Romeo and Juliet starts with Romeo ‘lovesick’ over a woman called Rosaline. Romeo is in love with her but she feels nothing for him, furthermore, she is to enter into a convent for women, which explains why he is so upset. Benvolio walks pass Romeo and sees him in distress and tries to make him forget about her. He says to Romeo near the end of Act 1 Scene, line 217, ‘By giving liberty unto thine eyes, examine other beauties’. He is basically saying that Romeo needs to look at other women to forget Rosaline. At that moment, a servant walks pass and asks Benvolio to read out a notice to fulfil the servant’s curiosity. The note states that there will be a party at the Capulets, which is fancy dress. The Montagues then decide to invite themselves in the hope that Romeo will find and fall in love with another woman.
At the party, Tybalt sees them, who becomes furious by their intrusion and tells his uncle, Capulet. Capulet tells Tybalt to ignore him, or the quote reads on line 70 of Act 1 Scene 5, ‘ take no note of him’. Tybalt defies this and says that he is dishonouring the family name, but Capulet double-insults Tybalt and tells him to leave his sight. This makes Tybalt even more furious and in a sense sets the ball rolling for his revenge on Romeo.
Shakespeare was a playwright and a genius in his own right. He wrote many plays and they all had the same thing in common; they became very popular and had little stage directions. He didn’t put any stage directions, because he was the director and he knew how he wanted the play to be acted. By not putting in any stage directions he enable two thinks. He allowed other directors to direct the play how they want, as well as giving the director and infinite amount of freedom, so the actors could make up their own motivation to have the greatest effect on the audience.
This freedom the director got made him able to put his own twists into the appearance, accent and body language of the actors which resulted in, for example, in the Baz Lurman production, the Montagues wore Hawaiian shirts and Tybalt was killed by a gun that had a picture of Mary on the handle. These are just two examples on how the director can interpret Shakespeare actions with little stage directions
Because the actors get very little directions on how to act, they can use body language and their hands to symbolise anger, frustration, confusion, happiness and sadness, this makes the play a lot more understandable for the viewer/audience. Another advantage is that everyone (director and actor) is that they can express themselves so the audience will understand the story line. For example, at the beginning of Act 3 Scene 1, line 1-30, when Benvolio and Mercutio are arguing, they go through several emotions and expressions, which are all, used to emphasise their point and reactions.
The name Mercutio is taken from the word ‘Mercury’, which in Ancient Greek civilisation was the name of the messenger for the gods, and the name Benvolio means ‘good will. Shakespeare could have purposely used these names to reflect their personality.
There are four main characters that Act 3 Scene 1 revolves around; they are Mercutio, Benvolio and Romeo, who are all Montagues and Tybalt who is a Capulet.
Benvolio is a kind and sensible young man. He is depicted in a bitter part of the scene as a non-violent and caring person. However, this is the total opposite of what Mercutio was accusing him of, in lines 1-29. In this sections Mercutio says things like. ‘Thou wilt quarrel with a man that hath more a hair or a hair less in his beard than thou hast’. Mercutio is saying here that Benvolio is a fighter and will start trouble for any trivial reason. However, this quote, we’re not sure whether Mercutio is being serious, ironic or sarcastic.
The facial expressions of Benvolio are not exploited. In other words we do not get the impression that he is smiling or staring etc. this sense of ambiguity lets the reader of the play understand him differently. This is also the case with his body language; he will say something, but he could say it a number of ways so it reaches the other characters and the audience in different ways. For instance, he could say something quick as a come back to shock the other, or slowly, as if passing judgement, comparing or as if in disgrace.
The motivation Benvolio has is to be the group leader and to take responsibilities for their actions. I feel that Benvolio likes to avoid conflicts this will reflect in his body language i.e. not to stand threatening.
I want the audience to see Benvolio as more or less the leader. To do this, I will make him look big, by standing closer to the audience. I want Benvolio to look intellectual and mature, I will do this by making him speak clearly, wear good clothes and have a good posture.
Benvolio and Mercutio have a love-hate relationship, which is emphasised throughout the play.
