Romeo and Juliet English Coursework

Romeo and Juliet
By William Shakespeare

Discuss how Shakespeare creates tension in Act 3, Scene 5, through his presentation of relationships between adults and children
Act 3, Scene 5 is an important scene in the play because it shows a change in relationships which greatly affects how the watching audience sees some of the major characters in the play. It is also a part of the play which greatly increases the difficulty in Romeo and Juliet’s marriage, and adds much tension, which translates on stage to entertainment. This essay aims to outline some of the ways Shakespeare uses the relationships between adults and children In order to understand why this scene is tense, we must look at what has happened in the play before our key scene, and gain some understanding of Romeo and Juliet’s awkward situation. Romeo and Juliet are from two prominent and feuding families who reside in the city of Verona, a real city in northern Italy. As far as the audience are aware, they are their parents’ only offspring, the only other ‘children’ in the family (other than nondescript ‘kinsfolk’) are Benvolio and Tybalt, cousins to Romeo and Juliet respectively. As only children, their parents are naturally protective of them – Juliet’s father, especially. Towards the beginning of the play, in Act 1, Scene 2, Paris asks Capulet for permission to marry his daughter. In Elizabethan times (when the play was written and performed), it was the job of the father to give away the daughter, as if she were a present or his property, rather than her own person. Rather than just give away his daughter to Paris, a young nobleman, kinsman to the prince, and someone who would be seen as a ‘good catch’ for a husband, he tells him: ‘But going o’er what I have said before, My child is yet a stranger in the world, She hath not seen the change of fourteen years, Let two more summers wither in their pride, Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride’ We can see from this speech that Capulet is protective of his daughter, and whilst he wants her to marry a fine man (she tells Paris to come back in to years), he doesn’t want her to grow up too quickly. It would appear that he has her best interests at heart. In the following scene, we first see the relationships between Juliet and her nurse and mother. Her mother seems somewhat out of touch with her daughter, having to ask the nurse to find her… (‘Nurse, where’s my daughter? Call her forth to me’)
Candidate Number 02145 Dan Foy 1 Landau Forte College 23329

Romeo and Juliet English Coursework
…and doesn’t seem to be able to talk to her daughter, other than through the nurse or in her presence… ‘This is the matter:--Nurse, give leave awhile, We must talk in secret:--nurse, come back again; I have remember'd me, thou's hear our counsel. Thou know'st my daughter's of a pretty age..’ However, she does appear to have some consideration for her daughter’s feelings and wishes, as she asks her what she thinks of marrying the nobleman, and to start thinking about marriage; she also makes her speech a little more personal by putting in some of her own experience (that she was a mother at the age her daughter now is): ‘Well, think of marriage now; younger than you, Here in Verona, ladies of esteem, Are made already mothers: by my count, I was your mother much upon these years’ Whereas Juliet seems to respect her mother (first referring to her as ‘Madam’ rather than, perhaps, mum or Mother), she seems to be more at ease talking to her nurse. It would appear that Juliet and her nurse have always been close… even to the point of the nurse taking over the traditional mother’s job of breastfeeding her child. She makes a reference to this in the same scene: ‘And she was wean'd,--I never shall forget it,-Of all the days of the year, upon that day: For I had then laid wormwood to my dug,’… ‘When it did taste the wormwood on the nipple Of my dug and felt it bitter, pretty fool, To see it tetchy and fall out with the dug!’ Above, the nurse talks of breastfeeding Juliet. This is, of course, very unusual in this day and age, but not quite unheard of in Elizabethan times. The fond fashion in which the nurse remembers this, however, seem to indicate that Juliet and the nurse have a strong relationship. The fact that she was breast-fed by her nurse rather than her biological mother hints that perhaps the nurse was (and is?) more of a mother to her than Lady Capulet. The nurse also seems friendlier than Lady Capulet – by saying things such as ‘A man, young lady! Lady, such a man as all the world - why, he's a man of wax’ and ‘Go, girl, seek happy nights to happy days’, she seems to be more excited about Paris’s proposition than Lady Capulet. Act 3, scene 5 in some ways seems a distorted reflection of Act 1, scenes 2 and 3. Capulet has arranged to marry Juliet off to Paris, and once again it is Lady Capulet that has the job of telling her. However, the Capulets’ stances on Juliet regarding marriage have changed. Instead of wanting to protect his daughter from an early marriage, Capulet is now the one trying to rush her into it. Likewise, her mother, rather than asking Juliet for her thoughts on the matter, is telling her what is going to happen. Juliet has just spent her wedding night with her beloved and now husband, Romeo. He has been banished to the city of Mantua for avenging the murder of his friend Mercutio. The scene starts on quite tense grounds, as Juliet has almost been caught with her lover, who is a sworn enemy of her family and faces execution if found in Verona. Simply Romeo being in the house is enough to create some tension - that Juliet is crying heightens this tension.
Candidate Number 02145 Dan Foy 2 Landau Forte College 23329

