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Romeo and Juliet

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Explore the way Shakespeare presents the beginning of the relationship between Romeo and Juliet. Pay particular attention to their first meeting in Act 1 Scene 5. How does Shakespeare make this scene dramatic and interesting for the audience?

In act 1 scene 5, Shakespeare shows Romeo and Juliet are 'ill fated lovers' with their love doomed to fail. It is well established that the Montagues and the Capulets detest each other as there has been '3 civil brawls.' The 'accident feud' tells us that Romeo and Juliet's love is impossible, therefore the hatred of the two families it acts as a barrier for their love.

Romeo acts oddly at the beginning of the play. Romeo 'Shuts up his windows' and 'makes himself an artificial night'. The suggestion here is that Romeo is being isolated. Romeo avoids his friends also spends a lot of time on his own, this concerns Lady Montague and Lord Montague. At the start of the play Benvolio see Romeo walking in a 'grove and sycamore' this suggestion here is 'sycamore' is associated with prohibited love. Romeo is being abandoned as his mornings are often spent with 'deep sighs' and 'tears augmenting the fresh morning's dew' this indicates odd behaviour as he is depressed. Romeo's love Rosaline is unrequited love. Shakespeare shows that Romeo has a crush on Rosaline, but he isn't really in love with her. It is strange that Romeo barely mentions her name when he laments to Benvolio. I think Romeo is more obsessed with the idea of love than actually being in love. Shakespeare shows Romeo acting depressed through his words as he says 'O heavy lightness! Serious vanity!', therefore Romeo is speaking the opposites. Romeo is trying to show Benvolio that he is mature. This suggests that Romeo has been afflicted by an illness that the Elizabethans called 'melancholy'. Shakespeare presents Romeo as an immature person. Romeo feels that his life is over without Rosaline as he does not want to live any longer. Rosaline has 'forsworn to love,' this tells me that Rosaline has sworn not to love Romeo making him feel even more broken hearted as Romeo feels lifeless without her.

Juliet is only 13 years of age and has not yet considered marriage. Capulet says that Juliet is too young to accept married and concerns Paris telling him ' My child is yet a stranger in the world,'. When pressed by Paris, Capulet softens 'Let two more summers wither in their pride,' but Capulet encourages to see Juliet. Capulet sends his wife to do his bidding. Juliet considers it her duty 'If looking liking move' this suggests that she will obediently take a look at Paris and if this is enough to make her like him, she will consider marriage with an intention of liking him.

Romeo's life is in danger when he gatecrashes the Masked Ball. This dramatic irony takes place in act 1 scene 5.Capulet arranged the Masked Ball for Juliet and Paris to meet. Romeo visits the Ball to be cured of his crush for Rosaline. Unexpectedly Romeo and Juliet meet each other for the first time instead. When Romeo sets his eyes on Juliet he is astonished by her beauty. Romeo and Juliet's meeting is very romantic and passionate but there is real danger for Romeo in this scene as there is a great risk of them getting caught. The dramatic irony here is that Juliet has promised to be with Paris. There is real drama for the audience when hot headed Tybalt spots Romeo and furiously turns to his uncle clenching his teeth with anger and utters 'uncle, this is a Montague, our foe'. Capulet struggles to keep Tybalt's temper under control.

Romeo's language is much simpler in this scene than when he suffers 'Melancholy'. Romeo no longer talks in opposites like when he says 'cold fire, sick health!' he only did this to impress Benvolio also to sound more grown up. Perhaps this suggests that Romeo's love for Juliet is genuine also it convinces the audience that their relationship is real. Romeo's breath is taken away when he sees Juliet for the first time as Juliet is beautiful and Romeo is stunned by her beauty. Romeo's and Juliet's love will be everlasting because their love is based on religion. Romeo states 'Did my heart love till now?' This suggests that Romeo admires Juliet. Shakespeare uses light references to show Juliet's beauty for example, 'torches to burn bright!' This

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