Why is act 1 scene 5 such an important scene in Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet is a play depicting the struggles between two “star crossed lovers” who just want to be together although their families purely disagree. The plot of the play is set due to the prologue written as a sonnet in the beginning which implicates that it is a love story as two people fall in love “pair of star-crossed lovers” it also shows that it is a tragedy as it said that Romeo and Juliet “take their life” and their “death bury their parents strife” showing their deaths brought down the conflict of their families.
Act 1 scene 5 is very important to the whole play due to the fact that it initiates everything that occurs within the play, initially before this scene the play is set with two families in a feud. There are two families at war with each other each “alike in dignity”. The heads of these two families are lord Capulet and lord Montague. The opening scene sets the whole play off as it starts with a fight between these two families as they fought in the streets of Verona all showing that the hatred for one another is immense.
To begin with in the first scene Romeos character is shown to be a man devoting himself to love he is well aware of the feud that occurs but absolutely hates it and does not participate in any way thus showing the type of peaceful and romantic kind of a character he is. When the Montague’s bring back their wounded and injured after a fight Romeo witnesses it in sadness while he is coming back from the “covert of the woods” in which he was drove to via a “troubled mind” probably thinking of his love of Rosaline this would add to the confusion of the audience as the title is about Romeo and Juliet not Romeo and Rosaline.
Also it looks as if Romeo is not really in love but he is actually in love with the thought of love. To be able to see his love Rosaline Romeo and his friends decide to go gatecrash the Capulet’s party, although prior to this Romeo has a premonition of bad things that may come “I fear too early for my mind misgives some consequences yet hanging in the stars, by some vile forfeit of untimely death. ” Other premonitions include Juliet looking down on Romeo as if she is looking at him in a “tomb” also there is the fact that Mercutio put a curse on the two families “a plague a’ both your houses”.
During this time the audience is misled as Paris asked Juliet’s father if he could marry Juliet “the valiant Paris seeks you for his wife” where as the audience of the play would be confused as she was about to accept the proposal, until she meets Romeo. Now it can seem as though these to would never meet and don’t need to meet as there lives are going perfectly Romeo would get Rosaline and Juliet gets Paris. Although after the crucial act 1 scene 5 this is not the case.
The behaviour of the main characters vary as some want to keep the feud going like Tybalt and some just want peace like Benvolio. The hatred can be described by the first scene of the play because even the servants want to keep the feud going as they find that they have to fight for their masters “the quarrel is between our masters, and us their men” for example in the market street the servants of the Montague’s were out shopping when the Capulet’s were out as well.
The Montague servants bite their thumbs at the Capulet’s to signify a sign of disrespect “I will bite my thumb at them which is disgrace to them if they can bear it”. From here on the conversation escalated then the Kinsmen of both parties masters arrive and a fight starts it is from here where in which small squabbles lead to big epidemics. This shows that the hatred for one another is so immense that a full scale war can start by one person biting their thumb.
Lord Capulet acts differently throughout the play as in this scene he acts out to be joy full and jovial in a laughable mood “welcome gentlemen, ladies that have their toes unplagued with corns” he spoke as if nothing could ruin his party even if it has been gate crashed by the enemy. He himself stops Tybalt from fighting with Romeo “young Romeo is it? Let him alone” he shall be “endured”. In contrast the initial connotation in Act 1 scene 1 perceived of sir Capulet as negative and it is thought that his character would be bad throughout but it is not as shown earlier.
In act 1 scene 1 when there was a fight sir Capulet wanted to take part and says “give me my sword ho” he was ready and prepared to go get some Montague blood as he was speaking in anger and eagerness this showed a totally different side to him. Another scene which gives an example of sir Capulet’s range of emotions is in act 3 scene 5 in which Juliet refuses to marry Paris, sir Capulet’s response is definitely not jovial and he certainly was not in a laughable mood his words were a lot more harsh serious and dire “hang thee young baggage, disobedient wretch,” “we have a curse in having her”.
From this I believe that his behaviour is untypical as it is contrasts itself in different scenes. Tybalt’s role in the play is like the fuel for the fire because he wants to keep the feud going. The other main characters in the play have a point in which they can postpone the hatred for one another but Tybalt just wants to carry on going for example in the Capulet’s party he was prepared to fight Romeo in front of everyone not caring about the mockery or shame that it may have on the Capulet’s or the fact that it would ruin the party.
His character is shown throughout as cold blooded and heartless this is shown because during nearly all of his scenes he is fighting or prepared to start a fight for example in Act 1 scene 1 Benvolio enters and says “part fools put up your swords, I do but keep the peace” Tybalt replies “peace I hate the word as I hate hell all Montague’s and thee”. Also in Act 3 scene 1 his character is again portrayed as someone prepared to fight and kill due to the fact that Mercutio died in this scene being stabbed by Tybalt even though his quarrel was with Romeo.
This is all showing that Tybalt’s behaviour is purely typical in all scenes which he is in. Romeo’s character is already shown in the first scene as a romantic kind as he comes from the “covert of the woods” which he was drove to via a “troubled mind” it is as if he is trying to hide away to think about his first love Rosaline whilst his family is having a full scale feud. At this stage it can be said that Romeo is acting child like as it can be called a school boy crush due to him not being in real love instead it could be referred to as courtly love furthermore it seems that he was just in love with the thought of being in love.
But once Romeo has witnessed the beauty of Juliet in act 1 scene 5 his crush for Rosaline was thrown out of the window and his love for Juliet has just flown In. This can be shown because he questions his love for Rosaline “did my heart love till now. Forswear it sight, for I ne’er saw true beauty till this night. ” He is intrigued and transfixed. On the other hand once he finds out that Juliet is the daughter of his families very enemy he is shocked “is she a Capulet? O dear account! My life is my foe’s debt”.
