Interest and Tension in William Shakespeare's Act One of Romeo and Juliet
William Shakespeare was a famous and successful play writer who lived
in the Elizabethan times. Some of his most memorable and famous plays
were Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Twelth Night and Hamlet. He was
successful because he was able to entertain a whole range of people
from groundlings to royalty. He used a technique that would grab the
attention of anyone, his dialogue. He would use different genres like
comedy, romance, action and violence, so it would appeal to all ages
and genders. Often he would add a rude joke to lighten things up.
In the Elizabethan era it was not known for theatres such as the Globe
and Rose to use scenery, props and costumes. In most plays the
audience would not know where the scene was set, the time or the
weather, but Shakespeare would describe all of these things in the
dialogue. The audience could visualise the surroundings of the actors
better with this technique.
Humour was one of the main genres which contributed in grabbing the
audience's attention. Shakespeare uses humour before the fighting
because he wants to show the audience how the two enemies provoke each
other before the violence starts. This is effective because Sampson
and Gregory have an exchange of harsh and rude jokes, the audience now
knows that there is going to be fighting but yet are amused.
At the start of Act 1 Scene 1 Sampson and Gregory start the scene off
with humour. Sampson and Gregory start an argument over a simple
misunderstanding. Sampson says 'Gregory, on my word, we'll not carry
coals'. Gregory takes what Sampson says the wrong way and replies with
'No for then we should be colliers' this is the misunderstanding
between the friends which starts of controversy.
The character who brings laughter and entertainment is the nurse, her
characteristics are big and bold.The Nurse is a very important
character in the play of Romeo and Juliet as she is the surrogate
mother to Juliet. She acts as the messenger for Romeo and Juliet. She
provides entertainment and comedy by making jokes and bawdy comments.
The Nurse's job is to care for Juliet and to act like a surrogate
mother for Juliet. She breast fed Juliet when she was young. She is a
servant for the Capulet family, who are a very rich and powerful
family in the city of fair Verona. She has been working there for a
long time and has a strong relationship with Juliet. Juliet is also
very confident and confides in the nurse and tells her secrets.
Occasionally, the Nurse acted as a messenger for Romeo and Juliet as
it is difficult for the two lovers to meet due to their family's being
From the very first time the Nurse appears, she is bawdy and very
loud. Her bawdiness is shown in "Now my maidenhead at twelve years