Act One of Romeo and Juliet

1785 Words8 Pages
Act One immediately engages the audience. Do you agree with this

statement? How does Shakespeare achieve this?

Act One of 'Romeo and Juliet' by William Shakespeare does indeed

immediately engage the audience. Shakespeare does this by using

several language techniques to create an interesting opening scene.

Shakespeare uses humour, action and romance all in Act One and it is

this variation that keeps the audience's attention.

The play begins with a prologue that is written in the form of a

sonnet. The Prologue gives a summary of the play but does not give

away too much of the plot, in order to keep the suspense. Shakespeare

tells of the great tragedy that will follow. The sonnet form is used

because it is more interesting when performed on stage than simple

prose. Shakespeare uses clever language in the Prologue to build

suspense. For example, on line four he writes, 'From ancient grudge

break new mutiny.' 'Ancient grudge' suggests that the disagreement

between the Montague and Capulet families has been going on for a very

long time and the mutual hatred between them has grown stronger and

stronger. The word 'mutiny' is used to mean a sudden outburst of

violence, which suggests there will be an exciting, action-packed

scene somewhere in the play. Then, on lines six and seven, Shakespeare

writes about the 'misadventured piteous overthrows' of the 'pair of

star-crossed lovers'. He uses this to suggest there will be several

unfortunate tragic accidents involving Romeo and Juliet throughout the

play. Furthermore, on line twelve of the sonnet, Shakespeare writes

that the play will be 'the two hours' traffic of our stage', meaning

that the play will last two hours which will not be long enough to

bore the au...

... middle of paper ...

...says. Then finally, they ask each other if they should

kiss. They kiss twice but are then interrupted by the Nurse. It is at

this point that the couple find out that they come from different

sides of the rift between the two households and the audience realise

the problem the two lovers face.

Act One does immediately engage the audience due to the variety that

it contains. Shakespeare uses humour, in particular sexual innuendo,

to great effect. The act full of exciting speeches, especially

Mercutio's entertaining explanation of 'Queen Mab'. Also, he uses

fight scenes for moments of action. There is also lots of emotion

displayed by the characters, like Romeo's depression and love-sickness

while pining for Rosaline in the opening scene. Shakespeare creates an

intriguing opening act that grabs the audience's attention and keeps

it well into the next acts.
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