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Shakespeare Assignment: “Romeo and Juliet” Paper

Words: 5723, Paragraphs: 47, Pages: 20

Paper type: Assignment, Subject: Acting & Theater

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Romeo and Juliet is a play of many themes. Like most of Shakespeare’s plays, it has a main plot with many subtexts, the main plot being related to love and tragedy. The story is set in Verona, Italy in the 16thcentury. It is about two young lovers, each from two different feuding families – the Montague’s and the Capulets – which have a historical hatred for each other. It is a deeply heart-touching tragedy when two “star-cross’d” lovers, who are desperate to be together, are torn apart by a downward spiral of events. From love to hate and from life to death are the themes Shakespeare has based Romeo and Juliet on, as well as the most important one, fate. Fate is used right from the start of the play in chorus.

Fate is used a lot in the play, this is because when the play was written people of those times were incredibly superstitious and believed in curses. “…A pair of star cross’d lovers, take their life:” right from the beginning the audience knows that two people are destined to meet it is fate, something bad will happen to them. Here Shakespeare is using Greek Mythology, the Greeks they also believed in a lot of fate and star crossed lovers, but here again Shakespeare is being optimistic, he also knows that the Elizabethan audience believe in fate and how once things are destined they happen no matter what.

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Act 3, is right in the middle of the 5 acts that composed the play, containing the climax of the play. It is the pivotal scene. The first two acts build up to the climax and the last two follow down from it. Act 3 is essential to the play as a whole as this is the emotional and action-packed high point of the play, with mixed emotions of love, fate and tragedy. The general contrast of love and hate in the play is very clear in this scene. Shakespeare establishes the setting of this scene through the initial dialogue between Benvolio and Mercutio, using dramatic devices such as metaphors to express the emotions between the characters, and creating a tense atmosphere between them This Scene is very important scene for many reasons; many people talk it about as the turning point in the play. This is due to the incidents and outcomes that occur in the scene.

But this is also due to the placing of the scene; it’s structured in the middle of the five-act play allowing the scene to change the story’s events in one scene. This scene is a crucial turning point as feelings explode into an array of hatred and love, when character’s personalities shine through and when other’s lives are cut short. Shakespeare uses fantastic techniques to draw the audience into the play. He uses oxymoron’s, puns, alliteration and rhyming couplets, which are all used to brilliant effect in Act 3 Scene 1, and help to develop characters, add humour and define feelings. Shakespeare brings feelings like hate and anger to a new un-explored level.

Now we set the scene for act 3 scene1, the most crucial scene in the play it drives the play from a humour and comedy to sadness and grief in this scene we learn how the actor’s actions are influenced and intervened with fate. At this point in the play the audience had already met our leading characters: Romeo, Mercutio, Benvolio and Tybalt. They also have learnt how they react to certain things for example Tybalt; he is always picking a fight for no apparent reason. We also see that how the heat and intensity of the weather is reflected in the characters personality and how it creates tension and causes dramatic effect on the audience. Benvolio and Mercutio are in the town square, the heat is intense, scorching and blistering this already makes the audience feel the tension even before the characters say a word. This is a contrasting setting to the previous scene where Romeo and Juliet are getting married. In this scene the atmosphere is cool, calm and happy. Shakespeare does this is in an attempt to add drama to the scene,

Benvolio is aware that a combination of the hot weather and Mercutio’s hot temperament may lead to trouble with the Capulets. “I pray thee, good Mercutio, let’s retire: The day is hot, the Capulets are aboard, and, if we meet, we shall not ‘scape a brawl, for now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.” The language used by Benvolio here is peaceful and he wishes not to argue with Mercutio, but to merely leave and avoid trouble. Mercutio sees this as an opportunity for humorous argument with Benvolio, as he usually does, “Come, come, thou art as hot as a jack in thy mood as any in Italy; and as soon moved to be moody, and as soon moody to be moved”. The language here is of a comedic and slightly provoking style. Shakespeare uses this type and style and language to indicate to the audience that something dramatic is yet to happen,

Romeo and Juliet play is based around the hatred of the Montague’s and the Capulet’s. Hatred is crucial in this play because it is the main theme of the play; hate controls the play and shows the consequences to peoples violent actions. The Montague and Capulet family demonstrate hatred and violence as soon as they are introduced to the audience. The families seem to be in competition with each other. We are not told why or when this quarrel began but we are told it is an ‘ancient grudge’, a constant conflict between the two names. They are very alike and well known throughout Verona. The people of Verona are aware of the grudge between the two families.

