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Examining How Act One, Scene One of Romeo and Juliet Raises the Audience's Expectations of the Rest of the Play

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Romeo and Juliet is a famous play that was first performed between 1594 and 1595, it was first printed in 1597. Romeo and Juliet is not entirely fictional as it is based on two lovers who lived in Verona. The Montague’s and Capulet’s are also real. Romeo and Juliet is one of the ten tragedies that William Shakespeare wrote. In this essay, I aim to investigate what act 1, scene1 makes you expect about the rest of the play.

In act 1 scene 1, the characters are all individual and unique. Shakespeare has written this scene so that it starts from the lowest rank in the families, the servants, to the highest, the lords. By doing this, he has made the audience aware of the fact that everyone who is part of the families is also part of the battle. During this scene, we come across important characters these include: Benvolio, Tybalt, Lord Montague, Lord Capulet, Prince Escales and Romeo. Shakespeare has used the characters names to tell us what to expect them to be like for the rest of the life. The name Benvolio means good will, from this you can expect Benvolio not be involved in the battle. You can see this when he says “Part, fools! Put up your swords, you know not what you do”. The name Tybalt means tyrant this makes you expect him to be a cruel person. You can also see this when he says “What drawn and talk of peace? I hate the word as I hate hell, all Montague’s and thee”. Prince Escales plays a big role in act 1 because he is the representation of law and order. If you remove the letter E from his name it spells scales this gives evidence that the Prince wants things to be balanced and he is serious. You can see this when he says “If ever you disturb our streets again. Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace”. For most c...


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...it or unsure. You can see this when Benvolio answers Lady Montague in 1.1.112-124. Metaphors are also used you can see this in 1.1.184-185 “Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs. Being purged, a fire sparkling in lover's eye”. Oxymoron’s are used in 1.1.170 when Romeo says “O brawling love, O brawling hate”.
In this essay I have talked about the devices that are used to raise your expectations even though some of them are false. Romeo and Juliet has many things that an audience can detect to know what they can expect from the rest of the play. I think that to be able to detect these things it can heavily depend on the audience. There are many things that Shakespeare’s audiences would have noticed because they understood the language. Contemporary audiences would have noticed certain things because of what they saw such as how the characters behave.



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