How does Shakespeare use character, motivation and language in act 1 scene 5 to move the plot forward?
Romeo and Juliet is a play that was written by William Shakespeare at around play is mainly about two young lovers in Verona. Their families have fought against each other for years, their feud only ending with the children's' demise. The main themes of the play are romance and tragedy. I am going to analyse how Shakespeare uses character, motivation and language in act 1 scene 5 to move the plot forward.
Act 1 scene 5 is an important part of the play. The scene is significant as it is when Romeo and Juliet meet for the first time and eventually find out each other's identity .The scene is important as it moves the play forward and reveals characters' motivations .In the scene, Romeo attends a ball held by Lord Capulet, in disguise, so that he can meet Rosaline, a woman he is in love with. However, when Romeo sees Juliet he falls in love with her instead. Tybalt recognises Romeo and want to fight him, but is told not to by Capulet.
Romeo's mood towards the act of Act 1 Scene 4 is relevant to the play, as he feels apprehensive and predicts his own death. "Some consequence yet hanging in the stars shall bitterly begin his fearful date" This was spoken sincerely by Romeo and the audience would have realised that this was a prediction of what was to come so would have wanted to continue watching the play as they would want to see if Romeo was correct or not. The audience would expect Romeo's prediction to be accurate as grim predictions and the theme of fate was common in Shakespeare's plays.
Act 1 Scene 5 begins with the servants of the Capulet family preparing for the ball. The servants are busy, as they work. The dialogue between the servants helps the audience be aware of the mood of the characters. The atmosphere of the characters seems to be tense. ''Where's Potpan that he helps not to take away ball. He shift a trencher? He scrape a trencher!''The use of exclamations shows the frantic mood of the servants. The frantic statement about Potpan's disappearance sounds hasty and resentful. This comment would let the audience know how the characters felt, in this case, worried and busy. The quote could also be construed as uncouth or crude, to some of the audience, in the Shakespearian era. This showed the difference in class and social status between the servants and the Capulet family.
When Capulet held a ball, this was an important part of the play as it is here Romeo first met Juliet. The mood of the scene contrasts with the end of Act 1 Scene 4 because the atmosphere in that scene had been violent and dangerous. "Look upon thy death". Act 1 Scene 4 had been based on the hostilities of the Montagues and Capulets, but in the scene of the ball, Capulet acts graciously to Montagues. Capulet greeted his guests courteously, and his dialogue in this scene helped the audience understand more about his character. Capulet is a good host who enjoyed bantering and joking with his guests. "Welcome, gentlemen! I have seen the day that I have worn a visor and could tell a whispering tale in a fair lady's ear." This sentence can make Capulet seem joyful and jovial, as he seemed enthusiastic as he urged the musicians to play. Although Capulet himself was too old to dance with the others, he was focusing on ensuring the guests had a good time and happily reminisced his 's description of his youth foreshadows what Romeo will encounter, as he was wearing a visor when he first met Juliet. However, Romeo's experience would lead to his death. Capulet repeats the word "Welcome" and acts gracious and welcoming to Romeo. This is dramatic irony because the audience knows that Romeo is going to die because of the Capulets, and it is attending the ball, and meeting Juliet, which leads to his death. This is also ironic because if Capulet had acted in the expected way for a Capulet to treat a Montague, which would be with hostility, he would have sent Romeo away, this could have saved Romeo and Juliet's lives, for they would never have met and died together.
When Romeo first met Juliet, he immediately fell in love with her .He fell in love with Juliet before he actually met her, and got to know her character, as he did with Rosaline. When he saw Juliet, he forgot his love with Rosaline immediately, which reveals his fickle nature. Both loves he harboured were based on aesthetics alone, as he fell in love with them before he talked to them. Upon first seeing Juliet, he was dazzled by her beauty 'Oh she doth teach the torches to burn bright!' This shows how beautiful and exuberant Romeo thinks Juliet is. Alliteration is used in this sentence. The sentence seems repetitive, which reinforces the idea that the love that Romeo feels for Juliet is more potent, and less superficial and shallow than the love he had for Rosaline, as it is all that he can think about. This point was made early in the story, so that when Romeo and Juliet eloped, the love they had for each other seemed true and sincere .The scene is very tense when Romeo and Juliet become aware of each others' true identities because the families that both characters belong to are enemies of each other which complicated the scene. Romeo described Juliet as being "Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear."This sentence is a simile and shows that Romeo considers Juliet to look beautiful and to be precious. When Romeo is describing Juliet, he foreshadows her death too. "Beauty too rich for use,for earth too dear!" This would remind the audience of Romeo's prediction of his own death and of the prologue, which informed the audience that both Romeo and Juliet would die. When describing Juliet, Romeo said "So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows" This statement is a metaphor. Doves are symbolic creatures and are often used in literature to represent beauty, serenity and purity. This contrasts with crows. They are seen as being undignified and ugly. This suggests that Romeo felt that Juliet dimmed the other women's beauty with her mere presence and that, when compared to Juliet, the other women were hideous. Romeo speaks in rhyming couplets which show what a whimsical, romantic personality he has. He speaks in rhyming couplets by himself, before he meets Juliet, but when they meet, they speak together in sonnet form. This shows that before Juliet, Romeo was a solitary figure, but once he met Juliet, they bonded so strongly that they speak perfectly together. This would hint that their love was destined to be, as people in the Shakespearian era believed that certain things were fated to be, and that man had no control over this. This indicates that Romeo had no control over his love for Juliet, he could not stop his feelings for her and the fact that he would discover that she was his enemy would not be able to stop his love for her.
