Why Act Three Scene One is Important in Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies. The
story is set in Verona, Italy in the 16thcentury. It is about two
young lovers, each from two different feuding families - the Montagues
and the Capulets - which have a historical hatred for each other.
Shakespeare describes the lovers as “star-cross’d” – meaning that
their love for each other is blinded by the reality of the feud
between their families, as if dazzled by the stars. The play ends with
the deaths of these lovers, as well as the deaths of many other
characters throughout the play.
The first two Acts of the play have a comedic, love-story feel and
there has hardly any sign of tragedy or death. Shakespeare also uses
the first two Acts as an opportunity to introduce both the central
characters of the play and the history of the family feud. The reader
has little knowledge of the dramatic events that will unfold, nor the
tragic ending, as Shakespeare gives little hint of this.
The only place in the first two Acts where Shakespeare demonstrates
signs of violence are in Act 1 Scene 1. Shakespeare demonstrates that
even with minor characters of the play, the family feud is apparent.
Samson and Gregory are both servants to Capulet, who meet with
Abraham, a servant to Montague. They give rude gestures to each other
(“do you bite your thumb at as sir?”) and are only separated from
fighting by the entrance of Benvolio, a nephew to Montague.
In Act 3 Scene 1, Shakespeare shows us how violence can lead to the
destruction of love and life by killing the characters of Mercutio, a
friend of the Montague, and Tybalt, a Capulet. Shakespeare puts all
the characters in Act 2 Scene 1 under pressure by putting them in
situations that could result in injury or death. After Act 3 Scene 1,
the atmosphere of the play transforms dramatically into an obvious
tragedy, as from now on many characters are killed or kill themselves,
including Romeo and Juliet. This leads me to think that Act 3 Scene 1
of the play “Romeo and Juliet” is the pivotal point of the play, and
therefore one of the most important.
Shakespeare introduces us to the main characters throughout the first
two Acts and gives us insight into their personalities and
relationships with each other. Romeo is the son of Montague and
great friends with Mercutio and Benvolio. Mercutio is a kinsman to the
Prince, and a good friend of Romeo, he has a fiery temper, masked by
humour, but is provocative in his speech and behaviour. I think
Shakespeare may have named this character Mercutio because Mercutio
comes from the word Mercury. And just as mercury rises when hot, so
does Mercutio’s temper. This is highly symbolic in Act 3 Scene 1 as
the weather in this scene is stated as being...