Romeo and Juliet English Coursework
Juliet’s mother shows herself to be a little insensitive by effectively telling her daughter that crying isn’t going to bring anyone back, and that it shows her to be a bit stupid: ‘Therefore, have done: some grief shows much of love; But much of grief shows still some want of wit.’ Lady Capulet then shows her ignorance of Juliet's marriage and feelings for Romeo by telling Juliet not to weep for Tybalt’s death, but that Romeo lives. Romeo is referred to as the ‘villain’ several times – this adds emphasis to the fact that the Capulets see Romeo as a bad person. Juliet mutters, aside to the audience, that she believes that Romeo and ‘villain’ are ‘many miles asunder’. This confirms to the audience that Juliet and her mother have opposing views. Lady Capulet continues, calling Romeo a ‘traitor murderer’ and threatens to send someone to Mantua to murder Romeo. The audience do not want to see Romeo be murdered, now that they can see how in love he and Juliet are. Shakespeare then very cleverly crafts a speech for Juliet that has dual meaning. ‘Indeed, I never shall be satisfied With Romeo, till I behold him--dead-Is my poor heart for a kinsman vex'd. Madam, if you could find out but a man To bear a poison, I would temper it; That Romeo should, upon receipt thereof, Soon sleep in quiet. O, how my heart abhors To hear him named, and cannot come to him. To wreak the love I bore my cousin Upon his body that slaughter'd him!’ The punctuation at the beginning can be altered to sound differently to the audience than Lady Capulet would hear it. It could be read ‘Indeed, I never shall be satisfied with Romeo, till I behold him, dead – [dead] is my poor heart for a kinsman vex’d’, where the kinsman is the slaughtered Tybalt… or ‘Indeed, I never shall be satisfied with Romeo, till I behold him. Dead is my poor heart…a kinsman vex’d’… where Romeo isn’t dead, just a kinsman (husband) vexed (in distress). She says that if she could find a poison that would let Romeo ‘sleep in quiet’, she would temper it. Whereas Lady Capulet would see this as her daughter wanting to poison Romeo and kill him, the audience may take it as her wanting to take Romeo’s troubles (i.e. their separation) away so that he can sleep peacefully at night. More observant members of the audience may also link this to the ending of the play, where Juliet temporarily poisons herself in an effort to solve her and Romeo’s problems. When Juliet says that her ‘heart abhors to hear him named, and cannot come to him. To wreak the love [she] bore [her] cousin upon his body that slaughter’d him’, her mother takes this as not being able to lay her hands upon him… but the audience obviously realises that she means that it hurts her to hear his name and not be able to be with him… perhaps even to get sexual gratification out of him. The audiences may well be shocked by these lusts that are well beyond her years – remember that she is only 13. The tension at this point would be building, as Juliet is playing a dangerous game by playing with her words like this. The indication that Juliet wants to ‘wreak her love upon him’ may also have been quite shocking… audiences of the time would not have been so exposed to such blatant references to sins of the flesh.

