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Romeo and Juliet Act 3 Scene 1 Techniques

  • Date Submitted: 09/02/2010 07:13 AM
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How does Shakespeare use techniques to engage the audience in Act 3, Scene 1 of “Romeo and Juliet”?

“Romeo and Juliet” is a play by William Shakespeare, written between 1591 and 1595. In the play, there are two families locked in an endless feud- the House of Capulet and the House of Montague. However, Romeo (a Montague) and Juliet (a Capulet) fall in love, get married in secret, and die while trying to escape their families. Act 3, Scene 1 is a fight scene where Tybalt (Juliet’s cousin) fights and kills Mercutio (Relative of the prince and friend of Romeo) after Mercutio offends Tybalt. Romeo then kills Tybalt out of revenge and is banished by the Prince.

The characterisation of this scene is vital in order to make it escalate to a bloodbath. Mercutio is very joking and playful. However, he gets worked up when Tybalt offends him and attacks Romeo. Romeo enters in a peaceful and happy mood. He has just married Juliet and is still happy from that. He doesn’t fight Tybalt because he is now related to him by marriage, but can’t tell Tybalt this. However, when Tybalt kills Mercutio, he goes after Tybalt with revenge in mind. This desire for revenge is increased because Romeo believes that is his fault Mercutio died; Tybalt stabbed Mercutio as Romeo tries to break the fight up. At the start Tybalt is angry at Romeo for coming to the Capulet’s party, but talks calmly to Mercutio and asks for Romeo’s whereabouts. However after he is aggravated by Mercutio; he gets angry and fights Mercutio. In some interpretations he is surprised when he kills Mercutio; in others it seems more deliberate. He flees; Romeo chases him and exacts his revenge.

The language and wordplay Shakespeare uses helps escalate the tension and engage the audience. When Tybalt enters, Mercutio is aggressive and wants a fight. He purposely misunderstand Tybalt to annoy and offend him
“Tybalt: Mercutio, thou consortest with Romeo
Mercutio: Consort? What, does thou make us minstrels?” (3. i,...

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