Tybalt and Capulet are both prominent characters in the play, and their personalities and motivations are revealed in act 1 scene 5, which is another reason for the significance of this scene. Tybalt and Capulet had a heated conversation in this scene, which occurred when Tybalt saw Romeo at the ball. Tybalt was a quick-tempered man who was firmly behind the feud between the Montagues and Capulets. The way Tybalt reacts in the situation reveals that he is a harsh man who deals with problems by using violence. "Fetch me my rapier, boy". Tybalt uses violent words like "Rapier" and "dead" which show how violent he is and his brutal intentions for Romeo further on in the play. Tybalt felt that Romeo was offending the Capulets by attending the ball, as he felt that Romeo had come to mock them. "This is a Montague, our foe! A villain that is hither come in spite, to scorn at our solemnity this night," The audience would guess that Tybalt's hostile nature would lead him to resolve the matter by fighting Romeo. Tybalt's harsh words would define his overbearing and obstinate personality, which would make the audience aware that Tybalt was probably going to ignore Capulet's order and was going to bear a grudge against Romeo. Capulet forbade Tybalt to fight with Romeo, once they realise who he is. He said this was because he had heard positive things about Romeo, that he was 'virtuous' and 'well-governed' and that Capulet could not fight a guest in his own house, as it would contradict with his honour. This gives insight into Capulet's character as he shows he is an honourable man, and only combative when he absolutely needs to 's motivation for not wanting to start a fight was because the Prince of Verona issued a law stating that if the Montagues and Capulets fought each other again, they all would be executed. This was the main motivation for Capulet's insistence on being civil to Romeo. The law issued by the Prince moved the plot forward because this law suddenly put every Montague and Capulet in danger of being executed, if they fought again, which seemed likely to happen. Feuds in plays, in the Shakespearian era, were usually solved by fighting together until there was a winner. This hints that the Montague and Capulet feud was probably going to end with a fatal fight.
Upon meeting each other, Romeo and Juliet speak together, in sonnet form. "Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' sake" "Then move not, while I take my prayers' effect I take". The characters speak in a sonnet form together, as it reinforces the strength of their mutual love, because in the beginning they rhyme by themselves but eventually they rhyme with each other. Religious imagery is used, with words like "Saints" and "Prayer". This hints that Romeo and Juliet feel so strongly that meeting each other is like a miracle to them. People were very religious in the Shakespearian era, which means that they would be familiar with the religious imagery and would believe in fate and God. This reinforces the idea of the love between Romeo and Juliet being destiny. Romeo and Juliet kiss in their scene when they first meet "You kiss by the book". This would be shocking to the audience as in the Shakespearian time; people did not kiss when they just met someone. Women would marry young, as virgins, so that they would be pure for their husbands. The audience would be surprised that Juliet had let Romeo kiss her, when she was supposed to let her parents choose who she would court. Juliet was also supposed to consider marrying Paris, so acting so boldly with Romeo shows that she felt very strongly for him.
The Nurse has a significant role in developing the plot, mainly because she is the one responsible for alerting Romeo to Juliet's true identity. When asked by Romeo "What is her mother?" she replied with "Marry, bachelor, her mother is the lady of the house."This was a pivotal moment in the play as Romeo's reaction to this news could determine his actions. The nurse was also responsible for helping Juliet learn who Romeo is. Juliet confided more in the nurse than her mother, possibly because the nurse had had a more demonstrative role in raising Juliet. This indicates that the nurse and Juliet had a close relationship, which would be important later in the play, as the audience would wonder whether the nurse would help Romeo and Juliet, when she discovered their relationship.
The atmosphere of the play rapidly changes, such as when Juliet discovers Romeo's identity. "My only love sprung from my only hate!" These strong changes in emotion are a central theme in the play, as love and violence are often the motivations between the characters' actions. Also, the audience will know from the prologue that violence between the two families will ensue, because of the love Romeo and Juliet feel for each other, and also that the two young lovers will die. This shows that violence and love are important themes to the play. The scene where Juliet discovers that Romeo is a Montague is a scene that ends with a discontented, anxious mood, which reflects how Romeo and Juliet are feeling. This sets a precedent for the theme of the play, and the apprehension, anxiety and sadness that the characters will feel later on.
In conclusion, the way that Shakespeare uses character, motivation and language in act 1 scene 5 to move the plot forward is by using literary devices such as alliteration, metaphors, similes, blank verse, and religious imagery. The use of language and literary devices in a character's speech reflects their motivations and true intentions. This helps the audience become more aware of how the plot is going to develop, because the characters, through their use of language, have indicated their feelings. The play can be interpreted as having many moral messages for the reader. The main message of the play is that when tragedy occurs, it can unite people, because the deaths of Romeo and Juliet lead to the old feud between the Montagues and the Capulets to be resolved. The play could also follow the message that rushing into life-changing decisions such as, eloping can only end in tragedy. The play is still relevant today because many people still believe in love at first sight, and marry young. It can teach us the importance of thinking before making quick decisions and the bad effects of love. I found the scene where Romeo and Juliet killed themselves to be especially moving and it reinforced the theme of Tragedy.