Candidate Number 02145

Dan Foy 3

Landau Forte College 23329

Romeo and Juliet English Coursework
When Lady Capulet declares that Juliet’s father has arranged a marriage for her in a few days, the audience may feel a quick dropping sensation in their stomachs – for they know that Juliet is already married – and therefore cannot marry Paris – and that this means that the secret marriage between Juliet and her Romeo may be discovered. She also once again shows her ignorance of Juliet’s true feelings by being under the impression that the marriage will cheer Juliet up – not make her problems worse. She uses repetition of the word ‘joy’ here to emphasise what she presumes Juliet should be feeling. Juliet strikes back with the following: ‘Now, by Saint Peter's Church and Peter too, He shall not make me there a joyful bride. I wonder at this haste; that I must wed Ere he, that should be husband, comes to woo. I pray you, tell my lord and father, madam, I will not marry yet; and, when I do, I swear, It shall be Romeo, whom you know I hate, Rather than Paris. These are news indeed!’ Juliet swears by Saint Peters Church and Peter too’ – Elizabethan audience would find this blasphemous and shocking. She also throws her mother’s term ‘a joyful bride’ back at her, and questions her parents wishes by saying to the effect of ‘I’m wondering about you’re wish to marry me off to someone who hasn’t even bothered to court me’… then downright defies them by saying that ‘I will not marry yet’. In Elizabethan times, daughters were seen as their parents’ (and especially father’s) property, so it would have been seen within Capulet’s rights (if, perhaps, a little unfair) to ‘give away’ his daughter. The last three lines of the dialogue are broken up strategically with commas, which drag out the speech and make it seem much more powerful and effective than if it was read without these breaks. The whole speech, whilst not quite being disrespectful, is defiant and directly challenges Juliet’s parents’ wishes. The audience will feel now as if the tension is coming to a peak, as society absolutely demanded that children abided by their parent’s wishes, and that even though the marriage can’t go ahead, Juliet will be punished for trying to prevent it. When Capulet enters, he appears in a fine mood, but this soon changes when his wife informs him of their daughter’s wishes. She says that she wishes ‘the fool were married to her grave’… this is the first sign of the rift created between Juliet (the younger generation) and her parents (the older generation). Capulet enquires of Juliet's motives for not marrying Paris with the following: ‘Soft! take me with you, take me with you, wife. How! will she none? doth she not give us thanks? Is she not proud? doth she not count her blest, Unworthy as she is, that we have wrought So worthy a gentleman to be her bridegroom?’ Here, Capulet shows his apparent displeasure that Juliet isn’t thankful for her father’s arranging of this marriage – saying that she should be proud and count herself as blessed – this shows Juliet and her father’s relationship as starting to waver. He also says that Paris is ‘so worthy a gentleman’, but that she is ‘unworthy’… indicating, perhaps, that he gives Paris more credit than his daughter. This shows the audience something about their true relationship and how much he values her. Bear in mind his conversation with Paris in act 1, scene 2 – where Capulet was protective of his daughter, and talked of her more like a person – whereas now he is ‘giving her away’ as if she were property.
Candidate Number 02145 Dan Foy 4 Landau Forte College 23329

