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Analyzing Act 3 Scene 1 Of William Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet

1921 words - 8 pages

Analyzing Act 3 Scene 1 of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Probably the most prominent and widely-studied text in GCSE English,
Romeo and Juliet was written by William Shakespeare relatively early
in his literary career, in the late sixteenth century. During much of
the twentieth century, critics tended to belittle this play in
comparison to the four great tragedies that Shakespeare wrote in the
first decade of the seventeenth century (Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth,
and Othello). Compared to Shakespeare's more mature plays, Romeo and
Juliet appeared to lack the psychological depth and structural
complexity of his later tragedies. But over the last few decades,
scholars and critics have altered their opinions, effectively raising
the status of this play amongst Shakespeare's works, by judging Romeo
and Juliet as a work of art in its own right.

Viewed from this fresh perspective, Shakespeare's tragic drama of the
star-crossed lovers is seen to be an extraordinary work. Indeed, Romeo
and Juliet was an experimental stage piece at the time of its
composition, featuring several fundamental changes from long-standing
practices. However, it is these innovative aspects of the play that
emphasize the importance of its principal themes. These include the
antithesis between love and hate, the correlative use of a light/dark
polarity, the handling of time (as both theme and as structural
element), and the influential status given to fortune and its
expression in the dreams, omens and premonitions that foretell its
tragic conclusion.

This essay will dwell into the mind of the great playwright,
investigating the ideas, and analysing the importance behind one of
the most vital parts of the play, Act 3 Scene 1. A short synopsis of
the scene will be followed by a detailed study, which will draw a
conclusion to the importance of the scene.

Act 3 opens with Benvolio and Mercutio at a public place. Benvolio
tells Mercutio that it is a hot day (as Italian afternoons are) and
that the Capulets are out on the streets. He tells Mercutio that if
they do not go indoors, something tragic is bound to occur. Mercutio's
language and behaviour tell us that Mercutio is ignoring Benvolio and
he is looking for a fight. It is not long before Tybalt and his
comrades enter. Tybalt informs the Montagues that he wants a word with
Romeo, but Mercutio, knowing that Tybalt wants a fight with Romeo,
says that he does not know where he is. Instead he challenges Tybalt
to a duel, but Tybalt rejects. Just then, Romeo enters.

Tybalt sees Romeo and challenges him to a duel. Romeo says that he
cannot fight him, because he has to love him now, since he has married
Tybalt's cousin, Juliet. Although he doesn't say this, he hints at it
in his dialogue. Although Romeo rejects the duel, Mercutio accepts,
and they...

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