Mercutio is the loudest one. He comes across as a ‘street fighter’, hot headed, a show off and as over confidant. Because of his flamboyancy, he does many plays on words (puns).
We feel that his facial expressions and body language to show and express these qualities and does many things to get a reaction, either from his friends or the audience. For example, lines 5-6, he says, ‘when he enters the confines of a tavern…’ the relevance this has is that it is said when he is in a group and the ‘he’ is that he could be talking about someone else and expecting a reaction. For example, he could be nodding or tilting his head towards Benvolio when he says it, but keeping eye contact with the others as if waiting for them to agree.
Speech wise, Mercutio uses puns a lot; a pun is a play on words that are alike in sound but mean different things. For example, line 29, Mercutio says, ‘the fee-simple? O simple!’ The effect that puns have on the audience is that they are likely to laugh and add to the mood of the scene.
His motivation throughout the scene, especially during the confrontation is to not show fear and to stir up the ‘mad blood stirring’. Mercutio acts as though he is competing for the limelight and attention with the others especially Tybalt.
I will tell Mercutio to keep moving and try not to stay still. The effect this will have on the audience is that Mercutio will seem to be frantic, joking and maybe furious. This will make the audience wonder if it’s all a front or his way of showing fear or even to intimidate Tybalt. I want to audience to love Mercutio because I feel he will bring a lot of comic relief for the time that he is in the play. Furthermore, it will mean a great loss when he dies and the romantic-tragedy theme of the play will slowly becoming true
Romeo enters the act half way through the confrontation between Mercutio and Tybalt. He has just come back from marrying Juliet so he would be in a happy mood. From the beginning of the play, Romeo comes across as a humorous and caring character, but this is covered up because he is hiding a secret. I feel that Romeo is a fighter but only when needs call.
Romeo will not make eye contact with Tybalt because that would symbolise him wanting to fight. This is all part of social and historical context; avoiding eye contact will show humbleness and fear and make Tybalt not want to fight.
The way that Romeo talks makes the reader and viewer think that he is quiet and not meaning to be threatening. This relays on the audience because they think that he is a coward; an example of social and historical context. Being called a coward is an insult because it shows that the person is afraid.
I want the audience to feel mixed emotions for Romeo, because I feel that there is a certain ambiguity of what he feels, i.e. frustration because he can’t fight/ kill Tybalt. Confusion as he is not sure why Tybalt wants to fight.
Romeo’s relationship with the other characters is love-love. They respect him because he respects them and they are all good friends who would and have fought for Romeo. Benvolio and Romeo are cousins. In Act 1 Scene 1 line 51, Benvolio says, ‘ Good morrow, Cousin’. This shows that they have more than a friendship relationship. Because Romeo is forced to love Tybalt, as he is now his cousin and no one else knows it, dramatic irony is used to make us pity him. Dramatic irony is a poetic device that can be used to create tension and drama amongst other things. It is when the audience knows the truth about something that the characters don’t.
In Act 1, scene 1, Romeo talks about his love for a woman. During this time, he talks in rhyming couplets e.g. ‘for beauty starved with her severity, cuts beauty off from all posterity’. It strikes me as him being very true and sincere, because he is complementing her on many aspects, but focusing on her beauty (lines 210,211,206,207 etc)
Tybalt is the cousin of Romeo, but he doesn’t yet know it. The impression I got of Tybalt is that he is all a front, in other words he gives the impression of a very arduous and harsh person and then says something that symbolises he is afraid, such as in Act 3 Scene 1, line 32, ‘follow me close, for I will speak to them…’ he says to his followers. This shows that he needs other people so he looks intimidating.
Through both of the productions of ‘Romeo and Juliet’, Tybalt is portrayed as a stiff, focused and very confrontational. I think that the directors got this impression because he does everything in numbers i.e. to confront people. Tybalt always looks mad, serious and strong. I would like those qualities to come across because it would reflect that he was annoyed with Romeo and his friends.
The way that Tybalt speaks has a menacing pierce and he doesn’t raise his voice, this would force intimidation upon Mercutio.
