In Act 1 Scene 5 there is a sense of excitement and romance but also an undercurrent of danger. Where and how are these moods created? How do they affect the audience’s feelings about the characters at this point in the play? How does this scene point towards later events in the play?
Act 1 Scene 5 begins with a frantic mood. This shows a sense of excitement. The servants are rushing around in organised chaos, preparing for Capulet’s party. This creates an active atmosphere and is continued by Capulet welcoming the guests. “Welcome gentlemen, ladies that have their toes unplagued with corns, will walk about you: ah, my mistresses, which of you all will now deny me to dance? She that makes dainty, she I’ll swear hath corns: am I come near you now?” Capulet is in a jovial mood as he jokes and encourages guests to dance. Here the audience become slightly more partial to Capulet’s character and the audience begins to see Capulet as a pleasurable gentleman.
The audience feels a sense of romance when Romeo gives his description of Juliet’s incredible beauty. “O she doth teach the torches to burn bright: it seems she hangs upon the cheek of night, as a rich jewel in an Ethiop’s ear: beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear: so she shows a snowy dove trooping with crows, as yonder lady o’er her fellows shows.” In this description Romeo announces how his love for Juliet is definite and strong. He forgets his love for Rosalind in an instant, which makes the audience question the depth of his emotion for his former lover.
The mood changes when Tybalt overhears Romeo’s words about Juliet and recognises his voice. “This by his voice should be a Montague. Fetch me my rapier boy.” Tybalt instantly asks for a sword, this is a sign of violence, which highlights Tybalt’s fiery temper. Tybalt feels Romeo is casting shame on the Capulet family: “to fleer and scorn at our solemnity.” And sees it as his duty to protect his family and “To strike him dead.”
Tybalt’s headstrong rage is abruptly halted bye his uncle, Capulet, questioning his temper. “Why how now kinsman, wherefore storm you so?” The merry host keeps his jovial mood and tolerates his nephew’s intemperate bluster, not wanting anything to spoil his grand party. Tybalt becomes even more enraged when his uncle speaks well of Romeo saying “Verona brags of him.” His uncle’s words are almost blasphemous to Tybalt, praising the son of a sworn enemy and lifelong hate. When Tybalt refuses to back down Capulet instantaneously loses his temper and shows how both himself and Tybalt are related in their temper span. Tybalt accepts defeat to his uncle’s authority, but vows revenge on Romeo. “I will withdraw, but this intrusion now seeming sweet, convert to bitt’rest gall.” This couplet ends the section with a feeling of danger and anticipation towards how Tybalt shall follow his words through.
The dangerous mood of the previous section of the scene is totally twisted. When Romeo and Juliet make acquaintance their conversation makes a sonnet. This extremely romantic tool creates an entirely different mood to the previous encounter of Capulet and Tybalt. The whole sonnet is based around the flirtation of the young couple. It holds biblical imagery “Have not saints lips and holy palmers too?” which is holy and devout, making them seem apart from the rest of the party as they create their own rhyming sonnet.
When Juliet is more than capable of responding to Romeo’s advances, the audience see how well suited the couple are, making the mood even more romantic. But the moment is short lived as the nurse interrupts. The nurse is the character that breaks the news to Romeo, telling him “Her mother is the lady of the house.” When the concept of his enemy’s daughter being his new love eventually daunts on Romeo he says “O dear account! My life is my foe’s debt.” Similarly to Romeo, Juliet expresses her feelings of deep sorrow when the nurse tells her that the man she courts with is a Montague. Juliet says, “My only love sprung from my only hate.” This sets a disappointing mood for the audience, the great taboo of love and hate changes the whole tone of the play.
Near the end of the scene Juliet’s words create an omen of her own death when she asks the nurse “Go ask him his name, if he be married, my grave is like to be my wedding bed.” This also creates a mood of anticipation, as the audience have no clue of what to make of this declaration.
The three emotions of excitement, romance and danger are all intertwined throughout the play of Romeo and Juliet. In this scene the cause dynamic effects on the audience and the rest of the play.