Mercutio accuses Benvolio of being a trouble maker by saying inappropriate things about him. “…Thou wilt quarrel with a man for cracking nuts, having no other reason but because thou hast hazel eyes…Thou hast quarrelled with a man for coughing in the street, because he hath wakened thy dog that hath lain asleep in the sun…”This shows us Mercutio’s blatant disregard for the truth just so he can argue and provoke other people. Also, these statements are ironic, because they are actually about him but he is pinpointing them on Benvolio. At this point the audience know that it is Mercutio who wishes to quarrel and not Benvolio. He is saying that Benvolio is such a peace maker that he would never quarrel with anyone over something ridiculous. Shakespeare is basically saying that young that young men fight for no reason and just fight to prove that they are better than each other.

When we first meet Mercutio we see him as being calm and relaxed. He is trying to cheer up his friend Romeo as he is love struck. He shows he cares by saying ‘Nay gentle Romeo we must have you dance’. The qualities that Mercutio portray are being kind and considerate. The tone of language that Mercutio uses is one of a very friendly and relaxed nature. He is not acting in a way that should attract attention towards him. He is very restrained and is acting in a ‘normal’ manner. Then Mercutio starts to mock Romeo by referring to classical references of love, because at this point Romeo is deeply in love with Roseline. ‘You are a lover; borrow cupid’s wings’. When Mercutio says this we admire him for his wit and cleverness but we don’t like the way he is mocking his friend. By referring to words like cupid we automatically think of love which we admire. Also to mock his friend Mercutio also refers to physical views of love. By saying ‘If love be rough with you be rough with love’, he shows us that he has a vulgar mind and that he sees love more physical than spiritual (Romeo sees love spiritually).

Mercutio also shows his spontaneity and creativity very vividly. The Queen Mabth speech goes from being a speech with a fairytale quality to a speech with very violent images. ‘Her wagon-spokes made of long spiders’ legs’, shows this magical quality, while ‘and then dreams of cutting foreign throats,’ has the opposite affect and is very violent. Mercutio’s famous Queen Mab speech is important for the stunning quality of its poetry and for what it reveals about Mercutio’s character, but it also has some interesting thematic implications. Mercutio is trying to convince Romeo to set aside his lovesick melancholy over Rosaline and come along to the Capulet feast. When Romeo says that he is depressed because of a dream, Mercutio launches on a lengthy, playful description of Queen Mab, the fairy who supposedly brings dreams to sleeping humans. The main point of the passage is that the dreams Queen Mab brings are directly related to the person who dreams them-lovers dream of love, soldiers of war, etc. But in the process of making this rather prosaic point Mercutio falls into a sort of wild bitterness in which he seems to see dreams as destructive and delusional.

Mercutio’s name comes from the word ‘Mercury’ which suggests that Mercutio is not only fast with movement but is also fast with words. His name also means “Messenger of the Gods,” which also means that he is a powerful man.

The arrival of Tybalt brings a lot of tension to the scene. Benvolio’s fear comes true as the Capulets approach; Benvolio forewarns Mercutio; “Here by my head, here come the Capulets!” Benvolio is panic stricken ,here we notice Shakespeare’s use of exclamation mark, this would cause the actor on stage to act like he is panic stricken, causing the audience to feel the further build up of tension. Mercutio being Mercutio says he doesn’t care; “By my heel I care not”. Here again we see lots of word play; Shakespeare using body parts to contrast and compare for example the head is the most important and the heel is the least we also see Mercutio mocking Benvolio putting all his effort to Waste.

Mercutio thinks of Tybalt as very good swordsman, who keeps in time, distance and proportions. “He is a duellist, a gentleman” He makes a big deal of sword fighting being as precise as music; he could cut through any shirt button you chose. Mercutio also thinks that Tybalt is a poser “a very tall man, also a very good whore!” “These fashion manges, these pardon-me’s, who stand so much on the new form, that they cannot sit at ease on the old bench” He is implying that a man who wears clothes so tight must be very effeminate and proud of his body like a women, who shows off her body to appeal to men, he is saying that Tybalt is homosexual, because of the way he dresses, and he must have great difficulty in sitting down. In the play Mercutio uses words such as ‘alla stoccata’ and ‘passado’ because they are fencing terms. Mercutio uses these words because he is mocking Tybalt as Mercutio thinks he ‘fights by the book of arithmetic’, meaning he fights accurately without permission.

