Discuss the significance of Act 3 Scene 5 in the play Romeo and Juliet

The play Romeo and Juliet was written in the 1500’s by playwright William Shakespeare. It is set in Verona at around the same time. The play is based around the two families the Montagues and the Capulets and how their “ancient grudge” causes huge tragedy when the “star-crossed lovers” Romeo and Juliet meet. Act 3 scene 5 is one of the most important scenes of the entire play,as the events of this section lead up to those of the dramatic final scene.The first part of the scene opens with Romeo and Juliet having just spent their first night together as husband and wife, following the deaths of Tybalt and Mercutio.The beginning of this scene has quite a happy, peaceful tone. This is partly put across by the use of language in the scene. There is a strong use of imagery throughout this section, with references to light and dark, such as “As daylight doth a lamp. Her eyes in heaven would through the airy region stream so bright that birds would sing and think it were not night.”With the light representing Juliet’s innocence and purity and the strength of the love between them. The darkness represents the tragic surroundings of their forbidden love. However when this is interpreted literally, in this scene they on not want it to be light, because Romeo must leave at dawn. The scene in the film version shows a brightly sunlit room with white curtains and white sheets on the bed, this sets a blissful, peaceful atmosphere.The fact that the room is shown in this way puts across the innocence of the scene and Romeo and Juliet’s love. The director of this film presents the scene in this way because it puts the audience at ease to begin with, we feel happy that they are together and almost forget about the horrific ending that is soon to take place. This atmosphere changes completely when the nurse bursts in on them to warn Juliet that her mother is about to enter. Changing the blissful mood into a sudden state of panic .This creates a sharp effective contrast to tone of this section.When this happens and Romeo finally leaves, the audience is left feeling sad, because we know that this will be the last time that Romeo and Juliet see eachother and we are forced to accept their tragic end. We know this right from the beginning on the play, as the prologue tells us “A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life”. There is an effective use of dramatic irony here as the audience know more about how the play is to end than the characters do. We see hints of this irony throughout the scene, for example just after Juliet says her final goodbye to Romeo, she says “Methinks I see thee, now art so low, as one dead in the bottom of a tomb” we know at this point that Romeo and Juliet will never see eachother again. Juliet has said this and has no idea that she has foreseen Romeo’s untimely death.At the beginning of the next section, just as Lady Capulet is entering Juliet’s room, the mood of the scene becomes even more sad and moving as Juliet begins to openly display the emotion she now feels after Romeos departure. The most important use of language in this scene is the continuous use of dramatic irony, for example when Lady Capulet enters to see Juliet weeping, she thinks the reason for her sadness is her cousin Tybalts recent death. “Evermore weeping for your cousins death? What, wilt thou wash him from his grave tears?” But we know the real reason Juliet is crying is because of Romeo. Even as Juliet continues conversation on this matter with her mother, this evolves into a word game, the audience can understand the true meaning of Juliets words, but her mother does not appreciate the irony in them.The tone of this section changes dramatically when Lady Capulet reveals that it has been arranged for her daughter to marry the county Paris. Juliet becomes very angry and defiant at this point and begins to shout at her mother, refusing to marry Paris saying “He shall not make me there a joyful bride, I will not marry yet, and when I do it will be Romeo whom you know I hate rather than Paris!”.This is another example of dramatic irony, the audience knows that Juliet is already married to Romeo.The audience feels sorry for Juliet because of the situation she is now faced with, she cannot marry Paris because she is already married to Romeo so she has no choice but to but to defy her parents. We are slightly shocked at the contrast in behavior we see in Juliet, she appears innocent and pure in the first section of the scene, and now she is deliberately defying her parents. But ultimately this behavior just illustrates the impossibility of the situation Juliet is now faced with.Lady Capulet responds to Juliets anger by calling after Lord Capulet. After hearing of Juliets disobedience Lord Capulet is outraged.He thinks she is being incredibly ungrateful “Is she not proud?Doth she not count her blessed,unworthy as she