Romeo and Juliet English Coursework
‘Not proud, you have; but thankful, that you have: Proud can I never be of what I hate; But thankful even for hate, that is meant love.’ As we can see, Juliet's relationship towards her father is quite different. Even though she can’t like that he's arranged a marriage for her, she still respects him and is thankful that he has arranged a wedding for her in an attempt to cheer her up – because it was meant well. This makes Juliet, the child in this scene, seem instantly more likeable to the audience – which makes anyone who tries to hurt Juliet seem less likeable. From the following person onwards, this person is Capulet: ‘How now, how now, chop-logic! What is this? 'Proud,' and 'I thank you,' and 'I thank you not;' And yet 'not proud,' mistress minion, you, Thank me no thankings, nor, proud me no prouds, But fettle your fine joints 'gainst Thursday next, To go with Paris to Saint Peter's Church, Or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither. Out, you green-sickness carrion! out, you baggage! You tallow-face!’ Capulet now starts verbally assaulting his daughter, due to her not wishing to have a marriage to a man she does not know forced upon her. After calling her illogical, he throws her own words back in her face, mocking her, telling her not to bother thanking him but just to be ready to marry Paris – because he will drag her to the church regardless. He finishes by aggressively insulting her. The way Shakespeare chooses to rapidly change Capulet’s mood like this makes Capulet appear volatile and dangerous. The audience by this point in the play have already grown to side and empathise with Juliet, so they will oppose anything that threatens her. As with Juliet’s speech, the punctuation drags out the long sentences in this block of dialogue, and makes it more powerful. The speech also starts in the iambic pentameter, which follows the rhythmic beating of your heart, but then goes out slightly towards the end… this can be seen to show that Capulet is getting more and more worked up in his determination to control his daughter and starting to lose control. Shakespeare also uses direct address (‘mistress minion, you’) to make the speech seem more direct and focused; asyndetic listing to make his list of words to throw back at Juliet appear longer; poetic word-play to make the speech more interesting; fricative alliteration, and violent verbs such as ‘drag’ to make the speech more powerful. Until this point it seems that there may be a chance for Juliet to brush the wedding aside and perhaps convince her parents to like Romeo – however, after this, there seems to be very little chance of that happening. The tenseness in the audience shifts from the state of Romeo and Juliet’s marriage to concern for Juliet’s welfare. After this outburst, Lady Capulet asks her husband if she is mad – although she doesn’t appear much of a mother, this may suggest that she holds her only daughter in higher regard than her husband does. It seems that perhaps this relationship isn’t quite as bad as it previously appeared. However, by trying to calm her husband, she may anger him further – this, coupled with the knowledge that Lady Capulet too thinks that this is perhaps getting a little out of hand, creates yet more tension. ‘Good father, I beseech you on my knees, Hear me with patience but to speak a word.
Candidate Number 02145 Dan Foy 5 Landau Forte College 23329

Romeo and Juliet English Coursework
[She kneels down]’ Juliet now pleads with her father on her knees. The audience really feel the tension now, as it seems that the relationship between Juliet and her father are coming to the point of no return. Kneeling down is also a very dramatic and meaningful gesture she is putting herself at her father’s mercy. ‘Hang thee, young baggage! disobedient wretch! I tell thee what: get thee to church o' Thursday, Or never after look me in the face: Speak not, reply not, do not answer me; My fingers itch. Wife, we scarce thought us blest That God had lent us but this only child; But now I see this one is one too much, And that we have a curse in having her: Out on her, hilding!’ It is at this point that Capulet really loses control. At this point the audience may start wondering how far Capulet will go. He makes references to her being killed (‘hang thee’), calls her a ‘disobedient wretch’, and directly threatens her – warning her never to look him in the face again if she isn’t at the church to marry Paris on Thursday. He ends by ordering her to be quiet - repetition of imperative commands are used here for emphasis. He also goes as far as saying that he wishes she had never been born – a shocking thing for him to say at his child. After Juliet has put herself at her fathers mercy by kneeling at his feet, to be cursed in such a manner is obviously a huge shock to the audience, and the tension is beginning to peak. Tension has been sustained for quite a long period of time now, and the audience will most likely be on the edges of their seats in anticipation for what will happen to Juliet and how this squabble will be resolved. Luckily, at this peak, the nurse decides to join the quarrel, siding with Juliet, whom it was mentioned that she was close to earlier. She stands up to her employer on Juliet’s behalf, and tells him that he is the one in the wrong: ‘God in heaven bless her! You are to blame, my lord, to rate her so.’ Standing up to your employer in the Elizabethan era would have been strongly discouraged and rare. That the nurse feels that defending Juliet, who is essentially just a girl she is employed to mind, is worth losing her job, tells us a lot about how strongly the nurse feels about this girl. Capulet then tells the nurse to be quiet, and dismisses her as a gossiper. The nurse changes tactics slightly and becomes more polite and diplomatic, saying that she ‘speaks no treason’ and asks him politely for permission to talk (‘may not one speak?’). Capulet, however, is still in a foul mood, so calls her a ‘mumbling fool’ and tells her to be quiet. Lady Capulet, whilst not being on Juliet’s ‘side’, speaks in her favour as she tells Capulet that he is being ‘too hot’ – showing that even though her husband’s word is law, she still cares somewhat about her daughter. There is more relationship-related friction, as now Lady Capulet puts herself in danger of antagonising her husband. Whilst this isn’t friction between adults and children, it is still tension that the audience may feel. Capulet then dives into his most intense, aggressive and fuelled speech – or, perhaps more appropriately, outburst – of the scene and perhaps even the entire play.
Candidate Number 02145 Dan Foy 6 Landau Forte College 23329

