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Romeo and Juliet - Coursework Example

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Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare’s well-loved tragic love story Romeo and Juliet is a five-act play that tells of the fictional star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet. Although popularised by Shakespeare who wrote it in the late 1500s, the story was already sort of a legend throughout Europe and was in fact, adopted by Arthur Brooke as a poem that he titled “The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet” two years before Shakespeare was born.1 The popularity of the Shakespearean version, however, is owed much to its writer’s genius, skill in wordplay and effective use of imagery to project and emphasise the tragic nature of the story…
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Romeo and Juliet

Dramatic Devices in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet Formal patterning is the meticulous arrangements of events, characters and scenes that help shape and form a play’s storyline. This is an important dramatic device because it allows the audience to discern and anticipate the flow of the story enough to gain interest and pay close attention to it. To achieve this in Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare constructed parallel scenes where characters that are about to play important roles in the tragic end are constantly present and developed, helping build the momentum and anticipation of the tragic end. Formal patterning is also employed to build a close synergy between opposing ideas such as “comedy and tragedy, triviality and seriousness, laughter and tears, minuteness and vastness, youth and age, and of course, love and death.”2 The use of this device keeps the audience’s interest from straying away because of the conflicting nuances of the play. Dramatic irony, on the other hand, is another device that keeps the audience’s attention because it grants important knowledge to the former that is not shared by some of the important characters. The tension that this knowledge creates, especially when the characters’ lack of knowledge threatens the turn of events, necessarily gets the involvement of the audience, and hence, keeps it focused on the play. The employment of dramatic irony in Romeo and Juliet does not only happen in the course of the later scenes, but is strewn throughout the play in small doses so as not to detract its impact in the last act. Foreshadowing is another dramatic device and it means the employment of suggestive words or images that indicate to the audience what will happen next in the course of the play.3 The purpose of foreshadowing is to build suspense because it allows the audience to anticipate the next scenes, engage in guesswork and validate them by closely following the story. This motivates them not to keep their attention off the play. Shakespeare employs this technique abundantly in Romeo and Juliet, largely through the chorus and the dialogues of various characters. The prologue, for example, speaks of a “pair of star-crossed lovers take their life” that hints to the audience a tragedy about to happen in the course of the play. Two Scenes as Concrete Examples: Formal Patterning In Act 1, Scene 1, the characters of Tybalt, Mercutio and Paris, among others, are introduced. Tybalt plays a pivotal role as his death serves as a catalyst in Capulet’s decision to marry off Juliet to Paris and Romeo’s banishment from Verona. He is introduced early on in Act 1, scene 1 as a vain, proud and aggressive cousin of Juliet. He is likewise made to appear in subsequent scenes where his aggressiveness and hatred for the Montagues become more and more evident. The early introduction of such characters as Tybalt, Mercutio and Paris, among others, and their recurring presence in subsequent acts and scenes allow their respective ... Read More
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