William Shakespeare's Use of Death to Create Tension in Romeo and Juliet

William Shakespeare's Use of Death to Create Tension in Romeo and Juliet

Length: 1071 words (3.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
William Shakespeare's Use of Death to Create Tension in Romeo and Juliet

This essay is about how the deaths of Mercutio and Tybalt add tension
in Act 3 scene 1 in 'Romeo and Juliet' and also how the deaths affect
the audience watching. In the scenes before Act 3 scene 1 the audience
will of seen that there are two rival families, the Capulet family and
the Montague family but then Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet fall
madly in love at a ball held at the Capulet's house and they get
secretly married knowing that their families would be furious if they
ever found out about their love and this carried on into the beginning
of Act 3 scene 1 as Romeo is a part of the family with which his
wife's family is in a feud with. I will be using two film versions to
consider the effects on the audience. The two film versions are by two
different directors, Zeffirelli version which was made in 1968 and the
Baz Luhrmann version made in 1997.
In Act 3 scene 1 both films use settings, costumes, music and lighting
in different ways to show important moments in the scene. In the
Zeffirelli version it is all set in 13th century Italy and all the
buildings are made of stone type material. The buildings are placed in
such a way that there is a large courtyard which is where the fight
begins and where Mercutio dies. The costumes are all very well
tailored and look very expensive for the time that it is set in and
one family has dark coloured clothes on and the other has bright
orange clothes which shows the family they support or belong to. One
good way of adding tension to the scene is by adding music. In the
Zeffirelli version there isn't any music at the beginning of the scene
but a tiny bit of music when Mercutio dies it picks up then just
stops. The church bells go off when the Prince is talking to the
Capulet family and the Montague family when they bring the bodies to

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"William Shakespeare's Use of Death to Create Tension in Romeo and Juliet." 123HelpMe.com. 12 Dec 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=117494>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Tension Between Love and Hate in Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

- ... This helps us to understand the idea that hate was part of the social fabric. Shakespeare uses an embittered tone to show us that the Capulet despises the Montague family back;” A dog of the Montague moves me”. The derogatory language extends into the phrase “Down with the Montague’s” and “Down with the Capulet’s”. The recurrence of the word “Down” used with the name of the houses shows the disapproval of both houses amongst the civilians of Verona. Prince Escalus’ condemnation “If you ever cause disturbance again you shall pay for it with your lives.” Creates foreshadows how hate will diminish peace and creates dramatic tension, making it a crucial scene in the tragedy....   [tags: tragedy, foreshadowing, death]

Research Papers
847 words (2.4 pages)

Drama and Tension in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet Essay

- Drama and Tension in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet In 'Romeo and Juliet' drama and tension is presented throughout. In the prologue we are warned about death and misery. Shakespeare uses traditional old Elizabethan English and metaphoric language to build up tension. Shakespeare also uses dramatic pauses and action between characters to increase tension. The storyline between feuding also builds on the tension. A powerful example of drama and tension is shown in Act 3 scene 1....   [tags: Free Romeo and Juliet Essays]

Free Essays
914 words (2.6 pages)

The Tragedy Of Romeo And Juliet Essay

- Was the Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet Due to Fate and Fortune. The tragedy/romantic story of Romeo and Juliet revolves heavily on the idea of fate and fortune. In Act 3, Scene 1, Page 7 Romeo says his famous quote “Oh, I am fortune’s fool!” when regarding acknowledgement of his banishment, but was it really the fault of fortune or was it the fault of Romeo and Juliet. I believe that this was not the liability destiny but instead the decisions of characters in the story because of 3 main reasons. Romeo and Juliet have both definitely made terrible decisions revolving their love, other characters also made decisions that heavily affect the story and outcome, finally the culture and history behin...   [tags: Romeo and Juliet, Characters in Romeo and Juliet]

Research Papers
1014 words (2.9 pages)

Exploring How Shakespeare Builds Tension (Specifically Act 3 Scene 1) in Romeo and Juliet

- This tragic story of two unfortunate lovers who are in deep love but their clashing families’ threat the existence of their relationship but secretly marry and are soon diffused from each other involving a herbal potion, and soon tragedy itself breaks loose. In this essay I’m going to discuss how Shakespeare builds the tension ‘Romeo and Juliet’, specifically concentrating on act 3 scenes 1. I’m going to analyse how the character, action, plot, setting and language build tension in this scene. As well as making references and connections to the play as one piece....   [tags: romeo and juliet]

Research Papers
1651 words (4.7 pages)