Romeo and Juliet English Coursework
‘God's bread! it makes me mad: Day, night, hour, tide, time, work, play, Alone, in company, still my care hath been To have her match'd: and having now provided A gentleman of noble parentage, Of fair demesnes, youthful, and nobly train'd, Stuff'd, as they say, with honourable parts, Proportion'd as one's thought would wish a man; And then to have a wretched puling fool, A whining mammet, in her fortune's tender, To answer 'I'll not wed; I cannot love, I am too young; I pray you, pardon me.' But, as you will not wed, I'll pardon you: Graze where you will you shall not house with me: Look to't, think on't, I do not use to jest. Thursday is near; lay hand on heart, advise: An you be mine, I'll give you to my friend; And you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets, For, by my soul, I'll ne'er acknowledge thee, Nor what is mine shall never do thee good: Trust to't, bethink you; I'll not be forsworn.’ Capulet starts off with an exclamation (‘God’s bread!’) and lists the times he’s cared for her asyndetically for impact and to draw them out. The actor could possibly raise his voice list item by list item here to build tension. He goes on to rant about how he has ‘provided her’ with a ‘gentleman of noble parentage’, and other traits so desirable in the Elizabethan era – building up Paris’s image, acting proud that he has been able to ‘catch’ this man for his daughter… almost holding him in awe, even – and then curses his daughter for suggesting that she will not marry him. He refers to Juliet – his own daughter – as a wretch and a ‘whining mammet’. He mocks her by throwing her own words back at her – somewhat childishly as many of the things she hasn’t actually said and Capulet has just presumed or exaggerated (such as ‘I cannot love’, ‘I am too young’ etc). This shows that he has little respect at her and is determined to get at her, regardless of what she has actually said. He threatens to throw her out: ‘Graze where you will you shall not house with me’ he also uses the word ‘graze’ here in place of ‘live with’, reducing her to the level of cattle - and warns her that he is not joking about this by saying ‘I do not use to jest’. He then tells her that she is his property (‘And you be mine’), and that he can use her as property as he ‘gives [her] to [his] friend’. He finalizes the raving speech with his wish that she should die or live a life of misery (‘hang, beg, starve, die in the streets’ – asyndetic listing again here, used as if Capulet’s thoughts are so fuelled that he feels he must rush to spit them out) if she disagrees with him. The audience, who side with Juliet, will by now have a deep disliking of Capulet. Juliet turns to her mother. ‘Is there no pity sitting in the clouds, That sees into the bottom of my grief? O, sweet my mother, cast me not away! Delay this marriage for a month, a week; Or, if you do not, make the bridal bed In that dim monument where Tybalt lies.’ Here Juliet wails to the heavens, before begging her mother not to disown her as her father has done. She pleads to her mother to delay the marriage for a short period of
Candidate Number 02145 Dan Foy 7 Landau Forte College 23329