His character is shown a peaceful person but can be drove to the brink of destruction in this case he could murder Tybalt in revenge of Mercutio’s death “Romeo away be gone the citizens are up, and Tybalt slain”, although the majority of his behaviour in all scenes is shown as him being typically romantic. Juliet was initially going to be married to Paris which was not of her choice but her fathers due to the fact that Paris is related to the prince. Whilst she was in the decision for the marriage proposal of Paris she kisses Romeo.
When she finds out that Romeo is a Montague her world turns upside down “my only love sprung from my only hate” but later on in the play it is seen that Juliet loves Romeo so much that she would get rid of her Capulet name just to be with him. Thus showing Juliet as a romantic type who wanted to marry for love and Romeo was her “only love” and Paris forgotten, also she couldn’t resist temptation as she kissed Romeo in this scene from which she was meant to get to know and decide whether to marry Paris, furthermore the dramatic irony would remain as the audience would know there back rounds but they would not.
This is all showing that Juliet is being portrayed as a typical character The nurse plays an important role in the play due to the fact that she is the one who informs Juliet who Romeo is and the fact that he is a Montague also telling Romeo who Juliet is and that she is a Capulet. Later on in the play the nurse is the one who acts like a messenger between the two. For example she initially goes to Romeo and arranges with him when he will marry Juliet.
Then she goes to Romeo to tell him that Juliet still loves him even though he has just killed Tybalt. This is all showing that her behaviour is typical throughout as she is like the messenger and is always trying to help Juliet as she is a like a mother to her because Juliet’s own mother couldn’t even speak to her without having her there. “Nurse give leave a while” then when she realises she is on her own with Juliet she calls the nurse back again “nurse come back again”.
The events of this scene lead to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet as their first meeting was in this scene if Romeo never set eyes on her the two couples would have had normal lives as Romeo would have pursued his love for Rosaline and Juliet could carry on thinking about Paris’s proposal but after setting eyes on each other everything began, from there marriage to there dramatically ironic deaths.
As well as this the events from act 1 scene 5 lead to the deaths of Tybalt and Mercutio it also could be said that these events lead to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet because Romeo had to be exiled for killing Tybalt. The events concluding act 3 scene 1 such as Mercutio and Tybalt meeting their untimely demise justify Romeo’s earlier premonition of “some forfeit of untimely death”.
The deaths of Tybalt and Mercutio was due to Romeo and his friends gate crashing the Capulet’s party even though sir Capulet was well aware of this he took no action although Tybalt was prepared to fight Romeo but was stopped by Capulet “you shall not endure him” he was stopped due to the fact that Capulet thought that Tybalt would make a “mutiny among the guests after this fights broke out the next morning in which Mercutio dies and curses the two families “a plague a’ both your houses”
The 14 line sonnet within this scene offers Shakespeare a chance to show off his intellect in the way that he can include a poem in which the end of every two lines rhyme for example “prayers sake” and “effect I take”. He incorporates this sonnet into the play with the fact that he bases the sonnet on Romeo pursuing Juliet whilst Juliet is masking her obvious feelings by being coy.
This poem uses referencing to religion and reverences to god to add to the creativity of the poem due to the fact that Romeo tries to persuade Juliet into kissing him via playing on words and being clever as in once he initially saw Juliet he was stunned and sees Juliet as a “holy shrine” in which he is the sinful “pilgrim” who needs to kiss the holy shrine to repent his sins as the definition for a pilgrim is a person who travels a long distance to get to a shrine which people kiss so it may seem that he has travelled along way to find true beauty and love.
But in response to this Juliet says that instead of kissing we can join palms which is a pun in the fact that a palm can be referred to as a palm of a hand and a palm tree also people who carried palms on Palm Sunday are called palmers who are also religious in keeping with the theme. As well as this it could also implicate that the pilgrims and saints e. g. Romeo the pilgrim and Juliet the saint can join palms, “for saints have hands that pilgrims do touch. And palm to palm is holy palmers kiss” this is where it seems as if Juliet is playing hard to get due to the fact that she wants the kiss but believes that he has to work for it first.
Although Romeo can’t accept this as an answer so his reply is that don’t saints and pilgrims have lips, “have not saints lips and holy palmers too” Juliet then says that saints and pilgrims have lips but they are “lips that they use in prayer” then Romeo tries to push it even further he says “let lips do what hands do, they pray” now it seems that Juliet is slowly giving in and falling for her temptation as she replies with “saints do not move, though grant for prayers sake” indicating that she will not move but she can accept the kiss.
Romeo than lets his prayers take effect as he kisses her. “then not move while my prayers effect I take, thus from my lips, by thine my sin is purg’d. ” here he it is also saying that as he touches Juliet his unreligious sinful lips are purged throughout showing reverences to god and sacred things.
In conclusion to my essay I find that this scene sets off everything that happens in the play for example the deaths of Mercutio and Tybalt and the deaths of Romeo and Juliet I believe this because it is this scene within the party where Juliet and Romeo first meet and if they didn’t meet they wouldn’t get married and they wouldn’t die for each other, also I believe that if Mercutio and his friends didn’t gatecrash the party Tybalt would not be aggravated and he wouldn’t want to fight Romeo and then end up killing Mercutio and then Romeo wouldn’t have to avenge his death via killing Tybalt thus causing the fake death of Juliet then the real death of both. Also it offers the range of moods characters have like sir Capulet, and it proves that Tybalt’s character is typical throughout. So I conclude that this whole scene is so important because it sets the scene of the rest of the play so it initiates everything that occurs leading to the deaths and the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Also the feud between the families would be still ongoing but as it is already predestined in the prologue “doth with their death bury their parent’s strife”.
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