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Romeo and Juliet is a play about two star-crossed lovers from Verona both from two different families but it isn’t as simple as that, the two families hold an ancient feud against each other. The prologue tells us quite a bit about whats going to happen during the play.
It tells us that two star-crossed lovers will take their life ‘A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life’, and also that when they are dead their parents will end their family grudge, ‘Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife’.
The two families, the Capulets and the Montagues, are enemies of each other throughout the play because of this ancient family feud they have numerous fights about this throughout the play.
This particular play is a tragedy because the two main characters do die during the play. During the first two Acts, quite a lot happens as Romeo and Juliet meet at a masked ball and then realise that they are worst enemies, ‘My only love sprung from my only hate’. They fall in love almost instantly and arrange to meet up and get married. They were both ready to give up their family name for each other, ‘Deny thy father and refuse thy name. Or if thou wilt not be but sworn my love. And Ill no longer be a Capulet’. Act three provides a turning point in the play because if Romeo hadn’t have been banished for killing Tybalt then Juliet wouldn’t have had to fake her death to see him and keep out of marrying Paris then none of them would have died.
This scene is very important because from this point on everything changes in the play. In this scene, Romeo is banished causing dramatic effects on the rest of the play and resulting in Romeo and Juliet both killing them selves at the end of the play. In addition, we lose two other characters during this scene both during a fight over both the families as a result Mercutio and Tybalt are tragically killed Mercutio by Tybalt and Tybalt by Romeo. Therefore, by the end of this scene both Mercutio and Tybalt are both killed and Romeo has been banished from Verona.
At the beginning of the scene it is a very hot day in Verona and everyone is hot and on edge. Benvolio is saying to Mercutio that they should leave because if they were to meet up with the Capulets then they shall not escape a fight ‘And if we meet we shall not scape a brawl, for now these hot days, is the mad blood stirring’. However, Mercutio is always ready to be angry and always up for a fight so he really isn’t bothered. When Tybalt arrives, Benvolio seems angry that he hasn’t escaped them because of Mercutio arguing with him over fighting, ‘By my head, here comes the Capulet’s’. But Mercutio’s reaction is totally the opposite of Benvolio’s he doesn’t seem to care that Tybalt has arrived ‘By my heel, i care not.’ He also takes the fun out of Benvolio by saying that meaning also he shall not move. Mercutio provokes the situation by saying that if he wants a word he can have a fight aswell ‘And but one word with one of us? Couple it with something make it a word and a blow.’ At this point in the play it relates back to the beginning of the play where many fights go on and the prince Escalus threatens them with severe penalties. At this point in the play, the audience will feel quite scared for the characters because if they do break out into a fight then the severe penalties will be brought in and something will happen to one or more of the characters.
When Tybalt sees Romeo approaching, he says to Mercutio, ‘here comes my man’. Tybalt wanted a word with Romeo. When Romeo arrives, he says to Romeo that he can’t say anything more positive about him than that he is a villain. ‘The reason that i have to love thee doth much excuse the appertaining rage to such a greeting.’ Romeo was saying that he has to love him for Juliet. When Tybalt challenges Romeo to a fight, Romeo backs away, ‘I do protest I never injured thee, But love thee better than thou can’st devise Till thou shalt know the reason of my love. And so, good Capulet, which name i tender as dearly as mine own, be satisfied.’ Here Romeo was saying to Tybalt that no he won’t fight him and he will never guess the reason why he loves him so dearly, then he tries to stay out of it. Mercutio seems shocked by the way Romeo acts towards Tybalt and then challenges Tybalt to a fight ‘Tybalt, you rat-catcher, will you walk?’
During the beginning of the play Tybalt is portrayed as an aggressive person because of the way he acted at the masked ball when he recognized the Montagues, and it nearly broke out into a fight but Lord Capulet insisted they shouldn’t. Later in the play, he is killed by Romeo because Tybalt killed Mercutio Romeo’s friend. Tybalt seems like a fighter and not a talker because as soon as he sees the enemy he is ready to fight. When Tybalt and Mercutio had that fight Tybalt didn’t really want to fight him but Mercutio pushed him into it ‘Tybalt you rat-catcher, will you walk?’ Tybalt is just loyal to his family and will do anything for them but also he can be a villain.
Mercutio is dashing and very popular and on the Montagues side but not by blood he is Romeo’s friend, we find out that he can be quite a joker too. When Mercutio and Tybalt start to fight Romeo pleads with Benvolio to stop them ‘Draw Benvolio; beat down their weapons.’ Then Romeo ends up in the middle of them; the audience must feel very worried that Romeo may be killed at this point but luckily, he doesn’t. However, Mercutio does get hurt and is lying on the floor and says,’ didn’t Tybalt get hurt ‘ but no he didn’t he ran off with his men straight after so that he wouldn’t be caught by the prince. As Mercutio is hurt he calls Romeo a villain and tells him to get a surgeon.
Mercutio’s cut only looked like a scratch but it was very deep and painful so as a result he passed away. As Mercutio is not a Capulet neither a Montague before he dies he curses both families both the Capulets and the Montagues ‘A plague, o’ both your houses!’ Some theorists believe that Mercutio was killed off in this scene because he was too vibrant a character and they believed that he would divert the audiences’ attention off Romeo and Juliet i do agree with this as Mercutio is always about and always part of most things. Mercutio is involved in numerous scenes he was involved in most of the fights and also he was involved with the ball, Mercutio is also mostly around when Benvolio is around to fill the gaps between the fights and the loves scenes.
At the beginning of the play, Romeo is a very quiet character and very upset because Rosaline doesn’t return his love he feels for her. He felt very strongly about the feud at the beginning of the play as he hated the Capulets. When he met Juliet, he seemed to be a lot happier and when he found out that Juliet was a Capulet he was shocked but felt differently towards them instead of hating them so much. When Romeo finds out that Mercutio is dead Tybalt turns up and he gets so angry he kills Tybalt. Romeo could have prevented at least one death by not going to kill Tybalt because that is the turning point in the play where most things start to go wrong because as a result he gets banished by the prince witch leads to more complications.’O, i am fortunes fool.’ Here Romeo is saying that fate was playing around with him. In Shakespeare’s time people were great believers in fate because at this time people believed in witchcraft and myths.
Benvolio’s function in this scene is to be there to try get Mercutio out of the street and warn the audience that a fight is about to break out by warning Mercutio. He is also there to help Mercutio after he has been stabbed and to inform Romeo of Mercutio’s death. Then after this Benvolio is not needed no more because Romeo has been banished so he is not there for him and so not needed. In addition, Benvolio doesn’t know about Juliet so he can’t be part of the rest as there is no need.
When the Prince and the Montagues and Capulets arrive on the scene, the prince asks what was going on. Benvolio tries to cover Romeo as best as he can but it doesn’t work therefore the prince punishes him by banishing him from Verona. As Romeo is banished, he cannot see Juliet as he cant step foot inside of Verona.
In conclusion, i think that this scene turns the play around and it does cause the death of Romeo and Juliet. Both Romeo and Juliet end up committing suicide because since Romeo is banished they send him a letter but only the letter never gets there so when he finds out Juliet is dead he goes back to see her and kills himself. When Juliet wakes up she sees Romeo and kills herself all because she wanted to escape to be with Romeo and not to marry Paris. I think the play is more than just a fight scene because it also offers the turning point in the play and also gives a reason for Romeo to be banished so he is in the right place for they deaths to happen at the end.