The Importance and Effectiveness of Act 3, Scene 5 in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
“Romeo and Juliet” is one of the most widely known works of
Shakespeare and is still popular today. It is one of Shakespeare’s
earliest plays and most famous tragedies. The play is set in Verona,
Italy, which is thought of as a place of love and passion.
There is no clear indication within the play of the time setting but
it seems to be around 1200 or 1300. Patriarchal society in England is
mirrored by Shakespeare in Verona and prominent themes are explored
that were common in Elizabethan England and in some cases today. This
explains that if the play had been set in modern times; the play
wouldn’t have ended as it did, as Juliet would have had choice about
which she married. Love had to be shown through language using
imagery as in Elizabethan Theatre there was only male actors.
“Romeo and Juliet” is a play about love and passion between two young
people. For many years an on-going feud between two families has
caused much disruption in Verona, Italy. Hatred between the two
lovers’ families, the Montagues and the Capulets, ends with them
killing their only two children.
I have chosen to focus on Act 3, Scene 5 as in my opinion it is the
most important scene in the play. The scene opens with Juliet saying
goodbye to Romeo, who must leave for Mantua. In the previous scene the
audience has heard the conversation between Lord Capulet and Paris
when Capulet offers Juliet’s hand in marriage to Paris. We understand
why he does this, but we are aware of many things he does not know.
We can foresee that Juliet will disagree and be unhappy with her
father’s decision. When Romeo leaves for Mantua, Lady Capulet tells
Juliet she must marry. Juliet refuses, and her father threatens her
by insisting that she either marry'’ Paris or she’ll be turned out of
the house. When Capulet urges Juliet to marry Paris, it becomes clear
that the family order, which the audience is concerned with, is
authoritarian and patriarchal. Even in the smallest social unit, the
structure of the lovers families and the tragic situation of Romeo and
Juliet leads to a solution: The lovers cannot live together the usual
way because their families would not agree with it, as regards the
feud. As today, Juliet’s father wouldn’t have been able to force her
to marry Paris.
Alone with the Nurse, Juliet asks for advice. The Nurse replies that
Juliet should marry Paris. Juliet is astounded but pretends to agree
to this advice, whilst deciding that the only person who can help her
is Friar Lawrence. At this time Juliet feels most alone in the world.
Modern audiences may wonder why Juliet doesn’t pretend to go through
with the marriage. But...