Romeo and Juliet: English Coursework

So far we know the whole story because of the prologue at the start of the play. However, due to the tragic nature of the play and its background, the audience would forget this and believe that the play would change. Both of the “star-crossed lovers” haven’t met each other, yet. And their families, the Montagues and Capulets are in an on-going rivalry which makes it almost impossible for Romeo and Juliet to even meet, let alone fall in love. It is these obstacles, and the main themes of destiny and love, revenge and conflict.Just before Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio enter the ball, Romeo begins a soliloquy. He uses poetic language, a type of speech that differs between the characters throughout the scene and the play. Poetic language is used for characters that have a point to emphasise to the audience. Added along with the soliloquy, this allows the audience to focus solely on what Romeo says, and is a sign to say that whatever he talks about is important.It’s a line that should not be ignored, and is used by the most passionate characters like Romeo and Tybalt. In this soliloquy, Romeo speaks of death. In fact, he tells the audience that his own death will come just by entering the ball. However, he also says that his fate is in God’s hands “But he who hath steerage of my course Direct my sail!” This last line creates a feeling of mystery among the audience what will his fate be when he enters the ball? It also sets up tension for the next scene.As soon as Romeo and his friends enter the Capulet ball, the tension that was created from Romeo’s soliloquy has died down. The first parts of this scene are dominated by servants at the ball. The comical lines from the servants start to lower the tension. One moment the play is serious, next moment it’s very jolly. In Shakespeare’s times, this comical section of the play would be used to get the audience back into the play. This was done, because most of Shakespeare’s audience wasn’t educated very well, so they wouldn’t fully understand the play. After the servant’s comic contribution, the audience hears a pointless speech from a character known as Capulet.The speech from a seemingly drunk Capulet is quickly followed by Romeo’s first sight of Juliet. This is a quick peak of tension which happens a lot throughout the play. In the Marco Zefferelli film version of Romeo and Juliet, a very soft and romantic song is sung in the background to set the scene for the meeting. Another interesting technique in this film used to describe the event is a dancing circle with many party guests including Romeo and Juliet.The circle represents the inevitability of Romeo’s meeting with Juliet. He starts to describe her beauty in great detail, using his poetic language again. This means that it’s another important piece of speech. The large amount of emphasis on Juliet’s beauty is used by Shakespeare because of the time period the play was set in. Only men would be able to act on the stage, so the male version of Juliet wouldn’t look very appealing to many in the audience and they would be confused as to why Romeo wants Juliet.Phrases such as “Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear” mean that Romeo sees Juliet in some sort of divine way. She isn’t of this world. The question “Did my heart never love till now?…never saw beauty till this night” is important because it shows the audience the distinction between the love Romeo now has for Juliet and the lust that Romeo had for Rosaline. The way that Romeo delivers these lines to the audience in both film adaptations of Romeo and Juliet, the amount of conviction shown in his movements, facial expressions and speech is more than enough to tell the audience that this is true love.Soon after Romeo’s first sighting of Juliet, the audience sees Tybalt and Capulet engage in an argument over Romeo. From the previous scenes with Tybalt, it’s known that he has a temper and hates the Montague family (and those associated with them) with a fiery passion. He first warns Capulet that Romeo is at the Capulet Ball. In his first few lines, he mentions killing Romeo. Because he has come to the enemy’s party, Tybalt sees it as an invasion, an insult to his name and what it stands for, “by the stock and honour of my kin…not a sin”. However, Capulet doesn’t believe that Romeo has any ill intentions against his family at the Ball, “A bears him like a portly gentleman”. Capulet (seemingly) takes control of the situation with his plea, but this angers Tybalt more.He says “I will not endure him”. He cannot stand for Romeo to be here any longer, his rage begins to show even more in his short, yet, strong response to Capulet. The reply to Tybalt is what infuriates him the most. “You are a saucy boy!” In previous scenes, Tybalt has proven that he’s a reckless, angry young man. He likes to maintain his bad boy image. For example, his demeanour in Baz Luerrman’s version of Romeo and Juliet is very suave. In the opening fighting scene, a conversation between himself and Benvolio leads to a huge fight. However, one of the most important things he said in an angry tone of voice was “Peace…I hate the word”. So from his reckless actions, forceful angry voice, and choice of words, the audience can see that Tybalt is belligerence and hot-headedness is very strong. He has convinced himself that he is a man, therefore is.Back to Capulet, he continues to verbally attack Tybalt. In both film adaptations, Capulet’s voice becomes less gleeful and more serious. He begins to play a more paternal role towards Tybalt in this