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    Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet Essay

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    In this essay I will be focusing on act four scenes one, two, three and four of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ This section of the play is highly significant, several major issues are raised which have an enormous impact on the whole play. Throughout these scenes we also learn alot about the characters and how they deal with and overcome their difficulties. I will study each scene individually pinpointing various themes and concentrating on moments of dramatic tension.

    Leading up to act four the story so far is; Romeo Montague has met and fallen in love with Juliet Capulet. This relationship is forbidden to both the sets of parents, Romeo and Juliet are ‘starcrossed lovers.’ However Lord and Lady Capulet have some delightful news, a relation to the Prince of Verona, Paris, wants to marry Juliet. Juliet’s parents together try their best to persuade Juliet to marry him and want the wedding as soon as possible, unbeknown to them Juliet is secretly married to their enemy’s son, Romeo, by Friar Lawrence. As the result from a gory street brawl Romeo gets banished, Juliet’s cousin Tybalt brutally kills Mercutio, Romeo’s friend. Romeo and Juliet contently spend their wedding night together, but Romeo has to reluctantly leave for Mantua in the morning. Juliet trys to persuade him to stay “Wilt thou be gone? It is not yet near day.” Romeo has to go. Juliet’s mother confronts Juliet and orders her to marry Paris, Juliet is appalled and refuses to do so. Lord Capulet is infuriated on hearing the news of Juliets rejection to marry Paris and threatens to disown her if she continues to disobey him. The scene turns nasty and gains a high climax as the Nurse interrupts and defends Juliet. At the end of act three Juliet is frustrated, already a married woman she decides to seek Friar Lawrences aid.

    Act four begins with Paris visiting Friar Lawrence about his wedding arrangements. Paris comes across as a pleasant, courteous young man, who is certainly fond of Juliet. He thinks he’s being thoughtful and helpful in trying to forward his marriage to Juliet, as he believes she is grieving for Tybalt and wishes to marry her soon, Lord Capulet has faith this will ease her sorrow. Juliet arrives at Friar Lawrence’s cell feeling terrified but showing great composure. She has a tremendous amount of bother on her mind, she visits him to try to resolve her problems, instead Paris is there unexpectedly, him being the reason she has gone to see Friar Lawrence. There is dramatic conflict, its the first time Juliet and Paris have been together. Paris is genuinely overjoyed and pleased to see her. He cheerfully greets her with hope she will soon be his wife.

    Friar Lawrence announces he needs time alone with anxious Juliet, there confidential conversation is now delayed. There is little polite conversation (through gritted teeth from Juliet) and Paris leaves saying “God shield I should disturb devotion!” and blows her a kiss. In this scene it is plain to see that Juliet is very apprehensive and dreadfully worried about the position she is in, Shakespeare makes this known to us by allowing Paris to appear in the opening of this scene causing dramatic tension. Juliet’s true character is revealed in this scene she is learning to deceive by using words to disguise rather than to inform. She craftily holds Paris at a distance with some of her remarks, “That may be sir, when I may be a wife.”

    Juliet is then left alone with Friar Lawrence to discuss her options, she threatens to kill herself if she has to marry Paris. Although Friar Lawrence obviously couldnt let this happen. He is in the wrong, he has married Juliet, a child of fourteen without parent’s consent. At the time he believed he was doing the right thing, but now he realises what he did was wrong and he has to think of a way out of his mess. So using his knowledge of herbs and drugs he devises a plan to reunite Juliet with her husband Romeo and ruin any future between her and Paris, although he did not think this through thoroughly. If the plan is successful it will eventually reveal his own complicity, if Romeo arrives in time to collect Juliet and take her back to Mantua, the subsequent explantions would have no doubt in involving Friar Lawrence. He overlooks this point and gives her a powerful drug which she must take the night before her wedding with Paris. The drug will make Juliet seem dead, its effects will last up to forty-two hours. In detail he explains to her that he will write to Romeo to tell him whats happening, and will arrange for him to be in the tomb where Juliet will lye for when she awakes and he will then take her back with him to Mantua. In desperation Juliet accepts Friar Lawrences plan.

    There is dramatic contrast, from Juliet’s desperate talk with the family’s priest to her arriving home. She returns to unnecessary hustle and bustle at the Capulet household. Her father is busy directing the domestic wedding arrangements. Juliet puts on a brave face and so appears calm, she is very apologetic towards her father for her previous disobedience. She then polishes up her powers of deception on her father, by telling him that she has been to see Friar Lawrence reguarding the marriage between her and Paris and now agrees for it to go ahead. Her father is immediately convinced she is feeling guilty and being loyal. He is over the moon and forwards the wedding to the following day.

    At the beginning of scene three Juliet is feeling extremely alone, she has no-one to confide in. Disheartened she sends away her mother and nurse, to prepare to drink the poison and sleep. She is filled with ghastly thoughts, ‘Will she awake in the tomb before Romeo comes?’ She is clearly terrified but the one thing that makes her finally pluck up the courage, is Romeo. She hesitates no longer, takes the drug and falls upon her bed.

    Early the following morning Lord and Lady Capulet are up bright and early preparing for the memorable day ahead, in fact Lord Capulet has been up all night. Secrets from Lord and Lady Capulets relationship are discovered in this scene, she has said in the past hes stayed up all night chasing women, now she will keep an eye on him. “But I will watch you from such watching now.” Lord Capulet enjoys organising things, the house is full of activity and he is supervising the servants as they rush about frantically. He is thrilled that he has at long last got his own way and his beloved daughter is marrying a young respectable man, Paris.

    Lord Capulet is renowned for being able to change his mind in an instant. Originally he said out of respect for Tybalt, they would have a quiet wedding but now he orders a servant to hire twenty cooks! Also at first he was against Paris marrying Juliet as she was still young but in act four he is desperate for them to marry. He becomes an ecstatic man during this scene, “Hah, let me see her” He is merry and proud. Paris is responsible for taking Juliet to the church for them to be wedd. The scene ends on a note of tension, Lord Capulet sends the Nurse to wake Juliet on the arrival of Paris but we know what she will find when she enters Juliet’s room.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet Essay. (2017, Nov 02). Retrieved from

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