Drama and Tension in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Drama and Tension in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

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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. In
the scene Mercutio and Benvolio are lazying about when the capulets
come, with Tybalt approaching towards them. Tybalt asks 'Mercutio thou
consort'st with Romeo?' Mercutio reacts with shooting rage, 'Consort!
what dost thou make us minstrels ?' At this Mercutio reacts with more
rage and saysthat ' I will not budge for no mans pleasure, i' At this
point Romeo comes into the scene. Shakespeare using dramatic irony as
the audience knows that Romeo has just married Juliet. Romeo is
confronted with Tybalt, who wants to fight him because he 'gate
crashed' the party. Tybalt shows his rage by calling him a villain.
Romeo cannot hurt one of his family, he is forced to surpress his
rage. Tybalt although is very angry with Romeo for 'gate crashing' the
party. Romeo explains to Tybalt that 'Good Capulet- which name i
tender as my own; be satisfied.' Mercutio is angered by Tybalt and
challenges him to a duel. Mercutio Mocks him as 'rat-catcher,' and '
Good king of cats,'

Tybalt reacts saying 'i am for you.' At the sight of the two of them
fighting Romeo tries to stop them fighting, in that moment Tybalt
stabs Mercutio under Romeo's arm. Mercutio reacts, shouting 'A plague
on both your houses.' To show his courage he hides his true emotion
from everyone saying 'A scratch, a scratch.' Romeo reassures Mercutio
'Courage man, the hurt cannot be much.' Mercutio explains that he will
die and that the feuding between the houses has caused his demise.
Romeo at this point feels full extent of guilt and responsibility for

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Mercutio's death. Romeo goes after Tybalt. Benvolio tries to comfort
Romeo saying 'That gallant spirit hath aspired to the clouds.' Romeo
enraged by the situation confronts Tybalt. 'Either thou, or I, or both
must go with him,' Romeo and Tybalt fight bitterly, Tybalt is left
dead. Romeo stands back in shock about what he has done. Benvolio
warns Romeo saying that he should go before he is killed. Romeo is
filled with guilt and rage, 'O, I am fortune's fool!' 'Why dost thou
stay?' and Romeo Flees.

Romeo in this scene shows many emotions. When he enters the scene we
see him, stop Mercutio and Tybalt from fighting. Due to his marriage
to Juliet, Romeo is forced to show respect to Tybalt even though he is
angered to see him. 'Doth much excuse the appertaining rage to such a
greeting.' This shows the audience that Romeo has love and respect
towards the Capulets. Romeo tries to explain to Tybalt that he never
hurt him but love him. 'And so, good Capulet, - which name I tender as
dearly as my own.' This shows true love and respect for the Capulets,
by saying that he respects as his own name. When Mercutio and Tybalt
are fighting Romeo tries to break up the fighting. Romeo is shocked
when Mercutio is stabbed. He tries to comfort him 'Courage, man; the
hurt cannot be much.' Romeo is burdened with the guilt of Mercutio's
death. 'I thought all for the best.' Romeo expresses his guilt towards
the audience; ' My very friend hath got his mortal hurt in my behalf.'
Romeo also says that the love for Juliet has made him weak. Romeo is
comforted by Benvolio, but when he sees Tybalt he is enraged. 'And
fine-eyed fury be my conduct now!' Romeo then challenges him and says
'Either thou, or I, or both must go with him.' Romeo and Tybalt battle
fiercely and Tybalt ends up dead. Romeo struck with grief and more
guilt. 'O, I am fortunes fool.' In this scene the character Romeo also
shows rage and hate after Mercutio's death. This shows the audience
that Romeo is willing to love a fellow Capulet, but not stand for the
killing of a friend.

Mercutio is a humorous and vital character, being a friend of Romeo's
he has his best interests at heart. In this scene we see him fighting
with Tybalt which later causes his demise. When Mercutio is stabbed he
curses, 'A plague on both your houses!' When Benvolio asks him are you
hurt, Mercutio hides his true pain. 'Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch,
marry 'tis enough!' Mercutio creates drama for the audience, as they
believe that he is ok and that he does not need help. He also creates
drama before the stabbing when he is taunting Tybalt. 'A plague on
both your houses.' Mercutio repeats this line portraying to the
audience, that his demise was caused by the feuding. Mercutio gives
the audience the impression that he is funny and that he is willing to
protect his friends. Mercutio is humorous as he mocks Tybalt as 'Good
king of cats' and 'Rat-catcher'

In this scene Tybalt is shown at the start with rage and anger. He
asks Mercutio if he has seen Romeo and Mercutio is up in his face
asking for a fight. Tybalt gives the audience the impression that he
is a villainous character, just out for revenge. 'Boy this shall not
excuse the injuries that thou hast done to me;' Tybalt provokes the
attack by saying, 'Thou art a villain,' cursing Romeo. He is also
ready for a fight, when Mercutio is mocking him he says, 'I am for
you.' Tybalt creates drama, as he is angry with Romeo who does not
want to fight. Tybalt creates tension between him and Mercutio when

Shakespeare uses very descriptive language and metaphors. The language
makes the speech more dramatic and powerful. 'A plague on both your
houses!' This shows how the feuding between the houses as a plague.
Shakespeare also uses language to his advantage when scenes of tension
are present. 'Ay, ay, a scratch.' This shows Mercutio hiding his true
emotion. The use of language gives greater emotion and feeling towards
the play.

This scene is important as most of the tension is built up and
released in a violent battle. This eventually shown when Mercutio
dies. Romeo filled with revenge and hatred kills Tybalt in a violent
struggle between them. Romeo is banished putting pressure on the
marriage, which did not have time to bloom. This leads to Romeo not
receiving the message about Juliet. This results in both Romeo and
Juliet dying. The tension created by the scene makes up for the
eventuality of the cruel and tragic end.

Shakespeare creates drama and tension for the audience by the use of
language, stagecraft and the plot of the story. There are all present
in the fight scene, which shows the eventuality of the scenes to come.
Shakespeare also uses the story line of feuding families and the two
loves struck children of these two families. This creates drama and
tension throughout the play leading to a tragic end.
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