Act One of Romeo and Juliet Essay

Act One of Romeo and Juliet Essay

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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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