He has a hate-hate relationship with everyone that isn’t a Capulet. The reason for this attitude is that it represents how people and families reacted towards each other and made hatred out of thin air and how families would follow the head of the house because they said to; this is another example of social and historical context.
This part of the play is very important as, from this point onwards, it steadily leads up to the eventual death of other characters i.e. Tybalt, Romeo and Juliet.
Line 30 of Act 3 Scene 1, Benvolio will say it slowly and in a whisper, after he says this line, ‘by my head’ I would tell him to pause this would create tension and show that he is nervous. Benvolio will be stiff but not gazing and the Capulets. This will show he is afraid and trying to warn the others. In comparison, I want Mercutio to say line 31 loud and exaggerated and say each word with a certain jubilation, due to the notion that they might fight. When Mercutio says ‘by me heel’ I would tell him to symbolise this so the audience will understand the play on words he has just conjured. It will also show a low regard for Tybalt. This line must be said boldly because I want Tybalt to react either by slowing down or by looking/ glancing at the audience. Th effect I want to create is intimidation bounding from one to the other.
Tybalt’s first line (32) would be said quietly so only his friends will be able to hear, as if anyone else heard him they would think that he was afraid of them. The next line would be said loudly and confidently to get a reaction from the Montagues as well as the public and the audience. This line can be interpreted two ways. The first is that Tybalt is saying with signs of respect, not to start trouble with people that it doesn’t concern. Or secondly to be sarcastic. I want it to have the second way; it will come across sarcastic by him emphasising the word ‘sir’.
The next line 34-35, is Mercutio’s reply to Tybalt. I want it to be said quickly and snappy, to show the spitefulness between the two. I would tell Mercutio to look at his friends, but keep is back facing Tybalt, again showing a low regard or a feeling that that Mercutio is better than Tybalt. This is an example of Social and Historical context. It was seen as courteous to look at someone when talking to them, and by Mercutio not doing this I hope it will have an opposite effect. The only line that they will make contact on will be Line 135, ‘…with a blow’. This is the first part where he talks about fighting, without an incentive. It shows the family feud. Tybalt then replies again implying to have a fight. I will make them both say key words with emphasis. I will make Tybalt say his line slowly, to show threats.
The way that Tybalt will say line 35 will be in a way that it stands as the bottom line, no more joking or playing words. His motivation is to just get on Mercutio’s nerves. Therefore, the words ‘thou consortest…'[work for…] will be said slowly, clearly and emphasise the word ‘consortest’. I want Mercutio to lose his cool and really get annoyed and express anyway he can i.e. facially, vocally or with his body. Tybalt will be signalling that all of his friends ‘consort with Romeo’. Mercutio will now take all of this in his stride and shows it off. Benvolio now whispers into Mercutio’s ear his lines. It will be said calmly but with a sense of urgency in his voice. Lines 45-46 will be said whilst looking around imploringly. I would then tell Mercutio to speak slowly and the only part of his face to move will be his mouth, showing total seriousness, whilst staring at Tybalt. Everyone is in a deadly silence.
Tybalt will know when Romeo arrives because on of his friends will whisper it in his ear, Tybalt will then turn round to look at Romeo, and then look back at Mercutio and say, ‘Well, peace be with you, sir, here comes my man’. Tybalt will say this line a loud and cheerful manner ending the silence and tension, but again emphasising the word ‘sir’. Tybalt now turns away from Mercutio and looks at Romeo. Romeo, who has just comeback from marrying Juliet, is in a very happy mood and will come on to the stage with a smile and jumping around. As he sees the crowd of people and gets closer to realise that it is all about him, he will slowly change his expression to a shocked and sad look. Tybalt says ‘ Romeo, he love I bear thee can afford no better term than this: thou art a villain’ this line will have many pauses and emphasised words, such as ‘thou art a villain’, which will be said pausing between each word and heavily emphasised the word ‘villain’. Before Tybalt says ‘thou art a villain’ he will pause for 3-5 seconds. This pause is very important because it creates suspense. Tybalt will be frowning and have his head tilted foreword. This small invasion of Romeo’s private space will threaten him. At this point, Romeo will look towards the audience with a confused and scared look upon his face. Romeo’s reply will be taken as an insult to him; this is not the way that it was intended. Tybalt will be confused and just as Romeo says ‘Therefore farewell, I see thou knowest me not’ (line 57-58) Romeo will walk backwards and then turn away.
