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Analysis Of The Prologue In The Tragedy Of Romeo And Juliet

2061 words - 8 pages

Analysis of the Prologue in The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet

William Shakespeare's classical play 'The tragedy of Romeo and Juliet'
begins with a prologue. Unlike most prologues this one is in the form
of a sonnet. Sonnets usually consist of 14 lines, the prologue of
'Romeo and Juliet' follows this structure. In this sonnet the 14 lines
are divided up into 3 sections of 4 lines and the last section is made
up of 2 lines. This sonnet uses three different methods to separate
the 4 sections from one another. The first method is that the sections
beging and end as sentences (at the end of the first 3 lines there are
commas, but at the end of the fourth line of the section there is a
full stop.) This is method is present in the first three sections. The
next method that is applied is that each new sentence begins a
different topic, moving the audience gradually through the storyline
of the play avoiding confusion. The third method that is used is the
use of rhyming couplets. These are used alternatively in the three
sections, made of 4 lines so, for example the first line would rhyme
with the third and the second with the fourth and so on. However in
the last section (lines 13 & 14) the rhyming couplets are not placed
alternatively, they are placed together. One reason for this is that
there are only 2 lines. This could also highlight the end of the
prologue.

I think that Shakespeare chose to use a sonnet, as the structure of
the prologue in this play because he had already written sonnets
previous to this so knew they would work and be sucessful. I also
think the he chose to use a sonnet is because Romeo and Juliet is
about love and this is what sonnets were used for. I think the last
reason he may have used is sonnet is that when Shakespeare wrote this
play (1600-1700) sonnets were a very popular form of poetry so people
would have wanted to come and see his play. Just as the 1997 film
'Romeo and Juliet' uses a news bulletin to present the prologue
because modern audiences are used to information being interpreted
this way, Shakespeare used a sonnet because his audience would be used
to these.

There is a stage direction just before the prologue begins, it reads
'Enter Chorus.' The job of the chorus was not to act but to go onto
the stage and read out the prologue. The chorus wasn't an actual
character in the play, just as the newsreader is not a character in
the film version. The job of the chorus (and the prologue) is to
inform the audience of the main storyline of the play, because the
play is a tragedy not a mystery so it doesn't matter if the audience
know what happens anyhow. The prologue had to stand out and gain the
audiences attention because when the play was originally acted out
there were no special effects or computer graphics. So when deaths or
fights occured in...

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