Act I, Scene5 is a very important scene in the play, and it is a decisive moment. This is where the main conflict of the play is first revealed to the audience, and this has a dramatic effect as the audience’s expectation and curiosity is finally met. The conflict starts when Verona’s two rival families’ son and daughter (Romeo and Juliet) meet for the first time, and of course fall in love instantly. This part of the play also highlights the two lovers’, Juliet’s cousin Tybalt’s, and Juliet’s father Lord Capulet’s personalities, it helps the audience to form an opinion of each of them and see their involvement in the play. This is a great opportunity for the audience to learn about these characters and to see the play from their point of view. The scene also strongly emphasises on the rivalry and abhorrence between the two families, the Montagues and the Capulets.
In the first part of the scene, the audience can watch the preparations for the party held by Lord Capulet. The servants are clearing space for the dancers and generally getting organised for the arrival of the guests. The atmosphere between them is very busy, lively and energetic, the servants are getting continuous orders like “Away with the join-stools, remove the court-cupboard, look to the plate.”. This informal way of speech is used by Shakespeare to emphasise on the servant’s low class or priority. Shakespeare also wrote the servingmen’s speech in such simple way to amuse the audience in which back in the 17th century was a great proportion of commoners who must’ve enjoyed jokes like “…save me a piece of marchpane, and as thou loves me, let the porter let in Susan Grindstone and Nell”.
The use of repetition, “You are looked for and called for, asked for and sought for…” also creates the feeling of the events happening very fast and has an influence on the atmosphere between the servants making it seem excited and teasing. The audience might also notice that this part of the scene is in contrast with the end of the previous scene in which Romeo laments over his lost love Rosaline, and therefore is much more solemn and melancholic. The beginning of Scene 5 allows the audience to settle as it is not such a serious scene and it also allows the servants to bring out props.
Lord Capulet has a huge dramatic effect on the audience as he welcomes his guests, making humorous comments about the ladies who are not willing to dance. He says they “have their toes unplagued with corns” and this is the reason why they don’t want to dance. The purpose of these comments in the play is to persuade the guests to dance and to make the audience laugh, and it also clearly shows that this is the beginning of the party. Capulet commands everyone, the audience can clearly see that he is a man of authority and great power as he says “A hall, a hall, give room! And foot it, girls” or “More light, you knaves, and turn the tables up…”, it is obvious that he is in control. He delivers a stream of orders in this short little extract. The atmosphere created by his words is frenzied and hysterical (in a positive way). This part of the scene has a lively effect of the audience’s senses: loud music, bright colours, and lots of movement on the stage all add to the playful, merry mood of the play. Capulet soon notices his cousin in the crowd, and reminisces with him about the old days. He repeats himself “’tis not so much, ’tis not so much” which shows his excitement. The way the two men talk with religious references like “come Pentecost as quickly as it will,” sounds gossipy, illustrates the sense of family. This conversation could also (lightly) amuse the audience.
When Romeo sees Juliet for the first time, he says “What lady’s that which doth enrich the hand of yonder knight?” which reveals a few things about Romeo to the audience. First of all, his use of vocabulary shows a good education, wealth and elegance and secondly, it shows his admiration, his romantic nature as he is entranced by Juliet’s beauty. He uses references to light like ” O she doth teach the torches to burn bright!” to describe the girl’s prettiness and again shows how romantic and maybe emotional he is. He uses hyperbolic imagery “as a rich jewel in an Ethiop’s ear…” which is a reference to passion, and “snowy dove trooping with crows” are bright, light, white references which are to represent her purity, innocence and peace, and she stands out of the crowd. The audience can notice that Shakespeare used couplets in Romeo’s speech to indicate his romantic and poetic side, and it also creates the feeling of a higher, well-educated class. The audience can see from this piece that Romeo is emotionally very unstable, he has got over his previous “love,, Rosaline as soon as he saw Juliet, this also reflects his immaturity as he gets in and out of love very quickly. He appears to be a very sensitive and romantic person, who admires beauty “for I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.”, he is also a dreamer, as he sometimes seems to be in his own little world.
