How Shakespeare Engages The Audience in "Romeo and Juliet"

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In the tremendous play of ‘Romeo & Juliet’, Shakespeare’s ways engages the audience straight away. The astounding methods he uses hooks the audience into the play and allows them to read on, wondering what will happen. The tragic love story of Romeo & Juliet, as mentioned in the prologue, sets a variety of themes throughout Act 1 Scene 5. Many of the recognisable themes are: youth and age, revenge, forbidden love, fate, action and hate. The main idea of the play is a feud that had been going on between two families, The ‘Montagues and Capulets’, the son of the Montagues and the daughter of the Capulets fall in love and the story tells us how tragic, death, happiness and revenge find them throughout the play.

Originally, the story of Romeo & Juliet was a poem written in 1562 by Arthur Brooke and was called ‘Romeus and Juliet’. Shakespeare based it on this poem by adding more characters such as Benvolio, Mercutio and adding more events such as the Capulet Ball. The poem had taken place in nine months, and Shakespeare changed it to four days to make it more dramatic. Shakespeare took the choice of setting this tragic love story in Italy because in the Elizabethan times, Italy was known as a romantic, wealthy country where people were passionate but also hot-headed and fought a lot. Reputation was a very big deal in the Elizabethan times and that was few of many reasons why Shakespeare had set the play in Italy. As well as reputation, there was a huge deal of parental influences. Children had to marry who their parents selected and found most suitable for them. Shakespeare was very against this, and with all his work, he wanted to get his attitude across.

Before Romeo and Juliet meet, the audience is aware of what sort of families...

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...des her love for Romeo, even from the Nurse. There is a high amount of uncertainty because the audience fear for Romeo and Juliet if their parents found out. Or will their love continue even though they now know that they are enemies.

In conclusion, Shakespeare successfully manages to make Act 1 Scene 5 very dramatic because of the language he uses for the characters, and the contrasting he makes between the characters creates a huge amount of drama holding the audiences interest throughout the whole scene. This scene is very much crucial to the rest of the play because the sonnet form, religious imagery, historical context, dramatic irony and how tension is sustained stands out from the rest of the play, Shakespeare manage to bombard all these effective dramatic devices into only one scene keeping the audience impressed and satisfied throughout the whole thing.
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