What does Shakespeare use to make Act One, Scene Five of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ an effective piece of drama

‘Romeo and Juliet’ is one of the most well known plays that there has ever been, and included in the play is the very famous line; ‘O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?’ These legendary plays and lines show just how excellent Shakespeare’s works are.William Shakespeare was born in 1564, died in 1616. In his lifetime he wrote thirty-seven plays in total and became a renowned playwright. ‘Romeo and Juliet’ was the second tragedy written, and it was probably written at about 1599, and was the second of his tragedies. Like all the plays of Shakespeare, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ was written for a typical Elizabethan playhouse. These theatres came about from 1576, when the first theatre was built.Before this time, plays had been performed by a group of actors (all male) who travelled from town to town, using open places, such as inn-yards, or with permission, the hall of a noble house as a theatre. Shakespeare’s own theatre the Globe was quite typical of that period. It was hexagonal in shape, with three roofed galleries that encircled an open courtyard. The stage, which was quite plain and high, projected into the yard, where the standing audience surrounded it. At the rear of the stage were two doors at either side for the entrances and exits of the actors, and above the doors was a balcony that could by used by musicians or for scenes on an upper level. Over the stage was a thatched roof supported by pillars called the ‘heavens’.It could be used to lover characters from during the play. Underneath was a space that could be used by characters ascending and descending through a trap door in the stage. The costumes and properties were kept backstage in the ‘tiring house’. There was little scenery, so the audience had to use their imagination, but the actors did dress lavishly, often wearing second hand clothes that were bestowed by rich patrons. Since the plays had no scenery, and were always acted in the afternoon Shakespeare describes the scene in detail to the audience using the characters’ speech.’Romeo and Juliet’ is a story of two “star-crossed lovers”, who fall in love at first sight, secretly married and then were suddenly separated. To get back together a magic potion is used, which simulated death, but a communication problem causes disaster. Romeo and Juliet are children of opposing families, the Montagues, and the Capulets. The families have an ancient grudge, but over the death of Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet at the end of the play, the families forget the quarrelling and become friends.It is set in Verona, Italy in the time period of the Renaissance. All of Shakespeare’s plays were based on something. In this play, Shakespeare has based it almost entirely on the poem ‘The Tragicall History of Romeus and Juliet’ by Arthur Brooke. The play is not, however, just a simple adaptation. Although it follows the plot, Shakespeare has taken bits of the poem and made whatever alterations he though fit. Also the action is speeded up only giving one night of married love, whereas the poem gives three months.The materials studied are the script of ‘Romeo and Juliet’, and Baz Luchrman’s Version on video. Act One Scene Five is an extremely important scene in the play, because without this scene Romeo would have never had met Juliet and fallen in love with her, and the play might not end in tragedy. In this scene the Capulets are having a party. Romeo sees Juliet for the first time, they kiss and fall in love, and Tybalt sees Romeo and vows he will never forget him being at the party: Later on in the play Tybalt fights Romeo, but then gets killed himself.There are three important themes from the play, which are strongly presented in this scene: Love, fate and hate. These help to increase dramatic intensity at certain points throughout the scene and keep the audience interested. The theme of love and fate appears strongly, in the fact that Romeo and Juliet kiss. This also shows that Romeo is very flirtatious. All of the themes can be captured when Romeo sees Juliet for the first time. At this moment Romeo sees Juliet and describes how “she doth teach the torches to burn bright”. This is saying that she is more beautiful than anything. Romeo uses this descriptive language because a boy would have played Juliet, in the Elizabethan period, and the audience would have had to imagine how beautiful Juliet should look. In addition, at the very same time Tybalt, a rival Capulet, sees Romeo at the party and recognises “by his voice should be a Montague”.In the video Romeo sees Juliet dancing on the dance floor from the top of some stairs while Tybalt sees Romeo from the bottom of the stairs. This gives a huge amount of dramatic intensity, by not just the fact that Romeo has just fallen in love, but also that he has been recognised by Tybalt, who absolutely despises the Montagues. At this moment it keeps the audience in suspense and they are asking whether or not Tybalt will challenge him, and get him out, and how he will meet Juliet.Shakespeare has structured this scene to keep the audience in suspense from beginning to end. The scene starts off with the audience wondering whether or not Romeo will get caught going to the rival family’s party. From here onwards the mood alternates between good and bad right the way through to the end. Next Romeo sees Juliet for the first time, this makes the audience think that they will fall in love without any further problems, but Tybalt recognises Romeo. This makes the audience think it has taken a turn for the worst and that Romeo will have to fight Tybalt, but Capulet won’t let Tybalt start it because he doesn’t want to ruin the party. This gives a huge sense of relief that everything will be okay.Then the scene climaxes, where Romeo and Juliet meet, fall in love, and kiss, but the happiness is crushed when Romeo and Juliet both find out that they are from rival families. The audience already knows it though, but it doesn’t really make an impact until Romeo and Juliet find out, and know that there may be trouble ahead. Shakespeare manipulates the mood of the scene by using this structure.Dramatic techniques are used to increase and decrease dramatic intensity and tension, to keep the audience interested, and to help to manipulate the mood of the scene. At the beginning the grandiosity of the party is created through a number of factors. At the very beginning, the servants are rushing around trying to get everything ready. This shows that the party will be huge, seen as they are struggling to get it ready in time. When all the guests enter Capulet speaks to everyone:”Welcome gentlemen. Ladies that have their toesUnplagued with corns will walk a bout with you…”Notice that Capulet speaks in verse. This shows that he is very grand, and so his party must be also. The costume also shows how grand the party is. Dramatic techniques