Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare

This sample essay on Bitterest Gall provides important aspects of the issue and arguments for and against as well as the needed facts. Read on this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.

Explain how Shakespeare makes act 1, scene 5 such a memorable experience for the audience. To what extent does this scene confirm the status of Romeo and Juliet as “star-crossed lovers”?

Act 1, scene 5 is a particularly memorable experience in Romeo and Juliet. Most importantly it marks the first meeting of the title characters to which the play has been building up too all the way till now.

Shakespeare has put off the two lead characters meeting up till this point to heighten the expectancy and thus make it a more memorable scene. Shakespeare uses a sonnet to show hoe the characters are in harmony, again adding to the unforgettable nature of the scene. This scene also affirms the status of the characters as star-crossed lovers due too the two characters finding that there the person they have just fallen in love with is actually there sworn enemy.

I Will Withdraw But This Intrusion Shall

Language in this scene plays a big part in making it so memorable. Shakespeare uses imagery to show how Romeo feels about Juliet; he expresses his wonder upon seeing her in lines 43-52:

“Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear”

This line shows that Romeo clearly thinks Juliet is a beautiful woman and thinks of her as a thing too beautiful for earth.

Romeo also says how dazzled he is by her beauty and can only stand in awe;

“…As a rich jewel in an Ethiops ear”

This compares Juliet in the night too being as impressive and beautiful as that of a Jewell on black skin.

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Tybalts reaction, however, could not be more be more different when he spots Romeo. Tybalt uses short, blunt and too the point sentences in contrast to Romeo’s rich imagery. His words of insult create an extremely memorable point in the scene:

“…fetch me a rapier, boy”

Line 53-58 show that Tybalt is harbouring great hatred for Romeo and will go too extreme lengths to see him off. Tybalt also attempts to insult Romeo, by using words such as “slave”, “villain” and “our foe”.

Again Tybalt uses strikingly blunt language to portray his feelings of anger about Romeo’s presence:

“I’ll not endure him”

This clearly illustrates that Tybalt is far from happy with Romeo being there, despite the fact that his uncle, Lord Capulet, describes Romeo as, “virtuous” and “well governed”

Finally in lines 90-91 Tybalt utters his strongest words yet:

“I will withdraw, but this intrusion shall, now seeming sweet, convert to bitterest gall”

Here Tybalt issues a threat to Romeo that he will exact his revenge which latter in the play he tries to do leading to Mercutio’s and his own death, the banishment of Romeo which inevitably leads to the plays tragic ending. This, in turn, makes the scene very important but also very memorable.

Shakespeare, however, saves the best use of his language for the two main characters first meeting. This first exchange of words is in the form of a perfect Shakespearian sonnet and adds to the ease at which this scene is remembered:

“If I profain with my unworthiest hand…

Then move not while my prayers effect I take”

The lines 95-109 form the sonnet. This is particularly impressive as it is the first time the characters have met and along with their speech forming this sonnet it also forms rhyming couplets. All this only emphasise the fact that the two characters are “star-crossed lovers”. Shakespeare also creates a spiritual bond between the two using religious imagery such as “pilgrims”, “saints” and “sinners”.

Shakespeare also utilises structure to add to the drama of the scene. Shakespeare takes the audience on an emotional roller coaster which again adds to how memorable the scene is.

The scene opens with a light-hearted atmosphere. The serving men appear with some humorous moments:

“Save me a piece of marchpane”

This humorous opening adds to the importance of the more important issues of love and hate, and makes them more memorable when they come along.

Following on from this Tybalt change the feel of the scene by threatening Romeo with revenge for him coming to their party

“I will withdraw, but this intrusion shall, now seeming sweet, convert to bitterest gall”

This is particularly memorable due to the sudden change in mood of the scene

Finally, Shakespeare ends his scene with the two characters being “in love” with their “only hate”

“My life is my foes debt” (Romeo)

“My only love sprung from my only hate” (Juliet)

Upon learning the family name of the one that they have just fallen in love with, their thoughts echo each others sentiments: the one thing in life they are forced to hate (each others family) is now the only thing in life they can love; and thus the journey towards the plays tragic end begins.

Memorably, Shakespeare has brought together the plays two key themes, love and hate, in this scene. Romeo and Juliet’s reaction at the end of the scene reminds the audience of the “ancient grudge” which will act as an insurmountable barrier between the two lovers.

This scene also confirms how Romeo and Juliet are star-crossed lovers. The audience Shakespeare would have written this for would be the Elizabethan audience of his time. The audience would be particularly wary of these forces and perfectly aware of mans struggle against them.

In the prologue for the play this aspect of the play is illustrated vividly;

“…a pair of star-crossed lovers”

This would show the audience clearly that the stars were not in favour of these two and something tragic would happen at some point.

Romeo also comments about something in the stars at the end of Act 1 Scene 4;

“My mind misgives some consequence, yet hanging in the stars shall bitterly begin this fearful date”

This ominous and prophetic closing statement again suggests something is not right about him going to this party.

When Romeo and Juliet discover that their new love is in fact their sworn enemy they seem to predict a tragic end to there relationship:

“My life is my foes debt” (Romeo)

“…I must love a loathed enemy” (Juliet)

This confirms that Romeo and Juliet are not meant to be, however, they cannot stop loving each other and the journey to the story’s tragic end has unstoppably begun.

Undoubtedly Shakespeare’s audience would have been familiar with the force of fate and this scene clearly show that the two characters are I fact star-crossed lovers. Furthermore, Romeo and Juliet’s impulsive actions in this scene, together with their impact on those around them, confirms there status as tragic heroes. Shakespeare’s audiences, both today and at the time of writing, would have been familiar enough with the dramatic notion of tragedy to realise that, sadly, as a result of this scene, the forces of fate will mean that the play will end, as indeed it does, with Romeo and Juliet paying the ultimate price for their “death-mark’d love”

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Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from

Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare
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