Romeo and Juliet English Coursework
time – going as far as suggesting that would commit suicide. Ironically, at the end of the play, Juliet and Romeo die together in ‘a tomb belonging to the Capulets.’ The watching audience knows that she wishes to delay the marriage to give her time to think things over and sort out her marriage to Romeo – however, the audience also knows that Lady Capulet doesn’t know that this is the case, and that she probably thinks Juliet is being a little childish. However, her mother replies with: ‘Talk not to me, for I'll not speak a word: Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee.’ By refusing to talk to her daughter from that moment onwards, Lady Capulet effectively lands the fatal blow to the Capulets’ previously good stance with the audience. After Capulet tries to protect his daughter from an early, restrictive marriage, and then his wife siding somewhat with his daughter as she tried to gently calm him, their change in the face of the audience is quite remarkable. Romeo and Juliet are the ‘heroes’ and focus of the play; the older generation of the Capulets can now be seen by the audience as the villains. Juliet then turns to her nurse in desperation. Throughout the play so far, the nurse has been unwaveringly loyal to Juliet and has wanted for her only what she thinks is for the best. However, after asking for consolation and for a way to prevent the marriage, the nurse says: ‘Faith, here it is. Romeo is banish'd; and all the world to nothing, That he dares ne'er come back to challenge you; Or, if he do, it needs must be by stealth. Then, since the case so stands as now it doth, I think it best you married with the county. O, he's a lovely gentleman! Romeo's a dishclout to him: an eagle, madam, Hath not so green, so quick, so fair an eye As Paris hath. Beshrew my very heart, I think you are happy in this second match, For it excels your first: or if it did not, Your first is dead; or 'twere as good he were, As living here and you no use of him.’ Instead of her expected reply of consolation and a method of preventing the marriage and rejoining with her husband, the nurse reminds Juliet that Romeo has been banished and won’t dare come back to see her, at least not without it being in secret. She continues, saying that she believes that in the current light of things, it would be best for Juliet to marry Paris, this man who, although noble, barely knows her, if it all. She compares Romeo to a dishclout and Paris to an eagle - quite offensive and complementary comparisons respectively. Even though th e nurse is talking sense, this is not what the audience want to hear at this point. By telling Juliet that she should leave someone that the audience love for someone that her father is forcing her to marry on threats of violence makes her almost as bad has the Capulets. The next few lines of dialogue are where Juliet and the audience finally realise that it’s the younger generation versus the older generation: ‘JULIET Speakest thou from thy heart? Nurse And from my soul too;
Candidate Number 02145 Dan Foy 8 Landau Forte College 23329

Romeo and Juliet English Coursework
Or else beshrew them both. JULIET Amen! Nurse What? JULIET Well, thou hast comforted me marvellous much. Go in: and tell my lady I am gone, Having displeased my father, to Laurence' cell, To make confession and to be absolved. Nurse Marry, I will; and this is wisely done.’ After checking that the nurse truly means what she says (‘Speakest thou from thy heart?’), Juliet exclaims ‘Amen!’ What she really means is ‘so be it’… this is the point where she decides to forsake any adult advice and try and sort things out for herself. The nurse doesn’t understand, but the audience does – this reinforces the idea that the way the younger generation and audience think is now different from the way the adults think. She still has respect for her father and her religion, because she says ‘Having displeased my father’… ’make confession and to be absolved’ – or so it seems. After the nurse exits and Juliet is left alone, she makes one last emotional speech to the audience: ‘Ancient damnation! O most wicked fiend! Is it more sin to wish me thus forsworn, Or to dispraise my lord with that same tongue Which she hath praised him with above compare So many thousand times? Go, counsellor; Thou and my bosom henceforth shall be twain. I'll to the friar, to know his remedy: If all else fail, myself have power to die.’ Juliet now renounces her faith in god, saying that ‘[the nurse] and my bosom henceforth shall be twain (split apart)’. There is another suicide reference at the end of this dialogue. This increases tension back from the level it sunk to after Juliet’s parents left. Because of the actions and words of the older generation in the Capulet household, Juliet is contemplating suicide. This makes the audience angry with the adults. After this scene, Juliet goes to see the only adult left that she trusts – Friar Lawrence. He gives her a draft of sleeping potion, planning to fake her death so that she can escape and be alone with her Romeo, at least until things get straightened out. Unfortunately, Romeo doesn’t receive Lawrence's message explaining the situation to him, and thinks that Juliet is indeed dead. In his mad grief, he rushes to the Capulet family tomb to take one last look at his late wife, and meets Paris there. After a struggle, Paris is killed, and Romeo poisons himself. Juliet awakes soon after, and after dismissing the Friar who comes to offer some form of consolation, gives her Romeo one last kiss, and stabs herself with his dagger. Afterwards, Capulet, Montague, Friar Lawrence and the prince meet outside, and the
Candidate Number 02145 Dan Foy 9 Landau Forte College 23329

