To What Extent Does The Opening Scene Create A Menacing Effect On The Remainder Of The Play

1154 words - 5 pages

"Romeo and Juliet", written by William Shakespeare, is the tale of two "star-crossed lovers" who must overcome many different tribulations in order to maintain a happy relationship. These troubles are primarily due to the ongoing conflict between the two households of the lovers. This family feud is very violent and at some points in the play the violence is so intense that it can become quite menacing to the audience. This menacing ambience is displayed to the audience in the exposition to the play, Act one, Scene one. This harrowing atmosphere is reflected throughout the remainder of the play. The opening scene in particular has prepared the audience for the intense violence and the extent of inner turmoil which will be unveiled in the key incidents in the play.Act One, Scene One is the exposition of the play and is one of the most important key scenes of the play. It is a long and detailed scene which presents most of the main themes to us, in particular, the conflict in the Veronese society. We are also introduced to Juliet's cousin, Tybalt, a fiery character who is filled with intense feelings of hate and resentment towards the Montague household. Tybalt ferocious character is highlighted in his first words in the play which indicate hate and disdain towards people he sees as an enemy."What, drawn and talk of peace? I hate the word,As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee.Have at thee, coward."Tybalt here has come across a fight with lower members of each; the serving staff. However, unlike Benvolio, Tybalt does not try to break apart this quarrel; he adds to the conflict by making a mockery of Benvolio for trying to make peace but also insults Benvolio's family name in order to urge him into a fight. This showed to me a very ruthless and malicious character of which appeared to the audience as a villain who could be the cause of problems to come. So it could be said that this scene gives the audience a sense of impending doom. This feeling of tragedy to come is repeated in the Prince's speech to the leaders of the two households the fight was settled. When the Price of Verona said:"If you ever disturb our streets again,Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace."He meant that if there are any more people from either household start fighting they shall be punished by execution. This made it quite obvious to the audience that more conflict would follow. Shakespeare would not have made the Prince's declaration so severe if no more conflict would follow, he did this to emphasise the disastrous effects that will come about by this conflict, leaving the audience in anticipation of violence and hostility. This gives the audience an immediate menacing feel to the play.The Balcony Scene, Act Two, Scene Two is a very important scene in that we are introduced to Romeo and Juliet's true love. However, this scene is still menacing to the audience as throughout their happiness of finding each other, there is still the threat of danger that will...

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