The play is set in ‘fair Verona’ in Italy where we find Romeo and Juliet, two ‘star cross’d lovers’ who instantly fall in love and, five days later, end up killing themselves rather than be parted. They are from feuding families and their deaths, in the end, bring the families together.The play fits into the genre of tragedy because it has a very sad ending when both Romeo and Juliet kill themselves. The action only happens over a short space of time but what does happen is shocking and many die in the events that occur.
The fact that Romeo and Juliet are from feuding families, yet still fall in love, shows that fate plays an important part in this tragedy.The play seems to have a number of themes, for example love, hate, civil disorder and fate. These themes are important because they all play such an important role in the play.This scene affects the audience as there is a lot of action and this causes an uneasy feeling as we suspect that it will end in death.
Up to now there hasn’t been a lot of grief in the plot and this is the scene where everything turns around. This is a pivotal moment in the play because when Tybalt kills Mercutio, Romeo becomes so angry, and possibly feels responsible for Mercutio’s death, and he becomes a different person. Before Tybalt killed Mercutio, Romeo had refused to fight Tybalt as he was married to Juliet and Tybalt was now his family.
This would have seemed cowardly to onlookers as he was refusing to fight, and because of this Mercutio fought for him. Once he realised Mercutio was dead he had a new found hate for Tybalt and felt that he needed to do to Tybalt what he did to Mercutio. This scene is similar to Act 1 Scene 1 as this opening violent scene shows the hatred between the two families.Shakespeare uses dramatic devices to create interest and to engage his audience. The audience know that Romeo and Juliet secretly have got married but not all the characters do. This is dramatic irony and makes the audience feel ‘if only’, for example if only Romeo had told Tybalt the real reason why he wouldn’t fight him, although this may have caused the same reaction, showing that fate is important as it would have happened either way.Shakespeare’s language is a dramatic device and he uses it to set the scene with the opening words. ‘For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.’ As the day is very hot people would usually go inside and rest because it is too hot to work. This is in the first line of the scene and Benvolio is trying to get Mercutio to go inside and sleep as he is scared that if the Capulets arrive there will be a fight. You can tell from the dialogue that Mercutio is irritable and is looking for an argument as he is quarrelling with Benvolio who is meant to be his friend. ‘Thou art like one of those fellows … when indeed there is no need.’ Also Mercutio is saying that Benvolio is looking for an argument but is actually in effect describing his own behaviour, ‘Come, come, thou art as hot a Jack … and as soon moody to be moved.’The previous scene has been very romantic and this scene is a complete contrast to that as it involves fighting and murder, the complete opposite to love.In previous scenes there have been references to the feud between the Montagues and the Capulets, and warnings that the Prince has given about fighting. In this scene we see all of these references joining together and being put into action. The reason why Tybalt seeks Romeo is because he saw him at the Capulet party and wants revenge even thought Lord Capulet told him to leave it. Also there is a fight in the very first scene and the punishment declared by Prince is that if it happened again that it would be ‘on pain of death’. So the reference to this scene is that Mercutio and Tybalt both took part in the fight and both died. As Tybalt had murdered Mercutio Romeo murdered Tybalt. Romeo was still punished for murdering Tybalt but Prince does not take his life as he has just carried out what the law commanded.The conflict between Mercutio and Tybalt at first seems to be light hearted and comedic. It seems to the audience as though even though they are fighting nothing could go very wrong. Up until Mercutio dies the fighting is not very meaningful. Still even when Mercutio is wounded it might take the audience a moment to figure it out as he still makes plays on words to make people think he isn’t badly hurt. ‘Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch; marry, ’tis enough.’ ‘Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man.’But the conflict between Romeo and Tybalt is quite different from with Mercutio as Romeo does not want anything to do with the fight as Tybalt is now his family. This probably would make the audience side more with Romeo in the fight as he is coming from a loving place and he only wants peace. Whereas Tybalt just wants revenge and this makes the audience feel sympathy towards Romeo especially when he has been banished.When Benvolio recounts the story of what has happened I believe he tells an honest story and that although he is Romeo’s friend he is not biased. He refers to both Mercutio and Tybalt as ‘stout’ (meaning brave). As Benvolio is a Montague it is obvious that Lady Capulet will disagree with him as one of her family has been killed. She is very melodramatic about the whole situation and is trying to get as much out of the situation as possible. She believes that Romeo should be killed for Tybalt’s death and is trying her hardest to get her way.The way this scene is set out creates and builds the tension for the pivotal moment towards the end of it. The beginning is very light hearted although there is a sense that something bad will happen. As the scene builds so does the atmosphere and the tension reaches an uncomfortable height when Mercutio dies. The repetition of the words ‘a plague on both your houses’ creates an atmosphere of guilt and of anger. The scene then builds to an even higher level of tension but this feeling is slightly different from the first as before it was just a fight but it is Romeo’s ‘newly entertain’d revenge’ so therefore the feeling isn’t just anger it also has a feeling of complete loathing.Overall I feel this scene leads the audience into a false sense of security at the beginning and gets to such a point that there is no turning back and that the audience know at that point that what has been predicted in the prologue will, in fact, become true. The reason why this is such a pivotal scene is because after the death of Mercutio Romeo has such a hatred for Tybalt that he is like a different person. He also may feel some guilt for Mercutio’s death as it would not have happened if he had not tried to prevent it from happening.Prince’s speech at the end interests the audience as we do not know until this point that Mercutio is actually related to Prince. He says he ‘will be deaf to pleading and excuses’. He sounds as though he is punishing everyone harder than he would normally as Tybalt has killed a member of his family so therefore everyone must take the consequences for his loss. It also seems that he is inconsolable for the death of Mercutio saying he will not listen to excuses and basically saying no-one is going unpunished.I think this is a very well written scene because so much goes on that is substantially relevant to the story. So much action and information has been crammed into one scene and the play just wouldn’t function properly as a story if these events didn’t take place or took place in a different way.