are used especially in the parts that include Romeo and Juliet. When Romeo first sees Juliet he describes her in lots of detail. He praises her for her “beauty too rich for use” and that “Did my heart love till now?” Romeo is saying how beautiful Juliet is, and questions whether he did love before he saw her. This creates a romantic feel to the scene. In the video, when Romeo and Juliet kiss, it happens in an elevator.This gives a sense that they are in their own world, together but free from the outside. Also there is no music or other sounds, which help to give it an increased sense of dramatic intensity, and to show that it is a very special moment of the play. The use of stage directions helps to keep the scene moving, so that there aren’t any pauses. As the characters finish speaking, they move off into the party to join in with festivities. This also gives the feeling that even though the stage is still, that the focus is moving throughout the party, it’s like moving a camera across the whole party and stopping to hear what people are saying.When Tybalt leaves in a sulk the mood is lightened, because Romeo is no longer under threat from him, and so it gets the audience to focus now more on what Romeo and Juliet are doing, and not something else around them. Also, when the party ends it says, “Exeunt all except Juliet and Nurse”. This to finish off the scene, the jolly, fun atmosphere of the party has left, and now the atmosphere is less happy. This is where Juliet finds out that Romeo is a Montague. This is devastating news for Juliet, and it brings her back down to earth from the party atmosphere to really focus on how this is affecting her life. It also gets the audience to focus on it, as well.The characters are represented quite well in this scene. Each of the character’s main traits is exploited in this scene. Romeo is portrayed as flirtatious, romantic, and quite lovesick. Juliet is shown to be very romantic, love struck, and somehow ‘high’ on love. This scene brings out the horrible side of Tybalt, and how he despises the Montague family. In the video each of the characters are portrayed by the costume that they wear to the party. Juliet has an angel costume on, which shows that she is innocent, and very nice. Romeo has a knight costume on. It portrays him as the knight in shining armour, who has come to rescue Juliet.Tybalt is dressed like the devils, showing that he is evil and has many grudges, while Capulet is dresses like an emperor to show his importance, magnificence, splendour and power. These costumes help to recognise what the character is like, and whom they might like or hate. Capulet makes a speech at the beginning, welcoming the guests. This shows that he is the host, and that he is keen to get the guest in when he says “You are welcome, gentlemen. Come musicians play.” Tybalt reports that an enemy to the family is at the party, but Capulet refuses for Tybalt to get rid of him. This shows that Capulet is very proud of his reputation, and he doesn’t want to spoil it. Tybalt on the other hand doesn’t care; he just wants Romeo out.Shakespeare uses language as a way of helping to change the mood of the scene, enhancing ideas, and drawing attention to someone or something. At the very beginning, when the servants are readying for the feast they are using short sentences, and lots of exclamations. This helps to give a sense of hurry and urgency. Shakespeare uses similes to draw attention to a point. For example, when Romeo first sees Juliet he says she is “Like a rich jewel in an Ethiop’s ear”. He is using a simile to say how precious she is. It draws attention to the fact that she is so precious that nothing can match her radiance and beauty. Shakespeare also uses metaphors to increase tension. When Romeo and Juliet meet. Romeo comments “My lips two blushing pilgrims ready stand”. He is saying that his lips are pilgrims, and that they have come to worship, or kiss, Juliet.In the play Shakespeare uses three styles of writing. The main part of the play is written in lines of ten syllables, with a repeated even pattern of weak and strong ‘beats’. Shakespeare varies the rhythm to keep the play interesting. Often he changes the pattern of the ‘beats’ slightly, but also sometimes finishes not at the end of a line, but in the middle. This means the play has a rhythm, but most of the lines do not rhyme, this is blank verse. It is usually used by noble characters that are given elevated speech to show their feelings and moods. For example when Capulet is talking to Tybalt he says”Show a fair presence, and put off these frowns,An ill-beseeming semblance for a feast”This is in blank verse, as the lines don’t rhyme, and it shows he is noble. Sometimes Shakespeare uses rhymed verse, where the lines rhyme. This is often used to signal the ending of scenes, for example at the end of the scene the nurse says,”Anon, anon!Come let’s away, the strangers are all gone.”This rhyming couplet signals the end of the scene. Rhymed verse can also be used for heightened dramatical effect. For example, where Juliet finds out that Romeo is a Montague she says,”My only love sprung from my only hate,Too early seen unknown, and known too late!”This draws attention to the fact that Juliet is devastated by the news, and it emphasises her feelings. The pattern of rhymed verse is taken form a sonnet. This is popular form of love poems. Shakespeare uses this effect when the characters are talking about love. When Romeo and Juliet meet they both say sonnet. This gives the feeling that they are one, and that they are finishing lines for each other. It also gives heightened intensity and excitement, and it shows that something important is happening; they are falling in love. Characters of all ranks use prose, which is ordinary language. Mostly uneducated characters use it.It can be used for comical exchanges between characters, for plot development and for speech that lacks dramatic intensity. The nurse speaks in prose because she is quite uneducated, and fills in on some information, like the fact that Romeo is a Montague to Juliet. These techniques would appeal to the audience because it helps define ranks, and puns can be used. This would keep the audience interested and excited. This also helps the audience to feel the emotions that the audience are going through, and it helps the audience to get a vivid picture of what is happening.In conclusion I think that Act One Scene Five is a very effective piece of drama. It combines a range of techniques to capture the audience, and keep them interested throughout. The variation in language not only helps the audience to define ranks, and feel the emotions the characters are going through, but also to keep the audience interested throughout the scene and to give variation to the language. In the video, the scene is presented using modern techniques to enhance Shakespeare’s original techniques, and to update it rather. Overall it is an excellent piece of drama.

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