In my essay I will be discussing the many ways in which Shakespeare causes us to feel sympathy towards Romeo and Juliet in the final scene of the play, after a brief summary of the events previous. In the beginning, Romeo and Juliet meet each other for the first time at a party. They fall in love and eventually decide to get married. As a result of Romeo killing Tybalt for revenge, he is banished from Verona. Juliet is being forced to marry Count Paris. A plan comes about that Juliet is to be drugged which would cause her to appear dead and therefore preventing her from having to marry Paris. However Romeo fails to receive the details of the plan and thinks that she is dead. He therefore returns to Verona to pay his last respects and end his own life. This brings us to the final scene of the play.
Firstly, the setting in which Shakespeare chose to act out the final scene of the play is effective in making the atmosphere extremely tense and foreboding. Churchyards are portrayed as dark and eerie places, and from the prologue, we are thinking that something unfortunate will take place due to fate, we therefore feel sorry for Romeo as he is going to be the victim of this greater power. “I am afraid to stand alone”, this shows us how the graveyard has a petrifying affect on the characters present. This causes us to feel increased sympathy as Romeo is horribly afraid as well as in a terrible suicidal state.
Romeo’s language in Act V scene III is one of the main factors as to why we feel so much sympathy for the two lovers: “Do not interrupt me in my course”, from Romeo’s emotive language we feel sorry for him as we are made aware of his determination to resign to fate and end his own life. “Why I descend into this bed of death”, this also increases our sympathy as Romeo is confused and questions himself, why does it have to be a bed of death and not life? We feel sorry as the couple should be making new life not ending ones. Romeo’s description of death as being a vicious beast continues to make us feel sympathy towards him: “Thou womb of death gorged with the dearest morsel of the earth”, this is talking about how “thou womb of death” inside the beast, is stuffed with the “dearest morsel of the earth”, being Juliet. This figuratively means that the beast of death has consumed Juliet. “I’ll cram thee with more food!” this shows how Romeo also wants to be consumed and die in order to be joined with his love Juliet once more, this heightens our sympathy for the two. There is much dramatic irony present in the last scene when Romeo says “Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty” we feel frustrated that Romeo almost thinks that she still looks alive, which is true. We greatly sympathise for him because if he knew she wasn’t dead, both their lives could be saved.
The theme of fate in the play creates audience sympathy: “here I will set up my everlasting rest” we empathise for Romeo as we know that we willingly want to end his life....