Tybalt wants to fight Romeo in Act 3 scene 1 because they have learnt to hate each other while growing up, because the quarrel is an ‘ancient grudge’. A family name is very a precious feature, they believed they had to honour their family name and be strong in all situations to come be the best, so everyone looked up to them. We also discover in the play that Tybalt hates Romeo because he is of the Montague family. In Act 3 scene 1 Tybalt is furious at Romeo’s friends but mainly at Romeo because they gate crashed the Capulets’ party. Tybalt felt as if they were being imprudent towards the Capulets’ and their guests. So by doing this Tybalt agrees with Lord Capulet not to cause a fight but in his soliloquy he speaks out his revenge; “Patience performance with whitful choler meeting makes my flesh tremble in their different greeting: I will withdraw, but this intrusion shall, Now seaming sweet, covert to bitt’rest gall”. This is a key part of the play showing Tybalt’s volatile temper and how although he had to retreat from fighting he will hold the grudge on to brings up on a later date. These lines cleverly used by Shakespeare to hint to the audience of what is to come. His actions throughout this scene seam to suggest that he is a catalyst for tragedy through his indignant attitude and family honour.

After Benvolio and Mercutio’s small argument, true to Benvolio’s prediction, Tybalt and other Capulet’s arrive. Tybalt says to his companion’s to stay close “follow me close, for I will speak to them”. He says this because he wants them to belt up in case a fight breaks out. Tybalt greets his enemies “Gentleman, good den, a word with one of you”. The way he greats the Montague’s shows that his purpose for arrival is strictly formal and not for fighting, Tybalt’s arrival and greeting irritates Mercutio who is already feeling irritated by the heat, and because they are enemies he takes it as an insult to be greeted by them. Mercutio also thinks that Tybalt is trying to intimidate him, which also makes him want to fight him. This is the start of the slow build up to the dramatic high point in the play. Shakespeare also shows how the conversation between Mercutio and Tybalt is getting less friendly from the way the language is used when they talk to each other, from “you” to “thou”. In Shakespearian times, it was ruder to address someone as “thou” then as “you”. Unusually Tybalt refuses to fight with Mercutio at this moment.

The arrival of the Capulets makes a fight look more and more likely and Tybalt’s conversation with Mercutio makes it clear that he does not want to leave without one, so he deliberately twists Tybalt’s words to provoke him into having a fight “And but one word with one of us? Couple it with something; make it a word and a blow.” This may spark off anger in Tybalt because he is being made to look the fool because he doesn’t actually want to fight with Mercutio. He still continues trying to provoke Tybalt into having a fight ‘Consort? What, dost thou make us minstrels?’ Mercutio deliberately takes the word “consort” to mean a musical player, rather than a friend. He is goes to every extent to provoke Tybalt in to having a fight but the audience doesn’t approve of the way he is proving Tybalt is aggressive. Mercutio’s language puns on what Tybalt says and insults him using his own words, ‘Here’s my fiddlestick, here’s that shall make you dance” At this point in the scene we only approve of what Mercutio is doing because of his language and wit, As Tybalt and Mercutio exchange verbal blows the excitement builds up and a fight seems almost inevitable. Neither of them wants to be humiliated by the other especially in front of the other men.

At this point Benvolio intervenes because he doesn’t want them to fight, he tells Mercutio and Tybalt that they are in the public and everyone can see them so either just drop the matter or fight somewhere else. “We talk in the public haunt of men; either withdraw into some private place or reason coldly of your grievance or else depart. Here, all eyes gaze on us” .Benvolio suggests that they take this somewhere private; Benvolio and the audience are worried that Mercutio and Tybalt could do something fatal given the situation; the intense heat but also bearing in mind Mercutio’s mad mood. This situation could go from worse to bad.

Benvolio’s fear soon becomes reality Mercutio refuses to back off and replies; “men’s eyes were made to look, and let them look gaze. I will not budge for no man’s pleasure I”. Mercutio here is saying that Tybalt and his gang can stay because he’s not going anywhere; he is again mocking Benvolio and taking no heed from him whatsoever. The “I” is used twice in this quote, which emphasises his stubbornness.

After all the tension on stage between the characters, Romeo enters into this scene feeling peace loving and good-tempered. He is not in the mood for fighting with anyone. Whereas Mercutio and Tybalt are both in anger and provocative moods. Romeo is happy because he just got married to Juliet, but obviously the other characters on stage are unaware or this, at this point the audience knows more.