William Shakespeare 's Romeo And Juliet Essay

- One can easily be influenced by foolish and impulsive desires, which can force them into bad situations. Such is the case with William Shakespeare’s The Most Excellent And Lamentable Tragedy Of Romeo and Juliet. This play is centred on two adolescents blinded by love. Moreover, the love that brought them together is ultimately what leads to their demise. Their deaths can only be blamed on themselves. This is due to the facts that they committed the mistakes of making regrettable decisions, they formed a marriage hastily and they formed a defective, sexually driven relationship....   [tags: Romeo and Juliet, Characters in Romeo and Juliet]

Research Papers
1026 words (2.9 pages)

William Shakespeare 's Romeo And Juliet Essay

- Topic: ‘A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life.’ Discuss the part fate plays in Romeo and Juliet. The classic idea of the fate that is embodied in the famous play “Romeo and Juliet” has an exceptionally crucial force, pulling the characters into an emotionally heightened state. The fate that is portrayed in the play becomes tremendously suspenseful which undoubtedly superintends the two young lovers to meet in the first place. The evident aspects of the play which unravel the role fate plays in the lives of Romeo and Juliet include the young lovers finding that they are from different families, the unfortunate death of Tybalt due to a misunderstanding and the unpredicted failure of F...   [tags: Romeo and Juliet, Characters in Romeo and Juliet]

Research Papers
1171 words (3.3 pages)

William Shakespeare 's Romeo And Juliet Essay

- Have you ever fallen in love with the wrong person. How about falling in love with your family’s worst enemy. This tragedy happened to Romeo and Juliet, two adolescents that were doomed to unhappiness since the moment they were born. Two powerful and respectable families that have had hatred for each other for so long that the reason for how their hatred began is forgotten. Romeo and Juliet were the ones who had to pay the consequences for their families’ feud. Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet adaptation is both faithful and unfaithful to mise-en-scène in the beginning, middle, and end of the scene....   [tags: Romeo and Juliet, Romeo + Juliet, Mercutio]

Research Papers
913 words (2.6 pages)

Emotional Poverty Within Material Wealth in Romeo and Juliet Essay

- Shakespeare centers Romeo and Juliet on the tension of opposing forces, including the conspicuous dichotomies of life and death, peace and war, and young and old. But Shakespeare also explores the underlying theme of emotional poverty within material wealth.             The affluence of the Capulets is apparent in the first act, when the stage is continually adomed, between scenes, for the family's banquet. First, before Juliet's initial appearance in 1.3, long crimson tapestries are unfurled from the gallery to coverthe cracked marble ofthe facade, and the bench is given an ornate cushion and the fountain a decorative cover....   [tags: Romeo and Juliet Essays]

Research Papers
1248 words (3.6 pages)

Sustained Tension in act 3 Scene 1 of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

- Sustained Tension in act 3 Scene 1 of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet Act 3 Scene 1 in Romeo and Juliet is one of the most exciting and most tensely filled scenes throughout the play. The scene is at its most exciting during the battles between Tybalt and Mercutio and Tybalt and Romeo because it is really tense as each man is trying to kill each other and it ends up with two men dying. It also makes it more exciting as they are lots of people gathered round the fight chanting and shouting....   [tags: Free Romeo and Juliet Essays]

Free Essays
581 words (1.7 pages)

William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet Essay

- William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet Dramatic Tension is the feeling established within an audience on the obstacle courses of a character within a play. It is created in many ways such as personification, speaking metaphorically, talking with alliteration etc. In Romeo and Juliet’s case dramatic tension is the feeling of tension created in the audience by the challenges faced by both of them in their efforts to stay together. Dramatic Tension is used so that the audience stays interested in the play....   [tags: Free Romeo and Juliet Essays]

Free Essays
842 words (2.4 pages)