At this point, I want Tybalt to push Romeo from behind and make him stumble to the floor. Tybalt will push, not fight, because he wants a duel, not a one sided fight, so he therefore he will try and make Romeo angry. Line 59, Tybalt will say that Romeo is a ‘boy’. I would emphasise this heavily, so everyone can hear. Especially the audience, who will be shocked by it and the fact that Romeo does not retaliate. The reason why I will emphasise this word is because eof social and historical context. It tells me that a man being called a boy undermines the person.
Romeo’s lines 61-65, will be said calmly and as he is getting up from the ground. Tybalt will act even more annoyed with Romeo, because he thinks that Romeo is being sarcastic and trying to make a fool of him. The calmer that Romeo becomes, the more annoyed and frustrated Tybalt gets. It makes Tybalt look stupid that Romeo will not fight him and social and historical context tells me that not fighting is a sign of cowardice.
Mercutio will say line 66 in a ‘stage whisper’ so only audience will hear. He will slowly raise his voice. Dramatic irony is used here. No one knows why Romeo is not fighting, except the audience. Mercutio doesn’t understand the reason for Romeo’s ‘love’ for Tybalt.
In line 70, I want Mercutio to switch back to becoming the ‘joker’. Mercutio will smile, dance and bow when he says ‘Good king of cats…’ this will ease the tension of the audience. Tybalt is a popular name of cats. Mercutio is returning the sarcastic comments that were paid to him earlier in the scene. He is trying to draw attention away from Romeo because he thinks that something is wrong with him and so that he can fight Tybalt. This bit is particularly important because to is showing the Mercutio is not a total hot head, but is just messing around with Tybalt to distract him whilst Romeo gets up.
Romeo says line 75 in a desperate plea, using his hands to symbolise how frantic is to stop the fighting, because Tybalt and Mercutio are practically cousins.
Before Mercutio starts to fight with Tybalt, he will look at Romeo, who is still pleading, with a look of disgust, and then turn to fact Tybalt. All of the Montagues will feel the same way as Tybalt and they will feel let down, this is why Benvolio doesn’t ‘bet down their weapons’.
When Tybalt and Mercutio fight, I want them to go near the audience and break apart so often. I want the fight near the audience because it will come across as something much fiercer and deadlier. This is the particular part of the play where it is fast paced. During the fight I want Romeo to be really scared of what he might have started and what will happen if either of them dies. He should be thinking/ have a thinking look on his face, to show he is trying to devise a plan or some method to break When Romeo asks Benvolio to intervene I want Benvolio to look at Romeo in disgust and to take no action of what he said.
Mercutio will punch Tybalt to the floor in one ‘blow’, this will show Mercutio’s strength and anger furthermore, that he is mot all a front, but he is just an extravagant person. When Tybalt gets up from the floor, as he is on one knee going to stand up, he will pull a knife from an ankle pocket. This will signify he’s desperate and dishonest. The audience will see the knife, and become surprised and also tense. Mercutio then walks towards Tybalt slowly and boldly, at this point Romeo will step between them both, but holding back Mercutio more than Tybalt. Romeo says line 82 practically screaming and looking at Tybalt when he says his name and Mercutio when he says his name. Romeo will stand with his forearm on Mercutio’s chest and leaning towards Mercutio and one hand on Tybalt’s shoulder, because he is still on one knee.
Romeo will look into Mercutio’s eyes, and Mercutio will look into Romeo’s eyes. There will be a silence and then Tybalt will ‘thrust Mercutio in’. There will be a lot of confusion because no one knows that he has been stabbed and no on knows that Tybalt had a knife. To represent this confusion, I will have everyone look at each other.
