The Opening Scene of Romeo and Juliet as a Satisfactory Introduction to the Play

The Opening Scene of Romeo and Juliet as a Satisfactory Introduction to the Play

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The Opening Scene of Romeo and Juliet as a Satisfactory Introduction to the Play

I think that the opening scene of “Romeo and Juliet” is a very
satisfactory introduction to the play for many reasons. It introduces
most of the characters involved in the play including Romeo, and also
we discover the themes of the play, love and violence.

William Shakespeare gradually introduces the characters of the play to
us as it progresses. I was firstly introduced to Sampson and Gregory,
who are livery of the house of Capulet. I find out that they are
livery by what they were armed with, which was swords and bucklers.
They both gave me the impression that they were rather foolish and
foul to others. Sampson says “I strike quickly, being moved” but then
Gregory replies “But thou art not quickly moved to strike”. What
Gregory was trying to say was that Sampson is all talk and no action.
Sampson describes the house of Montague as being “dogs”. Calling them
this gives me the impression that they have no respect for other
people and only care bout themselves. Also, this part of the play is
very humorous as well as containing a lot of word play compared to
later on when there is a lot of tension and anger in the air. Sampson
states” A dog of the house shall move me to stand: I will take the
wall of any man or maid of Montague’s” He says this as if he is
superior and that he has the power to do whatever he wants.
Furthermore, he has no respect for the female members of the house of
Montague as well. “Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads;
take it in what sense thou wilt.” Explaining that he also has the
ability to take away the virginity of any female member of the
Montague’s. Later on, Abraham (who is a Montague) is introduced into
the play. Sampson says “My naked weapon is out: quarrel, I will back
thee.” What he says here is for Gregory to go and provoke the member

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of Montague, and that he will back him up afterwards. This gives me
the thought that Sampson is a coward and wants other people to do his
dirty work for him, but Gregory does not believe him and replies “How!
Turn thy back and run?” This tells me that the Capulet men do not
have trust in one an other and are rather irrational.

As Abraham approaches Sampson, Sampson provokes him by biting his
thumb. This would have obviously got on the nerves on Abraham, so he
asks him “Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?” Notice that Abraham
didn’t say this in an aggressive way, but he seemed to be very calm
and cool about it. Sampson replies “I do bite my thumb, sir?” I think
Sampson is being rather smart here, because he is not denying what he
was doing, but at the same time didn’t answer Abraham’s question.
Abraham asks him the same question for a second time, and again,
Sampson does not answer his question in the correct manner. At this
point, Shakespeare builds up tension with a series of short question
and answers. Also, you can almost sense that a battle would break
loose by all the abuse they dish out to one another. Sampson then
almost teases Abraham by saying “No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at
you, sir, but I do bit my thumb, sir.” This also tells me that Sampson
is to afraid to state what he was doing, but still continues this rude
behaviour. He then challenges Abraham which lets me know that he is a
trouble maker and likes to create arguments out of the blue. “Do you
quarrel, sir?” “Quarrel sir! No, sir” replies Abraham. This gave me
the impression that Abraham is not a trouble maker and does not
support violence. This does not board well with Sampson and he
continues to insult Abraham until he looses his temper, and the
eventually fight.

During the fighting between the Capulet and Montague, another
character by the name of Benvolio is introduced to me. He makes a
striking speech “Part, fools! Put up your swords; you know not what
you do.” This statement given by him gave me the impression that he
also is against violence, and what's more, that he is a very strong
peacemaker. Straight after Benvolio is introduced, Tybalt (Juliet’s
cousin) is brought into the play. He is literally the complete
opposite of Benvolio. As soon as he is introduced, he does not do the
right thing and try to break up the battle, but instead he goes and
challenges Benvolio. This told me straight away that he was obviously
a trouble maker and enjoys nothing more than having a fight and stir
up trouble. “What, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds? Turn
thee, Benvolio, look upon thy death” These words that came out of the
mouth of Tybalt told me one thing…all Capulets are alike. Benvolio
tries to back out of the challenge given by Tybalt and replies “I do
but keep the peace: put up thy sword, or manage it to part these men
with me.” I had also noticed that the Montagues speak in a polite and
manner full way compared to the Capulets, who have to shame on how
they speak to whomever. Tybalt replies “What, drawn, and talk of
peace! I hate the word, as I hate hell, all Montague and thee: have at
thee, coward!” This added insult to injury on Benvolio, and was sure
to push him over the edge. I noticed that it was always the Capulets
who were the challenges and the beginners of the fighting, and the
Montagues would always back out and try to calm down the situation.
The mood at this point is at a boiling point, and you could almost
feel the fighting, and it does break.

Throughout the fighting, I notice that several members of the public
join in as well. This told me that even the citizens were tired of the
feud, and wanted to put an end to it, once and for all. They also
don’t care whomever they attack, as long as they attack some one “Down
with the Capulets! Down with the Montagues!“ shouted one of the
civilians. Also as the fighting went on, Lord Capulet and Lady Capulet
are introduced. “Give my long sword, ho!” This gives me the impression
that they are as bad as their servants and also encourage fighting,
where as Lady Capulet does not want her husband to go join the battle
field and says “A crutch, a crutch! Why call you for a sword” A crutch
is given to fairly old people who have trouble and doing a certain
activity, and for Lady Capulet to say this to her husband tells me
that she thinks of her husband as and elderly man. What’s more, Lord
Montague and Lady Montague are just as bad as the Capulets; he also
encourages the fighting, just like Lord Capulet which lets me know
that they are just as bad as one another.

