Act 1 Scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Act 1 Scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

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Act 1 Scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet is a play based on romance and tragedy. The play has
a fast pace and is set over a period of five days. It is carefully
crafted technically to create some of the most poetic scenes in the
English language. Fate plays a large part in the lives of Romeo and
Juliet and the actions other characters takes has consequences on
their fate.

Act 1 Scene 5 incorporates many of the play’s themes. It begins with
three servants preparing for an important occasion, a masked ball. We
get the impression that the servants are taking the masque ball very
seriously, and want everything to go well. Their speeches are lively
but with a sense of panic, urgency, haste and not coping. For example
“You are looked for called for, asked for and sought for, in the great
chamber”. This is short and sharp and to the point which adds to the
impression the audience gets of urgency. They get a sense that on the
surface it is graceful but very busy behind the scenes and the
Elizabethan audience would have been interested and entertained by the
humorous interaction between the servants.

As the servants exit Capulet enters. Straight away we know he is
elevated above the servants. We can tell by his language, the servants
spoke in prose whereas Capulet uses blank verse; this shows us that he
is well educated and carries a grander importance. “Welcome gentlemen,
ladies that have their toes unplagued with corns”. The language that
he uses is richer, more sophisticated than that of the servants. He
acts like the perfect host. He is very friendly and welcoming; he
becomes the jovial face of the party. He adapts his speech to suit
everyone; with the ladies he teases them into dancing; with the young
men he speaks knowingly and to the older man he reminisces. He is very
aware of how he should be speaking to everyone. He motivates the
atmosphere of celebration, appearing very generous and positive.

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His
attitude changes slightly when he talks to the servants. The audience
sees how much he wants this to run smoothly. In Elizabethan times the
audience would have really enjoyed the songs and dancing. They would
also have liked an insight into how the rich lived. It would have been
import to keep the audience interested because they demanded lively
entertainment so Shakespeare would have added in the dancing to make
sure that the audience’s attention was kept.

The mood is shifted by Romeo’s use of romantic language. He uses
imagery to show Juliet to be a rare and special creature.

“She hangs upon the cheek of night as a rich jewel in and Ethiop’s
ear.”

Suggesting her beauty shines out brightly out in the darkness that
surrounds her. The attention to detail shows the audience that Romeo
is no longer fantasizing about being in love but that he is actually
in love. He shows Juliet as being too beautiful, too valuable for the
world, that she is above the ordinary, that she brings peace, purity,
hope and love to the world, like the dove he compares her to.

“A snowy dove trooping with the crows”.

This sharp contrast between a dove, it which is seen as a symbol of
peace, and a crow, a black squawking ugly bird, shows us that Romeo
believes Juliet to stand out above the rest. We can see that Romeo
sees Juliet as a shrine and makes her something to make a pilgrimage
towards and to worship. He makes her pure and perfect and makes his
love for her a pure deep love. Before this scene we saw him use his
language mechanically, like it had been rehearsed, and cleverly but
unemotionally preapred. He played with the idea of being in love; but
now we are convinced that he has fallen in love. He uses poetic
language, images are richer and he speaks form the heart.

This romantic atmosphere is shattered when Tybalt speaks. He uses
harsh language and spits the words out.

“This by his name should be a Montague. Fetch me my rapier, boy”.

His first impulse is to kill Romeo. We see that he is an aggressive
character that is always looking for a fight. He starts to dwell on it
and feels that Romeo has come to mock them and undermine this special
occasion. The harder, sharper language that he uses shows ideas of
revenge, aggression and death.

Tybalt wants something done about this intrusion so he goes to see
Lord Capulet. Capulet, at first, is very easy going. He is even
tempered and the tone of his language is softer, he does not want to
rock the boat, he does not want that atmosphere that he has created to
be ruined. He sees himself as the leader of the family, who is very
well respected. When people disobey him he changes from an easy going
person to an aggressive man with a fiery temper

“Go to. Am I the master here or you? Go to. You’ll not endure
him”.

This shows how quickly he can change. Capulet wants the happy
atmosphere of the ball to be retained. He will let nothing destroy
it. He wants everything to go smoothly and he will not let Tybalt and
his fiery temper destroy it. After Capulet remands Tybalt he goes
back to be easy going. Tybalt is absolutely furious. He gives the
impression that everything is settled to Capulet but once he has
turned his back he changes dramatically. He says that next time he
sees Romeo, he will sought it out, fight him to death. This shows the
audience that he bears grudges and will not let things go. An
Elizabethan audience would have enjoyed the promise of a fight,
maintaining their interest and varying the pace and content of the
play.

Then the mood changes dramatically again. Romeo and Juliet meet for
the first time. They use religious imagery as they speak to each
other. This shows the importance that they regard for each other. In
Elizabethan times religion was very important, for Romeo and Juliet to
use religion to describe one another it makes their love pure and
holy.

“If I profane with my unworthiest hand. This holy shrine, the gentle
sin is this.”

This shows that Romeo sees Juliet a shrine that he has been on a
pilgrimage to find love and that he has found it in Juliet. He and
Juliet show devotion for each other. This makes their love for each
other grow; it makes it more special and shows that they truly care
for one another. Romeo makes Juliet a holy shrine, which is a rare
gift upon the Earth. This shows the audience that Romeo considers her
to be significant and reinforces what he said about when he first saw
her. When they put their two hands together to pray they pray in
devotion and this shows their pure love. When they kiss Juliet teases
him when she says

“Then my lips the sin that they have took.”

This gentle teasing, the beautiful images, soft language and the vowel
sounds drawn out gives an impression of gentleness, and makes the time
they have spent together romantic. We get the impression that they
are made for each other. The way they create a sonnet together, the
way they contribute a similar amount of lines to it when they, shows
that they are there together, that they understand one another. The
first time they meet they make poetry. They speak together and
understand each other. This shows us that they have an understanding
for each other and an ability to pick up in each others emotion. They
appear to be two halves of a whole. This romantic atmosphere is
destroyed when the nurse interrupts them. The poetry breaks down;
this is shown by a sonnet starting but is then destroyed by the
nurse. This is shown that their love is very private at the moment,
and that it is not ready to be shared with other people. This is
intrusion of the nurse is continued when she talks to Romeo. She does
not believe in love, she thinks who will marry Juliet will marry her
for her money and social status. This adds to the disturbance by the
nurse.

Disaster strikes as they both find out that they are from rival
families. Romeo finds out first. “Is she a Capulet? Oh dear
account! May life is my foe’s debt.” This shows that Romeo
understands that she is a Capulet and that he has pledged his heart to
her. The language he uses shows how distraught he is about finding
out about this. When Juliet finds out she reacts in a similar way.
“She realises that her love has come from hate. “My only love sprung
from my only hate.” The language that she uses is still poetic but
the sadness that she feels comes through. The idea of fate now is
very strong. Only after they pledge their love, they find out that
they are on different sides. Fate played a big part in their first
meeting.

Romeo and Juliet Act 1 Scene 5 is an effective piece of drama because
it has a lot different aspects. Many of the themes that are included
throughout the whole play are concentrated into this one scene. The
range of characters, the language that they use, the ideas of love,
hate, feuding, and friendliness all in one scene make it captivating
for any audience at any time.
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