Mercutio says ‘I am hurt’ slowly with his head bowed, but it will come across as a question. Again showing there is a lot of confusion. Mercutio is stumbling around and holding his wound, but there will be a sign of blood on his clothes.
It is very important that Mercutio shouts out, nearly crying the line: ‘A plague a’both your house’. In Elizabethan society, many people were superstitious and that line, which is putting a curse on both of their families. The last words from a dying person are considered to be worth the same as a prophecy.
The actual fight will be short, because I feel that a long fight will not convey a fierce and brutal theme.
I want Mercutio to die on stage, but very near to the audience, the reason for this is for two reasons. 1) I don’t want there to be any ambiguity over his death; I want everyone to know that ‘good Mercutio has died. 2) It will change the atmosphere in the play and make everyone dislike Tybalt and therefore rejoice when he is killed and feel sorry for Romeo when he is expelled. The audience and the characters will know that Mercutio has died because his ‘page’ will look up at Romeo crying and shaking his head from left to right.
Throughout the confrontation a sense of ‘dramatic irony’ is created. Dramatic irony creates tension because the audiences are waiting for something to happen and for the character to understand and react. Furthermore dramatic irony adds to the drama of the play, in a sense that the audience is involved in the play and they say among themselves things like, ‘No! Don’t go there!’ or ‘Don’t say that’.
Dramatic irony is used excessively in line 45, when I make Romeo turn away and walk from Tybalt. The audience knew why he is walking but no one else does, I will represent them not knowing by everyone looking around.
The fight between Romeo and Tybalt is an important one. It sends emotions running and the understanding of characters of the trail.
Because Tybalt killed Mercutio and Romeo accepts all the blame, I want him to fight for revenge and ’emotional distress’. I will make Romeo block out the fact hat they are cousins; it will play no significance in Romeo’s actions.
Taking all of this account, therefore I want the fight to be quick, brutal and one sided. I want the fight to be quick because it will show skill and cancel out any feelings that Romeo is a coward. I would stage the fight to be brutal, because t would represent Romeo’s anger at the death of his friend. This is also his motivation; to express how he feels about his friend dying, under Romeo’s arm. Having the fight one sided, shows how merciless Romeo acts; this is how I interpret how Shakespeare wrote.
Romeo says in line 120 ‘either thou, or I, or both must go with him’ referring to Mercutio, and meeting him in heaven. Romeo is saying here that they will fight to the death, again this shows his frustration. I want Romeo to say this line slowly and deeply. And pausing between each personal noun. Romeo will be strong and not making any sort of movement.
In Act 2 Scene 4, line 15-31, Mercutio jokes about Tybalt’s style of fighting, on line 19, he says, ‘he fights as you sing prick-songs, keeps time, distance, he rests at minimum rests’. Mercutio is making an elaborate comparison between music and Tybalt fighting; both played strictly by the rules. Mercutio mocks Tybalt fighting to show two things. Firstly, to represent how little Mercutio likes Tybalt and secondly to show Benvolio of his knowledge of sword fighting.
This scene contradicts Tybalt for the way that he killed Mercutio; as he ‘thrusted in’, not using the ‘stocatta’ stance.
The way Mercutio fights suggests that he is lethal and will, more or less, do anything to win, on the other hand Mercutio could be mocking Tybalt in a way that he is being sarcastic and saying Tybalt fighting style is that of an amateur. He says that the new fighter (Tybalt) has very stiff posture, or as he said on line 28, ‘these fashion mongers, these pardon me’s, who stand so much on the new form, that the cannot sit at ease at the old bench’ he is basically saying that the way that their posture makes it very uncomfortable to sit and do anything. He disagrees with them a lot.
The way that Tybalt fights suggests that he is distinguished and elaborate, much like Mercutio. Showing that he can get the job done with style and finesse; just like footballers, they can easily score a goal, but they will put a curl on the ball and ‘dummy’ it to show off. This is how I interpret Tybalt fighting, but not how I will show it in the play.
