Act 1 Scene 5 of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
Choose a scene from Romeo and Juliet and analyse how it contributes to
the dramatic tension and tragedy of the whole play.
William Shakespeare was born in April, 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, in
London underwent a transformation in the 16th century, with its
population and economy growing. There was a strong demand for
entertainment and many temporary theatres and stages were set up. The
first stage venue, called ‘The Theatre’ was set up in 1576 on the bank
of the Thames. This was replaced by the Globe theatre in 1599.
It is believed that some time between 1585 and 1592 Shakespeare left
Stratford for London, and joined a company of actors as a performer
and a playwright. By 1592 Shakespeare had received some recognition
for his work, though not entirely positive.
Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, a tragic drama about the ‘star
crossed lovers’ is seen as extraordinary work, and was an experimental
stage piece at its time of composition. Its references to fate, free
will and its antithesis between love and hate were all taken from
stories that had been around for hundreds of years. The story of Romeo
and Juliet came from Italy, where the cities were infamous for their
long-lasting deadly hatreds between families. The Montecci and
Capelletti families were altered to Montague and Capulet, and
Shakespeare used a Poetic English retelling of the Old Italian story
(‘The tragicall History of Romeus and Juliet’) as the inspiration for
his play. Shakespeare made one main alteration to the play- he lowered
the age of Juliet from 16 to just below 14.
At the time when Romeo and Juliet was written, theatres were for
mostly lower class, and used almost no props or costume, boys and men
played the part of women and were open to the sky. Theatre
performances were in the afternoons, because of the lack of artificial
lighting. Theatre was a predominantly male area, and although women
attended the plays they often wore masks to disguise their identity.
Verona is the setting for ‘Romeo and Juliet’, where two different
houses, Montague and Capulet, both alike in nobility and power hold a
long-standing grudge against one another. Despite this mutual hate,
the son of Montague, Romeo, sneaks into the rival family’s masque
ball, where he and Juliet, daughter of Capulet, fall instantly in
love. Unaware of each other’s name, the two share a kiss and find out
only moments later each others’ true identities.
Overcome by their love they marry in secret, having only one night
together before unfortunate circumstances lead to the banishment of
Romeo from Verona. Overcome by grief from Romeo’s banishment and
pressure from her parents to wed another man, Juliet comes into
possession of a poison that...