What makes scene 4.4 in Romeo and Juliet unique is the way in which the dynamic between the public and the characters is handled. The people in the audience are put in a situation where they know more than the characters on the stage. Apart from the spectators the only other person who knows that Juliet is not actually dead, but just appears to be, is Friar Laurence. Shakespeare is well aware of the possibilities that this situation presents him with and uses them to enhance the scene and give it a second layer of meaning. He contrasts the joy of his characters in the beginning of the scene with their sadness at the end with his use of caesuras and repeated words in different types of situations.
One of the ways in which Shakespeare shows the elated mood of his characters in the beginning of the scene is word repetition: ‘Come, stir, stir, stir! The second cock hath crowed. / The curfew bell hath rung. ‘Tis three o’clock.’ (lines 3-4). The repetition of ‘stir’ increases the pace of Capulet’s speech and gives the actor playing him the possibility to do something energetic and vigorous while delivering his line. This way the language allows the actor to show the excitement that his character is feeling. Another noteworthy thing about this part of Capulet’s dialogue is that it specifies the time during which the scene takes place three times, each time more specific and accurate than the last. The use of three ways of measuring time shows that this day means a lot to Capulet and he wants to remember it as thoroughly as possible.
Another way in which Shakespeare shows the mood in Capulet’s household is through the use of caesuras in the dialogue.
CAPULET Nurse! Wife! What ho, what, Nurse I sa...
... middle of paper ...
... For though fond nature bids us all lament
Yet nature’s tears are reason’s merriment.(lines 109-110)
The heavens do lour upon you for some ill.
Move them no more by crossing their high will.(121-122)
Friar Laurence is the only character who uses rhyme in this scene. This shows that he is not worried about the situation and is sure that he can handle it. His ease of mind is represented by the rhymes that he uses.
In scene 4.4 of Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare shows the audience and the readers the aftermath of Juliet’s feigned death. Through the dialogue of his characters he contrasts Capulet’s household before and after they find out about the girl’s fate. The use of repeated words and caesuras helps the playwright build up moments of greater emotion in order to influence the spectators who otherwise know that Juliet is all right.
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