is that we have wrought so worthy a gentleman to be her bridegroom”The anger that Capulet show toward his daughter at this point adds to the tone of this section,which has progressed in its level of anger and outrage.An audience watching this play today would react very differently to this section as opposed to an audience from when the play was written. People in today’s society see disobedience and teenage rebellion as a much more common thing. This kind of behavior can be a regular occurrence in families, as parents have become much less strict. An audience from five hundred years ago would react much in the same way that Juliet’s parents did. To show this kind of defiance toward your father in that society would have been seen as outrageous and incredibly ungrateful. In the eyes of Juliets father she should be proud of the fact that he has chosen such a well respected man to be her husband.Also because of the huge change in the way people perceive marriage nowadays, the thought of having your daughter marry as young as thirteen would not be seen as acceptable, yet at the time when the play was set this was seen as a normal thing. As lady Capulet says in the beginning of the play “Here in Verona ladies of esteem are already mothers, by my count I was your mother much upon these years”. Because of the huge differences in family life between the 1500s and the present day, this scene in particular would have been received and interpreted extremely differently by the two audiences.Through a large part of this section Shakespeare uses an extended metaphor to describe Juliets weeping as a storm. For example Capulet says to Juliet “Thou counterfeits a bark, a sea, a wind for still thy eyes, which I may call the sea.” This is a very effective metaphor, because it makes the audience sympathize with Juliet even more-despite the fact that her father realizes what a dramatic impact the situation has had on her, he still adds to this by threatening to disown her.After Capulet leaves, Juliet is left with her mother and the nurse to turn to. Firstly, Juliet turns to her mother for forgiveness whose reply is simply “Talk not to me, for I’ll not speak a word, do as thou wilt for I have done with thee.” This heightens the emotion felt by the audience of sympathy and sorrow toward Juliet after what has just taken place with her father. Although, like with Juliet and Capulets scene, I think that an audience of Shakespeare’s time would have probably felt resentment towards Juliet and would have agreed with the treatment she received from her parents. Whereas a modern day audience would feel sorry for Juliet, and think that the treatment she receives is harsh and out of place and even cold.In the next section of the scene Juliet is left in company of the nurse. In which we see a huge difference in the nurse when she, despite having helped Juliet cover up her relationship with Romeo tells Juliet that she should marry Paris. She completely changes her attitude towards Paris and Juliet’s relationship with Romeo. For example the nurse describes Romeo as being “a dishclout” in comparison with Paris, which completely contradicts what she told Juliet earlier on in the play. When she returns from asking Romeo if he will marry Juliet she says that Romeo is “a kind, handsome young man.”She also uses a simile at this point to describe Paris “An eagle madam, hath not so green, so quick, so fair an eye as Paris hath.” Implying that Paris is noble and worthier of her than Romeo. At this point, Juliet is absolutely horrified. Having been deserted by literally every person that she thought she could trust. Juliets reaction to the nurses suggestion is extremely calm and agreeable, much to the surprise of the audience, considering her response to her mother and father. Juliet replies in saying “well, thou hast comforted me marvelous much. Go in and tell my lady I am gone, having displeased my father, to Lawrence’ cell to make confession and be absolved.”In the last section of this scene, Juliet is left alone. This makes the scene more dramatic because, after being abandoned by everybody she is finally alone, and she reveals to the audience the way she really feels. The most effective line in this scene, I think is “I’ll to the friar to know his remedy; if all else fail, myself have power to die.” This is the last line of the scene, so the it is ended with the audience wondering what is going to happen next. This scene has huge effect on the audience watching it, the emotion and atmosphere created by this scene begins so well, but changes so dramatically and so rapidly before our eyes. It is this scene that begins the build up to the eventual, tragic death of the lovers Romeo and Juliet, and it creates so much atmosphere and suspense for its audience, it is for this reason that I think this is one of the most significant and emotional scenes of the play.

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