Romeo And Juliet - Act 1, Scene 5


Act1 Scene5 is hugely important to the rest of the play. It incorporates the roots of love where both Romeo and Juliet become infatuated with each other, even though Romeo has just broken up with his previous love, Rosaline, and with these roots shows some of what is yet to come, foreshadowing. Also it shows the warring nature between the houses of Capulet and Montague, where at the party, Tybalt; Juliet’s cousin, who on seeing a Montague at the Capulet’s party goes straight to his uncle to get them thrown out, but also of the penalty of torture if another civil brawl breaks out, this is shown that when Tybalt complains to his uncle, sir Capulet, who says that they are guests and it shall not be taken to remove them or start a fight.

In the opening of Act1 scene5 we see some serving men rushing about getting the great hall ready for the party. One of the serving men is shouting for another person showing that there is a lot of activity and that there are still more people needed. He shouts, “Where’s Potpan, that he helps not to take away? He shift a trencher? He scrape a trencher”. This shows that even though there are many people helping out with the party there are still not enough people, shown when the serving man uses the rhetorical question to show that he needs more people even though everyone is already doing something. When Sir Capulet comes out there is even more commotion, with the line, “A hall, a hall, give room! And foot it girls.”, everyone starts to dance. This shows that there is a happy and upbeat atmosphere and that everyone is enjoying themselves.

At the masked ball of the Capulet’s shows Romeo’s unstoppable falling in love with Juliet. When Romeo first sees Juliet he uses metaphors like “a snowy dove” and “teaches the torches to burn right”. This shows that Romeo thinks Juliet’s beauty shines and that she is as beautiful as snow. When he first sees Juliet he says a sonnet that uses iambic pentameter which during the age when this was written was considered to be of the upper class. Shakespeare uses the visual imagery of the party and everyone dancing to illustrate that even thought Romeo was so sad that Roseline had left him, that he could find love in the family of his enemy. “ o dear account! My life is my foe’s debt” shows that Romeo believes that with the words the “my foe’s debt” that if his family and Juliet’s family weren’t fighting they could be together.

The contrast between Romeo's words about Juliet and the confrontation between Capulet and Tybalt. When we see Romeo talking about being head over heels for Juliet, Tybalt is trying to get him thrown out. We see Tybalt at first dumbfounded when he sees Romeo, but as the song ends he rushes over to Capulet, who is sitting with some of his friends. “ content thee, gentle coz, let him alone”, is the line he tries to calm him with, “content thee” means calm yourself, which shows that he is looking out for his nephew so that he is not tortured by Paris’ men and when he says “gentle coz” it implies that he likes his nephew and thinks he is a calm friend. These two facts gives both a jolly atmosphere, but also a deeper felling of darkness or foreboding which could be related to future events that could happen in the play. Also this could be a catalyst for the events that happen later in the play, where Tybalt wants to start a fight with Romeo, who declines, so instead fights Mercutio, who he kills then Romeo retaliates and kills Tybalt. As soon as Romeo has done this, he deeply regrets it. “O, I am fortune’s fool” after he kills Tybalt, showing that he believes that fortune has played him “fortune’s fool”, because he has struck down his cousin-in-law because he killed his best friend. The playful but quick temperedness of Tybalt is shown in act 1 scene 5 when he discovers Romeo at the Capulet ball. In Act 1 Scene 5, Shakespeare gives Romeo a sonnet which in Elizabethan times was a highly admired skill, Juliet showing the love at first sight as a sonnet is seen as a love poem so showing that he can’t believe what he sees. He uses the religious imagery of a pilgrim and a saint to show that he thinks she is saintly compared to him. “dear saint, let lips do what hands do” shows that he wants the privilege of kissing Juliet’s lips like a person gets when he touches a saint’s hands. Also the quote, “my lips like two blushing pilgrims”, uses the metaphor to show with the word “pilgrims” that shows Romeo’s lips have waited a long time and have gone very far to find Juliet’s lips. Also the word “blushing” could show that Romeo is shy or worried or nervous about kissing Juliet. Plus the metaphor “palm to palm is holy, palmers’ kiss”, the palm was the only area on a woman’s body a man could touch before they were married, possibly foreshadowing events yet to come.

On discovering each other’s identity, both Romeo and Juliet are extremely sad that each other are of the opposite warring house. On lines 117 and lines 137-140 both say how their love is of their enemy and that they may never see each other again. Juliet says that it was “too early seen unknown, and known too late”. It shows she fell in love with him before finding out who he truly was and if she should have fell in love with him.

In Act 1 Scene 5 Shakespeare manages to incorporate the themes of love, hate, death and a sense of foreboding. It starts off with love when Romeo and Juliet first lock eyes, to when Tybalt sees them and becomes enraged.

Overall this scene could be described as a microcosm of the whole play. It has the love of Romeo and Juliet as they spiral into an overpowering sense of passion for each other. The warring nature between Capulet’s and Montague’s, where Tybalt discovers Romeo’s identity and becomes fuming at the idea of him invading the festivities. The symbolism in the scene is woven in finely in today’s culture but when this play was written, it incorporated many ‘relevant’ events showing historical and religious reference woven into a hugely famous play around the world.

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