scene. Insults such as “You are a princox (insolent young man)” and “goodman boy (unmannerly child) are what Tybalt does like to be addressed as. The last and most important section to this argument is what he says to the audience. “Patience perforce with…greeting” is Tybalt expressing his emotions. He doesn’t like that fact that he can do nothing to his greatest enemy inside his own house because of Capulet’s orders. The rhyming here is important to address the audience. “I will withdraw…bitter gall”, continues to explain how Tybalt feels. He continues to say he won’t fight with Romeo right now, but eventually he will. “Sweet convert to bitter gall” means that however nice it is to have more of a reason to kill Romeo, the patience he must have to get Romeo will not be good for him.He does lot of important things with the play with these four lines. Firstly, he sets up more tension and makes the audience ask more questions, “When is Tybalt going to face off with Romeo”, “How?” etc. Secondly, he makes sure that the audience gets the message. His sudden shift to poetic language and using rhyming couplets is a stand out point to say “This is important”. And it shows the passion of the character as well, Tybalt had a passion to exact his revenge on Romeo and the audience can hear it through the little rhyme.Romeo and Juliet’s meeting is made even more interesting by Shakespeare’s use of a sonnet (a 14 line poem, in a 4-4-4-2 layout). The factors that make this so interesting and very powerful as a romantic scene are as follows. Firstly, the back and forth motion of speech. They both recite the sonnet, with a flow that adds more tension to this scene. The main theme of fate is very important here, as there’s a definite connection. The flow that these two have makes it seem as if they are one person speaking directly to the audience, they were meant to be together. Secondly, the convictions of Romeo’s speech and slight role play from both characters.The way he address Juliet, treating her as a holy object, a shrine. Evidence of this is in the lines, “If I profane with my unworthy hand”, and referring to Juliet as a “holy shrine”. He is deep in love with her, and he is chasing her. In addition to the previous points, the sonnet helps to make the audience see the side of Juliet that is playful, cheerful and what makes her so attractive to Juliet. In the Baz Luerrman film version of Romeo and Juliet, Juliet’s personality is very flirtatious, almost tempting Romeo even more with every word she says, as if Romeo’s life hanged on every word that came from Juliet. The written script is just the same, Romeo chasing the girl he desires, the he loves.As the storyline continues after the Capulet Ball, we are carried straight into the balcony scene. Romeo starts by using poetic language in relation to how in love he is with Juliet. Conversely, Juliet is doing the same but she wonders about Romeo and if she is really to love him fully. In the modernised film version of Romeo and Juliet, both of them show passion in their voice relating to each other and expressing their love; using camera shots to show the individual characters when they use their own poetic language to emphasise the points that are made respectively. The amount of effort Romeo conveys in the usage of the language is also shown in the Baz Luerrman version of the film. It is made to be read as (and seen as) a testament to the love that Romeo has for Juliet; in terms of the danger that Romeo risks as being a Montague.At the end of the balcony scene, the storylines for the conflicts to come are set. Tybalt seeks revenge on Romeo for what he sees as an invasion of “his” party, Juliet and Romeo plan to be engaged but still have to face the family rivalry barrier that prevents their relationship from being free. The next scenes will all highlight the conflicts and the tragedy aspect of the story – the common outline for stories such as Romeo and Juliet are : Setting the scene, introduce a catalyse for a change in the scene, highlight the changes from the catalyse and resolve the changes to re-establish the scene at the beginning.In terms of how we see the characters at this moment in time, Romeo is seen in the audience’s viewpoint as a heroic character, trying be the man, the protector, the “rock” for Juliet and personally believes that it’s fate that they are together and it’s fate for them to stay together and that’s the feeling that Romeo conveys to audience in the conviction of his words and the poetic language he uses when referring to, or directly addressing Juliet.The furious Tybalt in many retrospects can be seen as very similar to Romeo but plays the villain in this scenario. He doesn’t want to protect Juliet, he wants to protect his honour, his name and prove he is more than a “saucy boy”. He is convinced he is a man, and now needs to prove it by carrying out his threats onto the Montagues and Romeo. The audience however sees exactly what the character called Capulet sees; Tybalt is nothing more than an angry boy who focuses too much on how others see him – almost shallow.In conclusion, at this stage of the play, Romeo and Juliet are caught in the middle of controversy, history and rivalry which allow for the readers to become enthralled in the storyline and makes for a successful written story, and a decently made film adaptation.I have examined the dramatic impact of the Capulet Ball scene and the Balcony scene and expressed how the characters and the language used together create some of the most important moments of the play.

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