The Importance of Act 1 Scene 5 of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
In this scene Romeo meets and falls in love with Juliet at her
parent's masked ball. Previous to this scene we have learnt that Romeo
is very depressed due to the fact that he thinks he is in love with
Rosaline, who does not return her love to him. This is called
unrequited love. This idea suggests to the audience that he is fickle
and typical of a love struck youth. The audience also have discovered
that there is much hatred between the Capulet and Montague families,
which also include the servants of both families, who brawl in the
The opening of the play presents a street brawl started by an instant
insult by the servants of both Capulet and Montague. The reason for
this feud lies in the history between the two families; however the
effects are very clear. Benvolio, Romeo's cousin tries to calm down
the situation and is seen to be more sensible, generally when he meets
the squabbling servants. "Put up your swords, you know not what you
We also have met the 'fiery Tybalt' who continuously looks for fights
with his enemies. When the play opens Tybalt comes into the street
brawl and starts to fight Benvolio. 'I hate the word, as I hate hell,
all Montagues, and thee'. The effect of the word 'hell' shows the
extent of his hatred. He has already called Benvolio a coward for not
wanting to fight. Therefore when the audience see how Tybalt behaves
in Act 1 Scene 5 we understand his reaction when he believes that
Romeo is behind the mask.
Capulet, head of the household is a very powerful man who expects to
be obeyed. Although he is earlier seen to be a good father, we later
see his control over his daughter Juliet when she is forced to marry
Paris. 'Or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither'. Towards the
beginning when Paris asks Capulet to marry Juliet, he says that it is
partly her choice of whom she is going to marry. Capulet advices Paris
to dance with Juliet at the 'old accustom'd feast'
The scene opens with Capulet, in good spirits, welcoming his guests to
the party. He wants everyone to enjoy themselves especially as there
will be the opportunity for Paris to acquaint himself with Juliet. He
shows his anger towards Tybalt when he discovers 'a Montague, our foe'
by telling him to ignore it.
Shakespeare's use of dramatic irony in Romeo and Juliet is very
influential. For example when the lads gatecrash at the party and
Romeo meets Juliet for the first time we know that they come from
different families and there is going to be trouble when they both
fall in love at first sight. 'I fear, too early: for my mind misgives,
some consequence yet hanging in the stars'
The other significant event is the meeting of Romeo and Juliet. Romeo
forgets his poor love of Rosaline and he...