the Prince and start arguing. The main lighting in the Zeffirelli
version is from the sun so there are lots of shadows and the faces of
both families are really pale.
The Luhrmann version has this part set on a crowded beach, and people
are in a laid back mood. Just like in the Zeffirelli version, the
Luhrmann version has one family in dark clothes and the other in
brightly coloured clothes to show what family they are part of. There
is much more of a presence with music in this version it has calm
music to begin with but then it picks up in preparation for the fight
and the beat gets a lot faster followed by a drum roll but it stops
after the fight and then thunder is heard. Echoes are used in this
version. When Romeo drops his gun after shooting Tybalt the sound of
metal crashing on the concrete ground.
As they are at the beach Luhrmann has used lighting to make it look
like the sun is blazing down on the beach but as the fight gets
underway the sun sets and a storm begins to start and it gets dark
very quickly. By making it dark Luhrmann add the feeling that
something really bad is going to happen. When Romeo goes after Tybalt
in his car the camera shot of the headlight and the fact they are
blurred shows the speed and furry of the moments from Mercutio's death
and Romeo catching up with Tybalt. As the rain begins to fall after
Romeo shoots Mercutio the light shines into Romeo's eyes as tears
begin to gather. When the police turn up the blue lights on the top of
the police cars make the raindrops glisten.
One of the main deaths is the first one to happen which is Mercutio.
Mercutio is killed at this point because it's a turning point in the
play. It gives a shock factor to the play it makes the audience
realize they are watching a tragedy not a romance anymore. Mercutio is
a likeable character and killing him makes the audience feel more
involved. Also as Romeo is central to the story and because he is
close to Mercutio the audience wants to know how Romeo is going to
react to his death. Mercutio knows he is going to die but continues to
joke. He says the line:
"And you shall find me a grave man."
He's saying they will find him dead but because he says it jokingly
they take it as him saying they will find him a serious person. In the
Zeffirelli version Mercutio says the line as a joke also he laughs
when he says it and the people around him laugh as well. In the
Luhrmann version he has both laughter and pain in his voice. His dying
words are:
"A Plague a' both your houses!
They have made worm's meat of me. I have it,
And soundly too. Your houses!"
These are very powerful and basically what he's saying is that he's
putting a curse on both the Montague's and the Capulet's houses. The
way he is putting it is the worms will eat him when he's buried in the
ground. These are very powerful things to say because he's not only
curing one family but his own family to. Luhrmann just keeps it in
wide shots but there is a close up on Mercutio's wound and his face
when you can see he is in a lot of pain. Mercutio is injured on an
old, abandoned stage but he moves onto the beach and that is where he
dies but there a storm sets in and sand begins to blow over his body.
In the Zeffirelli version an out of focus view of Romeo's face is
shown as if you are looking through Mercutio's eyes. Moments before he
dies he pulls himself to the top of some steps and as he dies he falls
down.
The second main death is that of Tybalt, who is killed in a fight with
Romeo who is seeking revenge for the death of Mercutio. The Audience
knows that something is going to happen between Romeo and Tybalt
because Romeo is feeling that his relationship with Juliet has made
him weak. We know this when Romeo says
"O sweet Juliet,
Thy beauty hath made me effeminate,
And in my temper softened valour's steel!"

If he is feeling like he is been made weak then he might do something
to try and prove to himself that he isn't weak. As Romeo catches up
with Tybalt he says to Tybalt that someone needs to pay for the death
of Mercutio. This is shown when Romeo says:
"Either thou or I, or both, must go with him."
This makes the audience feel that Romeo is really upset at the death
of Mercutio and he just wants to make sure his friend gets some
revenge. This part of the scene is portrayed differently between the
film versions. In Zeffirelli Romeo and Tybalt have a sword fight and
Romeo acts injured but Tybalt goes to attack and Romeo puts up his
sword which Tybalt runs onto. In the Luhrmann version Tybalt is shot
by Romeo but it seems a spur of the moment thing. Romeo drops the gun
after he shots Tybalt and the sound of the metal when it hits the
ground echoes. After the death of Tybalt, Benvolio urges Romeo to
leave as he fears for Romeo's life. We can see this when Benvolio says
"Romeo, away, be gone!
The citizens are up, and Tybalt slain.
Stand not amazed, the Prince will doom thee death
If thou art taken. Hence be gone, away!"
This shows the audience that Benvolio knows that something bad will
happen to Romeo if he does not leave. At the end of this scene Lady
Capulet demands that Romeo must die. We see this when she says
"I beg for justice, which thou, Prince must give:
Romeo slew Tybalt, Romeo must not live."
The effect on the audience is that they know that things are just
going to get worse for Romeo. The Prince does not order Romeo to die
but he orders that, for killing Tybalt, Romeo will be banished from
Verona. When Romeo finds out he's banished it is sort of portrayed the
same in both films. He just breaks down and worries about when he will
see Juliet next. At this point the audience feels so sorry for Romeo
because they know it's going mess up his future with Juliet and the
whole thing is going to end up in tears.
From my personal view I think that the Luhrmann version portrayed the
tension of this scene most effectively. The whole point of this scene
is to give the whole thing a turning point and makes the story change
from a romantic to a tragedy. If this scene wasn't in then I don't
think 'Romeo and Juliet' wouldn't be as well known as it is, because
it wouldn't have the same sad ending.
Return to 123HelpMe.com