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"Romeo And Juliet" Explore Shakespeare's Presentation Of Act 3 Scene 1 As A Turning Point In The Play.

952 words - 4 pages

This scene and act provide the climax of the tension that has been building up throughout the play. Tension is presented first in the prologue when we are told about the death of "the star crossed lovers." Again, tension is created in Act 1 scene 1 when the Capulets and the Montagues fight in the market place. There we meet Tybalt who shows the violent hate of the feud, "I hate peace, all Montagues and you." In Act 1, scene 5 tension is stirred again when Tybalt sees Romeo at the Capulet party. "I'll not endure him," suggesting that he may be forced to now, but he will not later. Only the intervention of Lord Capulet, concerned that the hospitality rules of time will be broken and reflect badly on the Capulets, stops trouble.Benvolio and Mercutio are talking in the public square; the Capulets are about looking for trouble. It is obvious tension is brewing and Mercutio refuses to leave. Shakespeare has presented Mercutio as a joker earlier in the play; he is always laughing and teasing the others. He seems to have quite a loud personality, "nay gentle Romeo, we must have you dance." He tends to speak aloud rather than to a specific person. "You are a lover, borrow cupid's wings." These are just two of the lines by Mercutio, which show his personality. Benvolio is a peacemaker; he does not like trouble and tries to avoid it. Benvolio knows the capulets are about looking for trouble, he begs to Mercutio "let's retire," but he does not listen.Tybalt arrives with others behind him, this gives the impression he is most important, a leader. He speaks to Mercutio, "Gentlemen, good den; a word with one of you." He uses a civil respectful tone when talking to Mercutio. When Mercutio responds, "And but on word with one of us? Couple it with something; make it a word and a blow." T of the word 'blow' hints at the violence to come. Tybalt is not interested in fighting Mercutio at this pointWhen Romeo arrives, Tybalt greets him disrespectfully in contrast to the way Mercutio was greeted. Tybalt instigates trouble by calling Romeo 'a villain'. In Shakespeare's day, the word 'villain' was considered an insult and Romeo would have been expected by his friends and Tybalt to challenge in return.Mercutio is horrified when Romeo refuses Tybalts challenge and turns to challenge Tybalt himself. Honor must be defended. "Tybalt you rat catcher, will you walk?" Shakespeare's audience would have sympathized with Mercutio for defending Romeo's honour when the latter refused the challenge. Mercutio continues to provoke Tybalt through an extended catways fighting metaphor. 'King of cats'. He shows Tybalts similarity to a cat, "ay ay, a scratch." Mercutio is deliberately trying to...

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