The timing of Romeo’s entrance is very crucial as it gives the first sign of turning point of the play in my opinion. The mood of the audience changes from tense to worried and sympathetic. The audience now feel sorry for Romeo but also they want to know what he will do giving the thought that he has landed in a situation which has no intention of getting better. They feel sorry because he has to face a fight straight after his marriage, which no newly wed would ever think of doing. But now that Romeo had entered the scene there is no way that he could turn back, the audience is eager to know if he will live up to his reputation or be forgiving to Tybalt because to just married his cousin Juliet. Shakespeare is really building up tension here for the forthcoming tragedy. Here again we can link this to fate if Romeo hadn’t entered the scene was not his fault that Mercutio died would we still have the same outcome? Would Romeo still be destined for the same fate, here again the audience are forced to rethink all the possibilities and also that is this really fate or just accidents happening one after the other.

Tybalt now tries to provoke Romeo into having a fight; he uses Mercutio’s tactics by insulting him. “Romeo, the love I bear thee can afford no better term than this: thou art a villain”. Tybalt says that the only reason he loves him is because he is a villain, however Romeo doesn’t have a clue what he is talking about because he is unaware that the only reason Tybalt is here because he won’t let the fact slip that Romeo a Montague attended a Capulet party. By calling him a villain he really is insulting Romeo and is expecting Romeo to fire up and fight him at once, but so are the other characters on stage. The audience now really knows that this is going to be a tragedy and the outcome will be tragic despite all the possibilities.

But everyone is surprised when Romeo replies calmly to Tybalt’s insult, but acknowledges that it is an insult, but makes it seem like to everyone it isn’t. “Tybalt, the reason that I have to love thee doth much excuse the appertaining rage to such greeting, villain am I none; therefore farewell, I see thou knowest me not” Romeo here is not only being patient but he is explaining to Tybalt that he knows that he is angry; he’s not even showing any concern to the fact he has been insulted straight in his face. Here Shakespeare is again using dramatic irony; the audience again know more than the characters on stage. Shakespeare had Romeo tell Tybalt in a riddle rather then tell him straight, that he and Juliet have got married. The riddle makes it a lot more confusing for the people on stage.

Tybalt continues to make it clear that he is expecting Romeo to fight he does in two different ways: Firstly by verbally challenging and insulting him and secondly by physically reacting; drawing his sword. “Boy this shall not excuse the injuries thou hast done me, therefore turn and draw. Tybalt insults him by calling him a boy and at that time the word “boy” used to be used for slaves.

Romeo replies in a riddle again so no one knows what he is talking about and think he is a coward trying to get out of a fight. He says he loves the Capulets just as much as he loves his own family. “I do protest I never injured thee, but love thee better than thou cans’t devise. Till thou shalt know the reason of my love; and so good Capulet which I tender none so clearly as mine own will be satisfied”. This establishes that Romeo wants to get on with Tybalt for the sake of his true love, Juliet. This shows the contrast between love and hate because Romeo won’t fight because of his love for Juliet overpowers his hate for Tybalt.

Mercutio intervenes because he knows Romeo wont fight and he doesn’t want to be seen as a coward because he is friends with Romeo, also because feels the need for vengeance: Tybalt mocks him and Romeo, but Romeo will not fight so Mercutio feels it is his duty in honour of the Capulets’ to fight, Mercutio is also very hung up on the offensive remarks Tybalt said both about him and Romeo, so he makes it difficult for Tybalt to reject his challenge by insulting him and drawing swords. Tybalt then reacts by drawing his sword too, because he never backs out of a fight once provoked,

Although we learn a lot about the power of hate in this scene, we also see the power of love and devotion towards friends. We see the powerful force of love when Romeo puts aside his hatred towards Montague’s and refuses to fight Tybalt because they are now related because of his utmost adoration for Juliet

Mercutio plays with Tybalt’s name by calling him a “rat- catcher” which in Elizabethan times was the lowest of all jobs. Here Shakespeare is using word play Mercutio is continuously taunting Tybalt and making a fool out of him in front of his own men. The audience are worried about Mercutio now due to his restless and rude behaviour and the fact that he has taken up a fight with Tybalt doesn’t seem to cheer him up either. But bear in mind from here on Mercutio’s actions are due to lack of knowledge and foolishness, but also one might link this reputation and how Mercutio is trying to live up to the reputation of Montague’s.

In reply Tybalt says “what wouldst thou have with me?” Mercutio then says “Good King of cats, nothing but one of your nine lives” This is a sneer at Tybalt’s name as it is the name of the King of Cats in ‘Reynard the Fox’. Mercutio’s reference to one of Tybalt’s nine lives shows he is fighting to defend the Montague rather than to kill.

