How Shakespeare Makes Act 1 Scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet Dramatically Effective
At the start of Act 1 Scene 5 the guests at the Capulets’ ball have just finishes dining and Sampson and Gregory, the two head servants, are complaining that a number of the servants, especially Potpan, are not helping to clear up: “Where’s Potpan that he helps not to take away?” Most of the servants are trying to clean up quickly because they want to have their own party later. The scene then moves on to Lord Capulet inviting all of the guests to come and dance, he is making jokes and the mood seems quite relaxed and jovial: “You are welcome, gentlemen. Come, musicians play.” This first part of the scene presents the audience with a lively, laid-back and fun atmosphere and is more light-hearted than the previous scenes. It is a complete contrast from the fighting and arguing in the first scene.
One of the ways Shakespeare makes this scene dramatically effective is the way he portrays Romeos thoughts when he first meets Juliet. Romeo uses very poetic language and appears to be a bit of a romanticist. He likens Juliet to a dove among ugly crows: “Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear, So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows” Romeo is stunned by Juliet’s beauty. It is a case of love at first sight and Romeo is smitten with Juliet after this first passing: “Did my heart love till now?” Romeos form of speech is far more poetic then Lord Capulet’s jesting language. Capulet talks in a fun, musical way whereas Romeo is very dramatic and serious about what he is saying.
On finding that Romeo is present at the Capulet ball Tybalt flies into a rage and immediately goes to tell Lord Capulet: “Uncle this is a Montague, our foe; a villain that is hither come in spite to scorn at our solemnity this night.” Tybalt is further enraged at the fact that his uncle refuses to eject Romeo from the ball and objects to Tybalt doing him any harm: “I would not for the wealth of all this town here in my house do him disparagement.” After crossing Lord Capulet and being reprimanded, Tybalt swears revenge on Romeo: “I will withdraw, but this intrusion shall, now seeming sweet, convert to bitterest gall.” The language Tybalt uses is the exact opposite of Romeo’s romantic, poetic verse. Tybalt’s language is filled with hatred and vengeance. The audience, already having witnessed his viciousness, hatred and violence...