Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare Pre 1914 Drama / Shakespeare Assignment

At the beginning of the sixteenth, century the great art form of the Elizabethans was their drama. The Elizabethans inherited a passion for play acting form the Middle Ages and they then reinforced this by reading and translating popular work by roman play wrights.During this period plays were performed by an all male cast, using young males to play the female roles and therefore play wrights had to ensure that the audience was fully committed to watching the play. Many other problems arose whilst trying to put on a successful play in the Elizabethan era. Such as creating simple but convincing scenery, showing a night time scene during the day and trying to create an atmosphere using weather in the play when the weather was the opposite to what was being described.There were also other distractions throughout the play like thieves and people selling food amongst the already rowdy audience. Whether the playwright could overcome these problems determined the overall success of the play being performed.One of the most influential playwrights of the sixteenth century was William Shakespeare, who provided a Shakespearian audience with everything they could possibly ask for; Romance, laughter, villains, a good plot, violence and engaging storylines that the audience could relate their own problems and feelings to. Shakespeare wrote many different plays during his time as a playwright one of his most famous being the tragedy Romeo and Juliet, which is still performed approximately four hundred years since is was first written.As there were so many distractions during the Elizabethan times Shakespeare wrote a prologue in place of a modern day ‘trailer’ to give the audience viewing his plays a glimpse of what they were about to see. Prologues were generally performed by a single reader who was not part of the main play. In Romeo and Juliet the prologue takes a significant part in the play which constantly reminds the audience that ‘a pair of star cross’d’ will ‘take their lives’ and their love is set to end in tragedy as it is ‘death mark’d’. Once the prologue had been read out the audience would have had a slight insight into what they could expect form the play they had come to watch then (in most cases, depending on how interesting the play seemed) the audience would settle and concentrate on the action that was about to begin on the stage.By beginning Romeo and Juliet with a prologue William Shakespeare reveals to the audience that Romeo and Juliet’s fate is sealed from the moment they meet. However as he does not tell the audience how they die through their fated love, it keeps the audience interested in the play.Before attending the annual Capulet Ball, Romeo soliloquises about ‘ some consequence yet hanging in the stars’ and his ‘mind misgives’ that ‘ this night’s revels’ will ‘ expire the term of a despised life’ . He instinctively feels that by attending the ball his presence will finally end in his ‘untimely death’.Through the prologue the audience understands that by falling in love with Juliet and antagonising Tybalt that evening will ultimately trigger his early death, however they are helpless to intervene as his fate is already sealed in the ‘stars’. Shakespeare’s prophetic irony is effective here and the information about Romeo and Juliet’s given through Romeo’s soliloquy remind the audience that a great romance will unfold between the couple but unfortunately it will also lead to their ‘untimely’ deaths.Whilst at the Capulet ball, Tybalt overhears Romeo asking a serving man about Juliet and instantly feels that a Montague’s presence at the event is a dishonour to the Capulet family. Tybalt threatens ‘to strike’ Romeo ‘dead’ but does not ‘hold it’ as ‘a sin’, this again shows the audience Tybalts aggressive and somewhat irrational behaviour. After seeing Romeo at the Ball Tybalt consults his Uncle, Capulet, who advises him to ‘let him alone’ as ‘Verona brags of him to be a virtuous and well-govern’d youth.’Obviously Capulet doesn’t want to ‘do him disparagement’ in his own house and tells Tybalt that it is his ‘will’ to ‘show a fair presence’, however Tybalt then ignores Capulets request and even though he is his superior he arrogantly explains that he will ‘not endure him’. After seeing that his nephew ignored his first request Capulet is more forceful in his second response and tells Tybalt that Romeo ‘shall be endured’ and reminds him who the ‘master’ is. After his uncles repose Tybalt is forced to leave Romeo alone during the Capulet party. However his uncle’s treatment angers him greatly and he explains how he ‘will withdraw’ for the moment but ‘this intrusion now seeming sweet, will convert to bitt’rest gall.Through lines 76-87 Lord Capulets lines should be spoken in a persuasive but hostile manner if it to push Tybalt to seeking vengeance later on in the play.The language used by Tybalt in lines 88-91 shows that he will ‘withdraw’ his attended ‘intrusion’ but that he will not forget about the fact that a member of the Montague family, Romeo, has “gate crashed” a party meant only for Capulets and their chosen guests. As Romeo is the main protagonist in Romeo and Juliet the audience will feel and also know that he meant no harm by attending the Capulet Ball, therefore this will only ignite the audiences hated for the main antagonist Tybalt and also make them realise that even though he does not know this, Romeo has already received a death threat. During Romeo and Juliet the audience will be able to see that both Romeo and Tybalt embody an uncontrollable passion; one fore love, and the other for hate. Ironically, their embodiment of these uncontrollable passions leads to their downfalls.Before meeting at the Capulet party Romeo and Juliet’s views and attitude towards love were very different to what they were after meeting. Whilst explaining his love for Rosaline to Benvolio, Romeo uses contradictory terms such as ‘ cold fire ‘, ‘sick health’ and feather of lead , this shows that he may be confused about the way rosaline feels towards him but also about his own feelings for her. Romeo explains to Benvolio how even though Rosaline ‘shall not be hit with cupid’s arrow’ and that when she dies, she dies ‘with beauty dies her store’ he still loves her. He also tells Benvolio that he cannot forget about Rosaline and look for other women as she is so beautiful, he then goes on to emphasise this point by saying that he is ‘stricken blind cannot forget’ and ‘ her beauty serve as a note’. Although Romeo believes that what he feels for Rosaline is true love the audience can see that he actually only feels infatuation towards her as surely if he loved her he would be able to respect the fact that she intends to keep her virginity.Before meeting Romeo Juliet is very dutiful in her reply when her mother asks her how she feels about the prospect of marriage by ‘saying that it is an honour that I dream not of’ as she is still very young but she also explains that if her parents feel the time is right she will be obedient as she says ‘I’ll look to like, if looking liking move; but no more deep will I endart mine eye Than your consent gives strength to make it fly’. Juliet expects to like Count Paris as her parent believe he is a suitable choice for a husband, however she will give him no more encouragement that her parents consent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *