Discuss how Shakespeare builds tension and excitement

‘Romeo and Juliet’, a play written by William Shakespeare, and placed in Verona, Italy tells us the history of two foes families.’Two households both alike in dignity, in fair Verona, where we lay our scene.’The respective families, Montague’s and Capulet’s, live in a feud. Ironically, their equal stators son and daughter, Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet happen to fall in love, and in such calamitous conditions, take their lives.’A pair of star-cross’d lovers, take their life:Whose misadventur’d piteous overthrows,Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife.

’Shakespeare drives the play so that it fits perfectly in the tragedy genre. The main events are first revealed in the prologue, but through his language he stimulates his audience in order that after reading it, we feel the need to find out the reason why such incidents take place.’From forth the fatal loins of these two foes…”From ancient grudge break to new mutinyWhere civil hands make civil blood unclean:”Romeo slew him, he slew Mercutio,’ (Prince, Act three, Scene One)’Romeo there dead, was husband to that Juliet,And she there dead, that Romeo’s faithful wife:’ (Friar Laurence, Act Five, Scene Three)The play deals with themes such as conflict, love, violence, fate and destiny.

Those are linked into the play so that dramatic tension and excitement are created for the audience.As the play starts, in Act One, Scene One, there is a dialogue between Sampson and Gregory Capulet, and it is already possible to foresee how violence is always an issue under discussion between the youngsters of the play.

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’Enter Sampson and Gregory with swords and bucklers, of the house of Capulet.’ (Stage Directions, Act One, Scene One)The odium atmosphere can be seen among the families, as the Capulet boys are talking about a possible fight. They mention that they will not start the fight, but will provoke it.’But thou art not quickly moved to strike.’ (Gregory, Act One, Scene One)The author also uses humour in Gregory’s and Sampson’s language, with the intention to show us a little about these characters. Right from the beginning of the scene, they are insulting the Montague’s, although still afraid of start a fight. And through the comic lines, we see how they cannot be taken too serious.’Me they shall while I am able to stand, and’tis known I am a pretty piece of flesh.’ (Sampson, Act One, Scene One)While Sampson is still saying about the possible fight with the Montague’s, he sees him in a situation that Abraham Montague happened to hear the insult. At that moment, the language starts to change from a clumsy funniness to severe, sarcastic respect.’Nay as they dare, I will bite my thumb at them,which is disgrace to them if they bear it.’ (Sampson, Act One, Scene One)’Do you bite your thumb at us sir? (Abraham, Act One, Scene One)The play was set in Elizabethan times, which explains such strong reactions after the expression ‘bite the thumb’. In that era, the phrase had a meaning much more insulting than nowadays.Benvolio Montague and Tybalt enter the argument. Both equal stators in a comparison, but could never share another thing in common. As always, it could be seen their contrasting visions.’Part fools,Put up your swords, you know not what you do.’ (Benvolio, Act One, Scene One)’What are drawn among these heartlesshinds? (Tybalt, Act One, Scene One)’I do but keep the peace, put up thy sword,Or manage it to part these men with me.’ (Benvolio, Act One, Scene One)’What drawn and talk of peace? I hate the word,As I hate hell, all Montagues and thee:Have at thee coward.’ (Tybalt, Act One, Scene One)Since the boys finish the quarrel by fighting, there would be consequences. Therefore, the major authority, Prince Escales, prince of Verona convoked an assembly with Capulet and Montague. Prince Escales , go through the mistempered relationship between the families. He displays his authority, talking about how foolish both Lords are, allowing their dispute run in their family members. When instead, they should care for each other since they are two influenced people. With his power, Prince finally says, that the next disturb of peace in Verona coming from these families would be secreted in an executation straight away.’Will they not hear? What ho, you men, you beasts:”With purple fountains issuing from your veins:”Thrown your mistemper’d weapons to the ground,”If you ever disturb our streets again,Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace.For this time all the rest depart away:’ (Prince, Act One, Scene one)Afterwards the Prince’s speech, Montague, Lady Montague and Benvolio headed to look for Romeo. However they happened to go away after finding him, but Benvolio goes to talk to him. At this moment there is a total change in the mood and atmosphere. The discussion between Benvolio and Romeo right from the beginning is about love.’Out of her favour where I am in love.’ (Romeo, Act One, Scene One)In the prologue it was revealed that Romeo and Juliet would fall in love, the audience would predict it was about her he was talking about. However on Act One, Scene Two talking again with Benvolio, we discover Romeo actually loves another girl.’At this same ancient feasts of capulet’s,Sups the fair Rosaline whom thou so loves:With all the admired beauties of Verona,Go thither, and with unattainted eye,Compare her face with some that I shall show,And I will make thee think thy swan a crow.’ (Benvolio, Act One, Scene Two)The language Romeo uses is very contrasting from the beginning of the play, where the discussion was all about violence and now the words sound soft.Act 3, Scene One is central to the plot of the play. During the scene Mercutio, Benvolio and their men are talking, as always, in puns and about the Capulets. Mercutio, Romeo’s best friend, who is always with the Montague boys, was saying how he would fight with the Capulets for no specific reason.’Nay and there where two such, we should have none shortly, for one would kill the other: thou, why thou wilt quarrel with a man that hath a hair more, or a hair less in beard, than thou hast: thou wilt quarrel with a man for cracking nuts, having no other reason, but because thou hast hazel eyes: what I, but such an eye would spy out such a quarrel? Thy head is as full of quarrel, as an egg is full of meat, and yet thy head hath been beaten as addle as an egg for quarrelling: though hast quarrell’d with a man for coughing in the street, because he hath wakened thy dog that hath lain asleep in the sun. Didst thou not fall out with a tailor for wearing his new heel doublet before Easter, with another for tying his new shoes with old riband, and yet thou wilt tutor me from quarrelling? (Mercutio, Act Three, Scene One)When suddenly Tybalt and the others enter looking for Romeo. However, they did not want to fight Mercutio and Benvolio, Mercutio was provoking the Capulet boys. Which Tybalt would not accept easily. As soon as Romeo comes, Tybalt starts to ignore the others and go straight away insulting Romeo.’Romeo, the love I bear thee, can affordNo better term than this thou art a villain.’ (Tybalt, Act One, Scene One)Calling someone a ‘villain’ in the Elizabethan times was the rudest insult a person could say. But in this situation Romeo just calmly denied been a villain, and friendly explained that he would not fight Tybalt.’I do protest I never injur’d thee,But love thee better than thou canst devise:Till thou shalt know the reason of my love,And so good Capulet, which name I tenderAs dearly as mine own, be satisfied.’ (Romeo, Act Three, Scene One)Mercutio then seeing that Romeo did not have the intention to defend himself attacked Tybalt, promising to kill him.’Good King of Cats, nothing but one of your nine lives, that I mean to make bold withal, and as shall use me hereafter dry-beat the rest of the night. Will you pluck your sword out of his pilcher by the ears? Make haste, lest mine be about you ears ere it be out.”Come sir, your passado.'(Mercutio, Act Three, Scene One)After Mercutio challenged Tyblat, they fought. Romeo came and tried to stop them, declaring that the Prince had forbidden this bandying in Verona streets. Then, Romeo, in between them, was held to Mercutio so that he was vulnerable. This was the right timne for coward Tybalt to injure Mercutio and run away.’;Tybalt under Romeo’s arm thrusts Mercutio in; and flies.