespeare uses dramatic irony in many places in this scene and in the rest of the play makes the audience get into the play more because they want to see if the character that does not know what they know finds out which makes a cliff hanging effect as it makes the audience think will they find out?
There are also the littler features in the play like the religious imagery used in Romeo and Juliet’s sonnet that keeps the play from getting dull and reinforces the seriousness of the love that they both share.
I think this scene is crucial to the rest of the play and must engage the audience because it sets the scene for the rest of the play.