Mercutio makes a joke about being a ‘grave’ man; by turning it into a pun. A pun is a play on words that involve to words that are spelt the same but mean different things. The word ‘grave’ as in death or someone dead as well in the sense of serious danger. I would try and make Mercutio try and laugh at himself, as though mocking his wound and not showing any fear, because that will make him look weak and guarantee Tybalt won. Just like keeping eye contact with a dog, because if it fears you it will not attack, but if you fear it, then it will attack.
As Mercutio is dying, he says ‘A plague a’both your house’ several times. It is basically a curse that wishes bad lick on both the Montagues and Capulets. This is a great example of Social and Historical context. The first time that this is said, is on line 82, Mercutio will say it slowly, as he will be feeling pain, but with a lot of energy. The next time that it is said (line 91) will be said shouting and fairly fast, whilst pointing at Romeo, as if 100% blaming Romeo for making him loose a battle. The last time it’s said is on line 97, it will be said in a remorseful way, as though he has to say it.
The way that I will make Romeo act to him killing Tybalt, will be to go through a rush of many emotion. After Tybalt is killed, he will stare at the body, with and expression of anger, but a very slight smile. Romeo will then have a look of disgust, breathing heavily and fast, to represent the adrenaline rush. I would then tell him to totally change his look, he will turn away from the body and look at the floor, and take deeper breaths. I would then tell him to run his hands through his hair, to represent him thinking. This is when he realises the impact that it will have on Juliet, because he will be killed for he has murdered, or as the prince referred to it ‘…Once more, on pain of death, all men depart’. When the Prince finds that Romeo killed Tybalt, he said on line 187 ‘immediately, we do exile him hence’. To show this rush of emotions and the realisation of what he has done ahs effected Juliet, I would tell Romeo to shout line 127; ‘O, I am fortune’s fool’. Saying that he is a fool for doing what fortune wanted him to do i.e. kill Tybalt.
In the Zeferelli version of the play, Romeo has the upper hand two-thirds of the way, and in the Baz Lurman version, Romeo has the upper hand all the way. I think the reason for these different interpretations all come down to Social and Historical context. I.e. in the 16th Century every child was taught how to fight and he wanted to show that the system worked. But Lurman portrayed that if someone lost a fight then it’s because the other person had the killer instinct.
Another reason for Romeo’s brutality is because he doesn’t mind of he dies, but he wants revenge or as he put it on line 120, ‘Either thou or I, or both must go’. Furthermore, he said, ‘And fire-eyed fury be my conduct now!’ [Uncontrollable fury be my behaviour now!].
Act 3 Scene 1 is one of the most important scenes in the entire play, primarily because it loses two characters. The effect that these two characters have is really how the audience feels towards the rest of the characters. For example, is Romeo a ‘villain’ or a friend and is Benvolio a coward, fighter or troublemaker? The audience will interpret these possibilities by the way that I make theme come across; with the use of facial and body expressions and poetic devices such as dramatic irony.
This scene the climax of the other chain of events, which lead to the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.
Shakespeare most probably killed off Mercutio early in the play, to create a seldom atmosphere among the characters and the audience. A seldom atmosphere usually means that more tragedy is coming, and it is really just getting the audience into the plot.
Since the theme of the play is ‘Romantic Tragedy’, the majority of the play will play among these line, except for the end or the play where there is a total contrast of a reconciliation between the Montagues and the Capulets; the emphasis of the new-found friendship, to the highest degree.
Mercutio dying sets the ball rolling for other tragedies, that the audience may come across.
At the end of scene 1, I want the audience to be overcome with emotions and reactions. I will make the actors emphasise their facial and body language to such an extent that the audience feels sorry/ happy for the characters.
I will try and make the audience ponder the question: who is the enemy? Mercutio, for starting trouble? Tybalt, for killing first? or Romeo, for revenging the death? I will try and achieve this by making the characters have menacing looks and malicious actions or way of speaking, but also give them tender tendencies. The audience will draw their own conclusions
The audience will also try and predict how Romeo and Juliet’s marriage will decrease or improve. They will try and use evidence, on where their marriage will get better or worse by, for example, after Romeo killed Tybalt, he may have a less distressed look; this symbolises he is not that worried about Juliet, therefore he will make everything okay in the end.