The Prince is introduced to me during the fighting. The Prince is like
the leader of Verona and the one who makes the decisions for the city.
He makes a huge impact with his presence and also delivers an imposing
speech. “What, ho! You men, you beasts,” Instead of calling them human
beings and people, he describes the people involved in the fighting as
animals, and their action as being animal related. This suggests that
the scenery was so horrific and vicious that it seemed as if animals
had created the chaos. “With purple fountains issuing from your veins”
I really like this comment made by the prince because purple is the
colour of royalty and pure. To describe it as coming out as fountains
tells me that it is continuous and never ending, just like the feud
between the Capulets and Montagues. The mood and atmosphere is a very
angered one for the prince, but at the same time, a very scared and
frightened one for the people, because they don’t know what their
punishment will be for their actions. The prince continues his speech.
He lets us know that this was not the first fight that broke loose in
Verona. “Three civil brawls bred of an airy word” This also tells me
that most of the fighting started from nothing “airy word”. By making
this powerful speech, the prince lets me know that he is sick and
tired of the battling and the wars going on between two families. He
finishes his statement by saying it loud and clearly “If ever you
disturb our street again, your lives shall pay the forfeit of the
piece” This comment would make some sort of impact to any human
hearing it, but it is also very ironic as well. In the end, it was the
death of Romeo and Juliet that finally brought the families and
created piece, which is very ironic.

After the Princes speech, we have a very formal and peaceful
conversation between three people, compared to before when there was
just shouting and screaming. Lord Montague says “Speak, nephew, were
you by when it began?” Note that Lord Montague is saying this very
calmly and patiently, it’s almost as if he want all the gossip of the
days latest. Benvolio then explains to Lord Montague how the carnage
began and what happened, but then suddenly, Lady Montague pops out
with “O, where is Romeo? Saw you him to-day?” This lets me know that
she is not really bothered with the violence and brutality, but more
interested about her sons where about. Also, I sensed that mood
changed dramatically here from before to a slower and relaxed pace.
She also explains that she was glad that her son was not present
during the battling, which tells me that she is also a very caring
mother. Benvolio explains to Lady Montague that Romeo was awake very
early “An hour before the worshipp’d sun” This tells me that Romeo may
not be in such a good state and that something may be not right.
Benvolio also explains that he did see Romeo but left him on his own
and didn’t want to disturb him “I, measuring his affection by my own,”
For him to say this to Lady Montague tells me that he is a true cousin
to Romeo, and would like nothing more than to see him pleased. Lord
Montague then also explains that he has also seen Romeo before dawn.
This tells me more that this problem has been going on for a long
duration and has had a huge impact on him. This changes my impression
on what kind of a person Lord Montague is. When the fighting was
taking place, he was a very vicious and madman like person, but when
it came to solving his son’s problems, he became very peaceful and
calm. I also find out that no body know any of Romeo’s problems “My
noble uncle, do you know the cause?” asks Benvolio “I neither know it
not can I learn of him” replied Lord Montague. This suggested to me
that Romeo is a bit like a closed book, you don’t anything about him.
If a doctor doesn’t know what your illness is, he cannot cure you; it
is the exact same situation here with Romeo. However, I do find out
that his father would like nothing more than to sort out this son’s
problems. “We would as willingly give cure as know” This lets me know
that not only is Lord Montague is an elderly fighter, but he is also a
loving father. During their conversation, Romeo is spotted by
Benvolio, but not brought into the play by person. As Romeo
approaches, Benvolio say “See, where he comes: so please you, step
aside; I’ll know is grievance, or be much denied” What this told me
was that Benvolio would like handle the situation and for Lord and
Lady Montague to be out of sight, this tells me a lot about Benvolio,
and that he cares a great deal about Romeo.

Romeo is introduced to the play as a bit of a romantic fool. The first
thing Benvolio say to Romeo is “Good-morrow, cousin”. He says this in
a very polite way, but I feel as if Romeo answered very rudely, he
says “Is the day so young?” He does not reply to him by saying good
morning back to Benvolio, but quickly jumps to another subject. This
also tells me that Romeo is in such a bad state, he doesn’t even know
what time of the day it is. After Benvolio gives him the time, Romeo
replies “Ay me! Sad hours seem long”. This is completely true, because
when you are having fun and enjoying yourself, time seems to fly by,
but when you got nothing to do and you’re board, time seems to drag;
this is the similar case with Romeo. Also, this part of the play is
very relaxed, compared to the beginning. There is also a lot of word
play at this stage as well “Not having that, which, having, make them
short.” says Romeo. There is also a short series of short sentences at
this point as well “In love?” “Out---““Of love?” This also gives me a
slight feeling that Benvolio is trying to put himself into Romeo’s
position to work out his crisis. Benvolio eventually figures out
Romeo’s problem by what he says, and realises its love. Benvolio then
says “Should, without eyes, see pathways to his will” He says this
trying to tell Romeo that it is not the end of the world and that
there’s plenty more fish in the sea, but again Romeo acts very rude
and replies “Where shall we dine?” This gives me the impression that
Romeo is a very bad-mannered person and just ignores any advice given
to him by anyone. I also really admire Benvolio for trying to help
Romeo, because if Romeo acted like this to me, then I would just leave
him. By saying this, Romeo does however change his way of speaking
later on in the play. When he meets Juliet, he speaks very maturely
and romantically “Thus from my lips, by thine, my sin is purged”
compared to “Where shall we dine? O me! What fray was here?” This is
more aggressive-like and impolte.
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