The theme of conflict is made evident by copious use of swordplay throughout the play. This dramatic affect reminds the audience of the theme. Mercutio and Tybalt both draw their swords to create a dramatic effect. Shakespeare’s language suggests their reasons as he uses short speeches for Tybalt and long speeches for Mercutio. This annoys Mercutio as Tybalt pays no attention to him

Romeo tries to break the fight between Mercutio and Tybalt by stepping between them in order to prevent them both from doing something stupid like getting injured or even killed. He tries telling them both that they are doing a shameful thing, but none of this does any good. ‘Gentlemen, for shame, forbear this outrage!’ This shows that Romeo is beginning to get worried about the situation. His entrance also breaks up Tybalt and Mercutio’s argument and seems to calm Tybalt down. Romeo seems worried and anxious at the fact that he may be seen by someone nearby who may possibly tell the Prince. His anxiety sustains the tension in the scene. His intervention changes the outcome of the fight, if he had not interfered, Mercutio may have survived.

Furthermore the audience and the characters on stage don’t know it is fatal wound. Mercutio uses the word “scratch” to show that he is a tough man and a blow like that from Tybalt only feels like a scratch to him. He also says cat-scratch so he is insulting Tybalt even when wounded.

Mercutio responds to Romeo’s intervention by shouting short words and phrases of abuse. His use of puns are not as light-hearted as they were at the beginning of the scene, he uses them more seriously to get at Romeo. ‘Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man.’ Here, he uses curses as direct accusations towards both Romeo and Tybalt, which show his emotions. This means that come tomorrow and you will find me a dead man, it also means come tomorrow and you’ll find me a brave man. This shows that it is serious enough “tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church door”. If he fell down a well he wouldn’t b able to find his way out, and the only way he will be going through is through the church door in a coffin.

Shakespeare has him saying and making theses jokes to show how even when fatally wounded Mercutio still wants to be the centre of attention

Being attacked by a man who Mercutio calls “a dog, a rat, a mouse, a cat to scratch a man to dead”. A man who he thinks of lower in status to him annoys him because his reputation is tarnished. Shakespeare is suggesting that young men only fight to show who is stronger, to show who the real man is also to save their reputation. Mercutio gets really annoyed about the way he is injured because he was protecting his best friend but his best friend got in the way.Shakespeare is suggesting Mercutio is more bothered about his reputation. Mercutio is annoyed about the way he is injured.” A baggort, a rouge a villain, that fights by the book of arithmetic, why devil you come between us? I was hurt under your arm”. He is saying that Tybalt always plays by the rules and he is a low life.

As he is dying he curses both households ‘A plague o’ both your houses.’ Repeating this curse three times as he wants them to realize the impact of their actions, and will not forgive them. In the 1500’s to do something three times was considered a kind of magical power which was believed to come true. The reason he does this is because he realizes that his forthcoming death is as a direct result of their feud. He tried to help the Montague’s but did not receive anything in return.

Mercutio’s death is a pivotal moment in the scene, there is an abrupt change in mood from the immediately previous scene, after he is killed by Tybalt. He is a character full of life and energy, making the scene comedic and humorous. When Mercutio is killed the tone to the rest of the play becomes more serious and violent. Changing the play from what seemed to be a comedy into a tragedy. At this point the audience would be shocked by, and angry with Tybalt as Mercutio was only joking with him.

After Mercutio dies Romeo says “my reputation stained” meaning that he now has a bad reputation. Shakespeare has him saying this to show that all boys care about is what other people think of them and they don’t care about anyone but themselves.

Romeo is left alone on stage for a moment and speaks aloud. ‘O sweet Juliet! Thy beauty hath made me effeminate, and in my temper soften’d valor’s steel!’ Romeo’s soliloquy reveals his thoughts and emotions to the audience. He is annoyed about what has happened to his best friend and will take it out on Tybalt. When Benvolio brings the news that Mercutio is dead, Romeo seeks out and slays Tybalt in revenge. Romeo blames Mercutio’s death partly on himself and feels guilty of his actions, ashamed that love has softened his bravery. The reason he acted the way he did was because of his marriage with Tybalt’s cousin. Shakespeare has him saying these to show young men are supposed to be brave and strong and he isn’t. Romeo yet again is worried about what people think of him; also Shakespeare is asking the question why young men think being in love makes them soft.