>’ (Stage Directions, Act Three, Scene One)At the same time as Mercutio starts to dye, Romeo begins to realise it was his fault. Furious, Romeo then decides to have his revenge in Tybalt. As in Romeo’s speech to Tybalt, when they met again, one of them would have to die. Now, Romeo, possessed by hate would defend himself.’He gone in triumph, and Mercutio slain?Away to heaven, respective lenity,And fire and fury, be my conduct now.Now Tybalt take the villain back again,That late thou gav’st me, for Mercutio’s soulIs but a little way above our heads,Staying for thine to keep him company:Either thou or I, or both must go with him.’ (Romeo, Act Three, Scene One)’They fight, Tybalt falls.’ (Stage Directions, Act Three, Scene One)Act 3, Scene One is a point of tension in the play. Everything happened because on a party in the Capulet mansion, even Romeo was invited, and so he met Juliet. The one that he would fall in love reciprocally and later on would, under the covers, get married with the help of Friar Laurence, a Franciscan; and nurse, the one that takes cares of Juliet.At the end of Act Three, Scene One, Prince would decide the consequences for Romeo. He would not be fair executing Romeo, so Romeo was banished from Verona, being unable to be with his new wife Juliet.’And for that offence,Immediately we do exile him hence:I have an interest in your hate’s proceeding:My blood for your rude brawls doth lie-a-bleeding.But I’ll amerce you with so strong a fine,That you shall all repent the loss of mine.I will be deaf to pleading and excuses,Nor tears, nor prayers shall purchase our abuses.Therefore use none, let Romeo hence in haste,Else when he’s found, that hour is his last.Bear hence this body, and attend our will,Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill.’ (Prince, Act Three, Scene One)This builds up even more tension for the audience, making them feel apprehensive, since they do not know what could happen.The main method Shakespeare make use to create mood and atmosphere is foreshadowing. He does it right from the beginning on the prologue telling us hints of what could happen.One of the other methods that Shakespeare employs is using ambiguous meanings for the phrases, for example on:’For now these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.’ (Benvolio, Act Three, Scene One)Hot days can indicate either about the weather, or about the mood in the situation.Shakespeare uses prose and verse in many of the dialogues throughout the play. ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is also a play with many religious concerns. The characters’ speeches have always God related expression, and so to contrast, there are many blasphemous swearing.’Consort, what dost thou make us minstrels?And thou make minstrels of us, look to hear nothing but discords: here’s my fiddlestick,here’s that shall make you dance: ‘zounds consort.’ (Mercutio, Act Three, Scene One)It creates a big impact on the contrast of how mood and atmosphere was build up on Act One, Scene One, since it was mainly about violence, and now it is possible to explore more themes.The audience’s relationship with Sampson and Gregory at the beginning of the play is very similar to it’s with Benvolio and Mercutio. The mais reason is because they are in different times of the play, talking about a possible fight with the Capulets.The language between Benvolio and Mercutio is very humorous. The comic side of Mercutio is mainly expressed with the use of puns, blasphemous words, and sarcasm. Violence is always added to the funny conversation, as there is always a reason to waste their time thinking of a brawl with the enemies.However, the mood entirely changes as Tybalt enters the scene. As well as in the first entrance of Tybalt in Act One, Scene One, the Montagues and now Mercutio becomes more sarcastic. Tybalt’s language reflects his character, so that we notice how he thinks so much of him, but in fact is not. At this point of the play he wants not to fight with Mercutio, just want to find Romeo, in order to get his revenge. After Mercutio challenges Tybalty, he confronts Mercutio’s manhood, which is very grave. Mercutio, furious, in response uses a blasphemous swearing; there is then a dramatic irony.As Romeo enters in this scene, we can see the difference between from that of the opening scene where it was mainly about love, and now Tybalty goes towards him brutally. The expectations of the audience are that Romeo would react about such insults. Romeo’s language at this point is very apprehensive, but calmly spoken. Calm, as well as in Act One, Scene One, but now for different reasons, since Tybalty is now his relative.The contrast is enormous between Romeo and Tybalty’s exchange, in both language and action. Tybalty is extremely violent towards Romeo, ready to fight until death. However ,Romeo is trying to have a conversation and find peace between them. Tension is buit for the audience as we can see the contrast in their language, with Romeo’s caring and tender words, and Tybalty abusive words, such as ‘villain’ and ‘boy’, which were awfully offensive in the Elizabethan era.Mercutio gets extremely irritated with Romeo because, he is not defending himself; neither letting Mercutio defend no one. In a proleptic irony, where we know why Romeo is not fighting Tybalty but Mercutio does not. Mercutio’s anger is expressed by his words after been injured by Tybalty.’I am hurt.A plague o’both houses, I am sped:Is he gone and hath nothing?’ (Mercutio, Act Three, Scene One)After hearing these words, Romeo vastly regrets his cowardice. Now, his character completely changes. His words became more violent and harsh and reflect that of Tybalty was earlier in the scene. The target of Romeo now is to get Mercutio’s death’s vengeance by killing Tybalty. He claims that ‘Either thou, or I, or both must go with him.’ When Romeo say ‘O I am fortune’s fool’, it remembers us about the foreshadow of the prologue.Benvolio’s speech and Prince’s declaration finishes the scene by the punishment of Romeo, by being banished from Verona forever. The audience’s expectations now go wandering how still promised facts would take place in such circumstances by now.Overall Shakespeare used the plot to show us a mixture between love, fate and hate; as the love of Romeo for Juliet was so strong that he, not directly, gave up his best friend’s life with the intention that he would try not to upset her by fighting her cousin.

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Discuss how Shakespeare builds tension and excitement. (2019, Jun 20). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/paper-on-essay-discuss-how-shakespeare-builds-tension-and-excitement/

Discuss how Shakespeare builds tension and excitement
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