Romeo and Juliet English Coursework
friar reveals the story to all parties. Only at the end, after their offspring are dead, do they realise their errors. Act 3 scene 5 affects the rest of the play quite dramatically. If marriage wasn’t about to be forced upon Juliet, she wouldn’t have needed to take quite such drastic steps to reunite herself with her secret husband, and the deaths of Romeo, Paris and Juliet could all have been avoided. All that Capulet needed to do was to ask his daughter of her opinion before arranging her to be married, or for Lady Capulet to respect Juliet's wishes to delay the marriage for a month so that she could get things straightened out. In the end, the feuding families of Montague and Capulet finally settle their differences, at a price – as prince states at the end of act 5, ‘For never was a story of more woe Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.’ To put the play into context, readers must understand some things about Elizabethan society. Elizabethan society was what is known as a patriarchal society – that is, a society governed by men. Women had very little individual power or influence, and fathers were seen as the head of the household and were to be obeyed. Daughters were regarded as possessions of their fathers – something that could be ‘given away’ to a candidate that the father decrees as suitable. This would have made Juliet's arguing with her father very unorthodox and shocking – a woman, arguing with her father, the man who possessed her. Children were expected to obey adults at all time – their word was law. Adults and children didn’t have the sorts of friendly, easygoing relationships that they we enjoy today – children were to obey and not have strong opinions or an unhealthy amount of free will – both of which Juliet possesses. Religion was also a big part of Elizabethan society. Marriage was seen as a holy event and was also a big family event. For Juliet to have had a rushed wedding with very few people (and no family members) present would have been very unusual to the Elizabethan audience. The idea of suicide would also have been much more shocking to an audience in the Elizabethan era. Whereas nowadays suicide is seen as taking your own life, Elizabethans had the added shock of a woman going against gods will. Towards the beginning of the scene, Juliet expresses quite explicitly that she would like to ‘wreak her love upon Romeo’s body’. In these times, people are quite saturated with references to sex and love in the media, but at the time Shakespeare wrote this play, the topic was considered taboo. Audiences would have been shocked at Juliet’s seemingly ‘unquenchable lust’. However, the scene isn’t quite enough to repulse the audiences – it is just enough to get them excited and feel a sense of risk. I think that Shakespeare was successful in creating tension with his presentation of relationships in act 3 scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet. There is already some tension in the play, which is built upon when Lady Capulet narrowly misses catching Romeo in her daughter’s room, and Juliet dangerously plays with her wording to give it dual meanings. The relationship heightens yet more when Juliet defies her parents by stating that she will not marry the man her father has chosen for her, and reaches a peak as her father starts hurling abuse and threats at her.
Candidate Number 02145 Dan Foy 10 Landau Forte College 23329

Romeo and Juliet English Coursework
The tension drops slightly as Juliet's parents leave, and Juliet is left to be told that perhaps Paris is better match for her by her nurse, before rising again as she contemplates suicide. Although the scene would have been much more shocking to an Elizabethan audience who hadn’t been as exposed to elements of the play such as suicide, lust, and defiance of one’s elders, I believe that the scene would still entertain a 21 st century audience. Many of the play’s themes – forbidden love, lust, rebellion against one’s parents, adults, and the norms and conventions of society in general etc – still ring true with audiences today, even if perhaps in a slightly different way. This, I believe, makes Romeo and Juliet a timeless classic that could be enjoyed regardless of the audience’s era.

Candidate Number 02145

Dan Foy 11

Landau Forte College 23329

Romeo and Juliet English Coursework

Bibliography
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, Penguin Popular Classics, 1994 edition http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verona http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iambic_pentameter http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=vexed http://www.william-shakespeare.info (for when the Penguin Popular Classic edition was not available)

Candidate Number 02145

Dan Foy 12

Landau Forte College 23329

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