Benvolio praises Mercutio “that gallant spirit hath aspired the clouds”. As he thinks Mercutio was brave fighting like that but Shakespeare is being sarcastic and he wants the audience to think and ask questions like what is brave about picking a fight? At first it appears that Romeo is not going to avenge his friend’s death.” This days black fate on moe days doth depend” Romeo is saying that he is going to do nothing about his friend’s death and let others sort it out. Shakespeare has Tybalt return on stage as he wants the audience to think there is going to be another fight. Romeo is very angry with Tybalt because he has just killed his best friend so this fuels another fight in which Romeo wants to kill Tybalt.

Shakespeare has Romeo speak with fury for the first time in the play ” and fiery eyed fury be my conduct of new” he does this to show a different side of Romeo because all we have seen so far is a happy peaceful loving character. Romeo isn’t a very good fighter but he is able to beat Tybalt in a fight . I think he is able to do this because he can fuel others to make them do things.

When Tybalt returns, Romeo ignores his previous ‘respectful’ attitude and instead challenges Tybalt, reminding him that it was he who killed Mercutio and consequently Tybalt’s soul must join his. ‘Either thou, or I, or both, must go with him.’ His reason for killing Tybalt is simply because he loathes Tybalt for causing Mercutio’s death, and wants to show how annoyed he is by fighting Tybalt. It was common in the 1500’s that a friend would avenge another friend’s life if it was taken away. Tybalt also speaks the language of hate to him. “thou wretched boy” he is still insulting Romeo as he fights him. He is trying to show Mercutio’s death hasn’t troubled him in the slightest way.

I think the audience would think Tybalt deserved it as he was just as bad as Mercutio in the sense that he insulted both Mercutio and Romeo, even though Romeo was trying to make peace between them by speaking words of love. The audience would also feel sympathetic towards Mercutio because he was only intending it to be a joke between him and Tybalt. The killing of Tybalt is simply the tail end of the climatically killing of Mercutio. Without Mercutio’s death, there is no need for Tybalt’s death. Perhaps Tybalt’s death is better described as the reason for Mercutio death.

As soon as Tybalt falls to the ground, Romeo stands in a daze, realizing what he has done and is immediately shocked, stunned. He realizes he should not have said what he said, and should have thought about his actions more carefully, controlling his temper. ‘O, I am fortune’s fool.’ Here, Romeo regrets his actions and claims he is a victim of bad luck. The audience knows there is worse to come, but Romeo, himself, does not. This is an example of dramatic irony, where the audience knows what the character does not. Murdering Tybalt was a terrible thing to do because he was Juliet’s favourite cousin and also Romeo is now a part of the Capulet family and murdering Tybalt would surely mean the Capulet’s will be against him being accepted as ‘one of them.

Fate played a major role in this scene because the duel could have happened anywhere in Verona. The fact that it took place at the exact time and place where Romeo was heading could only have happened by fate. The line which is most telling to the theme of fate in this scene of Romeo and Juliet is. ‘O, I am fortune’s fool.’ At this point Romeo realizes his life is out of control. Right after Mercutio’s death Romeo says: ‘This day’s black fate on mo days doth depend; Romeo knows fate has entered into his life and he wants to blame fortune for the two deaths that have just occurred, rather than to think about what he could have done to stop them occurring. The way in which the play is written perhaps makes us more sympathetic towards Romeo, because we know that he has just married Juliet, whilst the characters on stage do not.

Romeo could have acted in a more sensible way to Tybalt’s challenge, instead of coming out with the words, which provoked Mercutio into violence. His intervention between Mercutio and Tybalt may have caused his friend’s death. His attempts to remain loyal to both his friends and his wife Juliet were doomed to failure.

It is clear that conflict plays a major role in this scene of the play. The theme of conflict is expressed through both physical and verbal fighting as well as the interaction between characters and the use of wordplay. In this act of the play you have Juliet’s favourite cousin trying to kill Romeo, who is now married to Juliet and also related to Tybalt. By marrying Juliet Romeo has symbolically tried putting the feud behind him, but finds he cannot. When his best friend, Mercutio is killed by Tybalt, Romeo wants nothing but revenge which puts into action a series of events, one of them being his banishment from Verona, leading to a tragic end for the lovers. The Capulets and Montague’s hate each other, Juliet has an arranged marriage to Paris, and there is a plague in the city of the messenger. So it is a case of both bad luck and fate that cause the deaths of Romeo and Juliet.

This scene is important to the play as it is the pivotal scene and where loves turns into tragedy, misfortune and, of course, death. Where the mood and atmosphere of the play changes.

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