How Shakespeare Gains and Holds the Audience's Attention and Interest Up to Act One Scene One of Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet is widely considered, by critics and the public alike
as one of the best romantic tragedies to date. Written by arguably the
most famous poet in British History, William Shakespeare Romeo and
Juliet is a story of two star-crossed lovers. Date of it’s publication
is much argued about, but it is agreed among most that it was between
the dates of 1594 and 1596. Shakespeare was born on the 26th of April
1564 and died on the 23rd of April 1616.
Shakespeare didn’t entirely invent the concept of Romeo and Juliet, it
was influenced heavily by a poem written by Arthur Brooks and the
poem Romeus and Juliet, but many details are altered from this and
some Characters entirely made up.
Shakespeare's plays total thirty seven, of these are Macbeth, Hamlet,
Othello and The Tempest, he wrote anything from love stories (Antony
and Cleopatra) to comedies (twelfth night) and has proved himself to
be very versatile. He has also written over a hundred and fifty
The play begins with a chorus which describes what is going to happen
within the play. This fantastic piece of poetry is known as a sonnet.
This was very risque of Shakespeare as it gave away a huge dramatic
irony that he could’ve of easily used to shock the audience. In the
prologue Shakespeare suggests that Romeo and Juliet being together is
doomed by fate, he describes them as:
On the 16th centaury many people believed that the stars governed your
fate, and therefore Shakespeare is suggesting that Romeo and Juliet
are fighting against fate.
The prologue was intended to shock the audience into listening to the
play, and fill the room with suspense at wondering how they took their
lives, and perhaps why. The audiences reaction would’ve been one of
empathy and shock towards the characters of Romeo and Juliet. They
would sympathise with their situation.
Shakespeare starts the actual play immediately introducing two
servants of the Capulet house, they are discussing what they would do
if they had the chance to fight the Montague's in battle.
“I will be cruel to the maids, I will cut of their heads....Aye the
heads of maidens or their maiden heads-”
This line suggests a large brutality towards the females of the house
of Montague. Sampson is suggesting that he would like to rape them,
and deflower their virgins. The audiences reaction would be one of
shocked humour, at this blatant sexism, that Shakespeare has
This line also has a deeper meaning and reflects in some ways upon the
later love of Romeo and Juliet. This type of sexual love is known as
bestial, which means like a beast. This cheap lustful love will
prepare the audience for the later...