As soon as Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin notices Romeo, his deadly enemy at the party, the audience’s attention is immediately turned on him as he says “to fleer down at our solemnity” and “to strike him dead I hold it not a sin” by which he expresses his hatred, anger and rage towards Romeo, the audience can hear sibilance as he says his vicious words, it sounds like he’s spitting them out. He looks very angry and his uncle, Lord Montague asks him why he’s so angry. He goes into telling him about Romeo, and he uses negative and angry words like “foe” or “villian” to express his fury. Capulet tries to pacify Tybalt, he tells him that Romeo is a “virtuous and well-governed youth” which means that he is well known and respected in Verona, and he is brought up well. The words of Lord Capulet tell the audience that he is a good, moralistic man, he doesn’t want to ruin his party with a fight, and he wants to be a good host and wants to uphold his good reputation. By this point, the audience’s reaction is tense and excited. Tybalt disagrees with him, uses the word “foe” again which shows his delirium, and says, “I’ll not endure him” as he will not accept Romeo’s presence at the party. The audience can hear Capulet’s anger building up, as Tybalt rebels against his authority.
He starts shouting “Am I the master here, or you? Go to!” this tell us that he will not tolerate Tybalt’s rudeness. Tybalt’s reply is clearly not satisfying for Capulet, as he calls Tybalt a “saucy boy” and a “princox” to show how rude and insolent hi is. He also at the same time diverts the crowds attention off their fight in a very noticeable way “Be quiet, or- More light, more light! – For shame, I’ll make you quiet, what! -Cheerly, my hearts!”. Here, he talks to both Tybalt and his guests. Tybalt’s final words are foreshadowing giving the audience the idea of tragic future events as he says, “Now seeming sweet, convert to bitt’rest gall”. Shakespeare put this part between two romantic scenes and created a contrast in mood to keep the audience interested, and to focus on the contradictions in this part and throughout the play, as this is one of the main themes that the play is based on.
When Romeo and Juliet meet for the first time, Shakespeare has created a very romantic and religious atmosphere. Romeo uses phrases and metaphors like “this holy shrine”, “two blushing pilgrims, ready stand” to compare Juliet to a shrine, something that must be admired and worshiped. At this point he kisses her hand, to which she replies with “And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss” which is a pun, to tease and flirt with Romeo and to encourage him. Romeo uses her argument to persuade her to kiss him “Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?”. These words and actions would amuse the audience and on the stage they could only see the two lovers in the middle of the stage with the music turned down and the dancers in the background. The audience’s full focus and concentration would be on them. Romeo tells Juliet not to move, and kisses her and says, “give me my sin again” by which he means he wants to kiss her again, and he does.
Shakespeare used so much religious imagery in the dialogue to evolve the importance and seriousness of their love, to emphasise sincerity and unison. It also has a dramatic effect on the audience, both Shakespeare’s; the audience is moved by the romantic and pure human nature and fate. Shakespeare made it very believable that they can fall in love so quickly by the religious references, although the modern audience might be cynical about it. This is the first time when the audience is shocked by the dramatic irony as Romeo, who’s a Montague and Juliet, who’s a Capulet fall in love although their parents are deadly enemies, and would never tolerate their relationship. Again, there’s foreshadowing of upcoming tragic events, the audience can’t wait to find out what happens, they’re very excited, worried and curious.
Right after they kissed, Juliet’s nurse calls for her and tells her that her mother wants to have a word with her. Romeo asks the nurse who the girl is; as of course he doesn’t know yet that she is Juliet, Lord Capulet’s daughter. As the nurse tells him who she is, Romeo’s shocked and says “O dear account! My life is my foe’s debt” meaning that now he owes his life to Lord Capulet and again foreshadowing tragic events, death. He feels uneasy; he knows that there’ll more to this when he says, “so I fear, the more is my unrest”.
Juliet also uses her nurse to find out about the “yond gentleman”. When she comes back, and tells Juliet that the man is called Romeo and is a Montague, she also foreshadows tragedy by saying “My only love sprung from my only hate…That I must love a loathï¿½d enemy” meaning that the only person she’s in love with is her great enemy, and the audience can predict that the outcome of their relationship is not going to be accepted and there will be retrievals from both of the families resulting in a tragic ending.
Act I, Scene 5 gives the audience a romantic and an exciting feeling. This is due to the variation events following each other; there are very serious, sad and aggressive moments in this scene as well as funny, humorous and romantic ones making the scene very colourful and enjoyable. The contradiction between the themes and the people in the scene supplement each other making the scene complete. The imagery used adds to the auditive pleasures of the audience and creates the feeling of a higher class in society. The violence and rage add to the excitement, and the oxymorons and religious references used by both Romeo and Juliet add to the romantic atmosphere of the audience.