This essay sample on Romeo And Juliet Act 3 provides all necessary basic information on this matter, including the most common “for and against” arguments. Below are the introduction, body and conclusion parts of this essay.
Unlike the opening scenes this scene shows true violence and hatred between both the Montagues and the Capulets. Before this scene the feud between the families has been nothing but petty and harmless one could even say it was quite trivial.
If we look at Act II Scene VI, the scene directly before this scene, we notice that Romeo and Juliet are secretly married.
To everyone unaware of this marriage nothing has changed but to Romeo and Juliet there has been a substantial alteration. Their entire relationship will be built on secrecy and the actions of others could destroy their bond without even knowing. As we well know that is the case.
Act III Scene I is different from the start. It opens with quite a serious atmosphere whereas earlier scenes have been quite joyful and almost comical.
The scene begins in the midst of Mercutio and Benvolio quarrelling about whether to leave the streets of Verona. Benvolio is worried as the Capulets are in close proximity and knows that if they met that a colossal fight would break out.
“I pray thee, good Mercutio let’s retire; the day is hot and the Capels are abroad, and if we meet we shall not ‘scape a brawl, for now these hot days is the mad blood stirring.
This opens up to the audience exactly what is going to happen next. By looking at the clues they will see that Mercutio is in a particularly aggressive mood. He is calling Benvolio and making two-faced comments such as “Nay, and there were 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 his beard, than thou hast: thou wilt quarrel with a man for cracking nuts…”
Looking at Mercutio’s character he is also quite easily aggravated which makes this comment two-faced. If we take a look at the Queen Mab speech we can distinguish various similarities and differences in his language. Here although speaking in verse his speech is more of what we would expect of Mercutio as it is very dramatic and strange. Whereas in Act III Scene I his language is very bawdy and discontented as it is written in prose rather than his poetic language he used before. Although these are two quite different types of Mercutio we are introduced to we can still expect this of him as he has that two-faced, unpredictable personality.
Although aggression has been seen in this scene violence has yet to come. But it is not too far away when the Capulets enter. At first Mercutio tries not to get involved and looks as though he doesn’t care that they are their. But he cannot hold back. Tension slowly starts to build up and still looking as though he isn’t bothered Mercutio replies with petty insults towards Tybalt. He is determined to start an argument whether he desires one or not. Tybalt does not, at least not with him anyway, he has come seeking Romeo but Romeo is not present. At this point the audience is riveted to what is going to happen next.
So when Romeo enters it is no surprise that the tension factor steps up another gear. But still tension has not yet reached its peak as Romeo does not wish to fight. Tybalt not aware of Romeo’s relation to him tries his best to begin the fateful argument by insulting Romeo.
“Romeo, the hate I bear thee can afford no better term than this, – thou art a villain.”
Tybalt has no good reason for fighting with Romeo other than him attending the Capulets feast. I don’t think the disastrous events about to take place can be blamed on bad luck and that Romeo was to walk in at the wrong time right into an explosive situation. This scene would have happened sooner or later as Tybalt was out seeking Romeo. After just being married to Juliet Romeo is not in the right frame of mind to be fighting. He is calm and cheerful and even in an atmosphere of hatred, where all the signs are pointing toward aggression, his good nature gets the better of him. No doubt it is difficult for Romeo as he isn’t a coward but feels humiliation for the moment. He will not be provoked.
“Tybalt, the reason that I have to love thee doth much excuse the appertaining rage to such a greeting: villain am I none, therefore farewell. I see thou knowest me not.”
Romeo is not weak but his love for Juliet is dominating his aggression or hate. The influence of his love for Juliet makes ‘grace’ more powerful than ‘rude will’. At this point Tybalt may be confused over why Romeo gave such a composed answer but here the audience will understand exactly why he has done this.
Although the same cannot be said about Mercutio who interprets Romeo’s response as cowardice. His aggression has finally got the better of him as he throws himself towards Tybalt with his all out rage.
“O calm, dishonourable, vile submission! Alla stoccata carries it away. Tybalt, you rat-catcher, will you walk?”
As they fight it seems that it is nothing more than a playground tussle. Mercutio’s rage seems to have calmed and he is back to his comical self or is this just for show? When Romeo intervenes and Mercutio is stabbed the audience can only react on the characters response. Notice that Tybalt flees this is the first reaction to how serious Mercutio has been injured. But when Mercutio tells everyone that the wound is just a scratch it takes the significance of the atmosphere away.
“Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch; marry, ’tis enough. Where is my page? Go, villain, fetch a surgeon”
Mercutio is still angry inside and this is shown when he tells Romeo that he was hurt under his arm. Still the audience cannot be too sure whether the wound is fatal or not until Mercutio begins to curse furiously.
“Help me into some house, Benvolio, or I shall faint. A plague o’ both your houses! They have made worms’ meat of me: I have it, and soundly too: your houses!”
The fact that this curse comes from a dying man makes it such a more powerful warning of disaster to come. It is too late now but Mercutio finally sees that the mindless feud between the families has destroyed him for no good reason.
Right up until Mercutio dies the audience are kept in the dark to whether the injury was lethal. There are signs showing that he was going to die but even till the last minute the characters were laughing and joking about the issue. Romeo’s calm composure has completely vanished as the only thing he sees is Tybalts death. As he races towards Tybalt, Benvolio tries to keep peace again. He is unsuccessful as Romeo’s lust for revenge is now too high to stop. As they battle it out in a fight to fatality dramatic tension rockets sky high and finally reaches it peak.
Finally, after Tybalt is deceased the Prince enters in on the scene. Benvolio gives his account of the story as he is trustworthy, although it is biased towards Romeo. The Prince gives his final statement.
“And for that offence immediately we do exile him hence. Let Romeo hence in haste, else, when he’s found, that hour is his last.”
This scene is a pivotal point in the play as it has a ripple affect on the following scenes. From here on everything changes and Romeo and Juliet’s marriage is put at risk. Dramatic irony plays a huge role in this scene as only those aware of the marriage know the true reason behind Romeo and Juliet’s distress.