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

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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. The dramatic climax in this play is when Romeo kills
Tybalt and as he stands there he realises he has just killed the
cousin of his wife. This scene is very central to the play as it leads
to the death of one Capulet and one Montague and it also gets Romeo
banished from the city of Verona. This moves the play on very quickly
and then leads towards the death of Romeo and Juliet as she is forced
to marry against her will so she pretends to kill herself, but then
Romeo finds her and he kills himself therefore leading to Juliet
dieing as she wakes up, finds Romeo dead and stabs herself with his
dagger.

Act 3 Scene 1 opens with Mercutio and Benvolio walking along the hot
dry streets of Verona and it contains many references to the heat like
this for example: “For now these days, is the mad blood stirring”
which is said by Benvolio which means because it Is so hot we will get
hot and bothered if we meet the. So even before they meet the Capulets
they already are hot and frustrated so meeting their enemy is the last
thing they would want. Also at the very beginning Benvolio tries to
get Mercutio to go home with him: “I pray thee, good Mercutio, let's
retire” as Benvolio knows that they probably will meet the Capulets.
At this stage of the scene the tension is probably at half stage.

When Tybalt and the Capulets arrive, Tybalt isn’t looking to fight

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Mercutio but Mercutio raises the tension by taunting Tybalt “ Make it
a word and a blow” says Mercutio which angers Tybalt as he is looking
for Romeo. Mercutio then carries on taunting, goading and spoiling for
a fight with Mercutio which eventually in turn leads to the two of
them fighting and Mercutio being killed by Tybalt behind Romeos back.

When Romeo arrives fresh from his secret marriage to Juliet there is a
sense of Dramatic Irony in his words as he talks of his love and
friendship to Tybalt: “Tybalt, the reason that I have to love thee
Doth much excuse the appertaining rage
To such a greeting: villain am I none;
Therefore farewell; I see thou know'st me not”

Tybalt takes this as though Romeo is winding him up but in fact Romeos
words are completely truthful. This angers Tybalt even more and then
that is when the violence begins.

Mercutio responds to Romeos unwillingness to fight by in turn fighting
Tybalt. When the fight begins you cannot tell if both men intend to
kill but as it goes on the tension increases more and more by every
blow. In the end as Romeo pulls away Mercutio they turn there back on
Tybalt and he stabs Mercutio around the kidney area. Then Tybalt and
the Capulets run away and Mercutio reveals he is wounded but the
Montague’s don’t think it is too serious. Mercutio then begins his
speech on how the two houses should be cursed: “A plague on both your
house” is one line from this speech and the he ends up collapsing and
dieing in front of all the Montague’s.

When Romeo realises Mercutio is dead he has so much anger towards
Tybalt so he chases him down and offers a fight. This anger is partly
in guilt as he feels it is partly his fault that Mercutio died. He
remembers one line that Mercutio said: “Why the devil came you between
us? I was hurt under your arm”. This is why he feels it was his fault.

Then the tension rises even more as Romeo fights with Tybalt and kills
him. Panic erupts and the riot is stopped by the arrival of the Prince
who wants an explanation. He says: “Where are the vile beginners of
this fray?” Benvolio explains by saying it is partly Romeos and
Tybalts fault. As Tybalt is dead the older members of the Capulet
house blame it on Romeo and demand he is punished to the prince. The
prince then banishes Romeo from the city of Verona.

The overall pace of this scene is very fast and there is very high
tension in this scene. This is mainly because two people are killed
and a huge sector of the scene is spent battling.
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