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Act 1 scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet takes place in the house of lord and lady Capulet during the preparations for the Juliet’s engagement party and during the party its self. It is where Romeo and Juliet first meet before they realise who each other are and after they find out about each other. It is the basis of the whole play it is where Romeo and Juliet meet and fall in love with each other, it is where tybalt develops a grudge for Romeo “I will withdraw: but this intrusion shall now seeming sweet convent to bitter gall” this quote shows that he will not take any action for now but will do something later on.
Shakespeare uses this party as a backdrop to what is arguably one of the most important scenes in the play because there it creates a atmosphere of tension and love, all the major events that happen later in the play can be traced back to this moment from Romeos banishment to Juliet drinking the poison to both of there deaths.
This scene begins with the servants running around in a panic trying to get ready for the up coming party they are also in a panic because they cannot find potpan who is another servant “where’s potpan that he helps not to take away” this quote shows that they are very frustrated with the preparations for the party this is further reinforced by there constant use of short sentences and blunt orders e. g. “Away with the joint stools, remove the court cupboard”.
Parties were traditionally used as settings for important events in many dramas at the time Shakespeare was writing Romeo and Juliet and as such the audience would be anticipating an exciting or important event so the scene would be set for the star-crossed lovers to meet. As Lord Capulet and Juliet enters the room Shakespeare changes the focus from the servants to Lord Capulet welcoming his guests it is at this point that the audience is beginning that something pivotal is about to happen.
He is in a very jovial mood wanting people to dance with him “Ladies that have their toes unplagued with corns will have a bout about you, which of you will now deny a dance”. The audience is now expecting something important to happen because there are many actors on a very busy stage all dressed in extravagant costumes.
After Capulet is done welcoming his guests the viewpoint switches to Romeo as he starts talking to one of the serving men asking about Juliet, This is a point of immense dramatic irony as Romeo begins to fall in love with Juliet before he even knows who she is and that she is the daughter of his family’s greatest enemy and the audience begins to get an ominous feeling as they know that this love can only end in tragedy.
In his soliloquy Romeo uses many forms of imagery to describe Juliet such as “snowy dove trooping with crows” the snowy dove indicates beauty and grace where as the crows mean ugliness so the quote implies that Juliet is the one drop of beauty in a cloud of ugliness and also “she doth teach the torches to burn bright” it shows that compared to everything else she shines out like a star against the blackness of space And “And, touching hers, make blessed my rude hand” means that until he touched her hand he was dirty and ugly but since he touched her hand he has felt blessed and clean.
The above quotes show that his love for Juliet is true love and will never be extinguished and not just a passing lust as was his love for Rosaline, which was more of a circumstancuial lust. When Tybalt hears Romeos voice he is immediately angered to the point in which he wants to kill him “This, by his voice, should be a Montague. Fetch me my rapier, boy” and “to strike him dead I hold it not a sin” it means that he finds it ok and not sinful to kill Romeo because he is doing in for his family’s honour and so it would be ok in the eyes of god.
The audience will now start to get worried about Romeos safety and would be concerned about for the future of him and Juliet But as Lord Capulet hears him storming about Romeo he ask what is a matter “why how now kinsman wherefore storm you so? ” Tybalt then tells him that Romeo is at the party “uncle this is a Montague, our foe a villain that is hither come in spite to scorn at our solemnity this night” but then Capulet tell him that he doesn’t want his party ruined by violence and to let him stay “let him alone he bares him a portly gentleman” and “he shall be endured what, Goodman boy!
I say, he shall: go to, am I the master here or you? ” this last quote is more of a threat not to ruin the party and to leave him be than an order to leave him alone. When he accepts his uncle’s wishes he says “I will withdraw but this intrusion shall now seeming sweet convent to bitter gall” this implies that he will let Romeo go for now but sooner or later there conflict will have to come to violence.
It is now that Shakespeare switches again to the viewpoint of Romeo as he starts talking to Juliet it is at this point that the audience know that they are both about to fall in love but as Juliet talk they do not yet know that they are both from enemy family’s and that there love will never be allowed, but as Romeo proclaims his love for Juliet “if I profane with my unworthiness hand this holy shrine, the gentle fine is my lips, ready stand to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss” it is from this point on that the audience know that the two are destined to be lovers but that they are both doomed to death.
It is at this point that the nurse comes and takes Juliet away telling her that her mother needs a word with her “madam, your mother craves a word with you it is here that the nurse informs Juliet that Romeo is a Montague “his name is Romeo, and a Montague the only son of your great enemy” the audience may now begin to understand the future complications that may arise as there true identities are brought into the light such as the problem of the nurse having to go with Juliet to all her meetings thus making it impossible to do anything in secret.
The party comes to an end as all the guests begin to leave Lord Capulet is disappointed that the guests are leaving “Nay gentlemen, prepare not to be gone we have a trifling foolish banquet towards” but he is still in good sprits after the party even after his argument with Tybalt “I thank you honest gentlemen; goodnight, more torches here come on lets to bed” it is here that all the other characters exit the stage leaving only Juliet and the nurse onstage with the audience expecting the climax of the scene when Juliet discovers who Romeo really is Shakespeare.
Makes use of dramatic irony very well in this scene leaving it until the very end of the scene to divulge the information to Juliet as she finds out of his true identity “his name is Romeo he is a Montague the only son of your great enemy” she uses several oxymoron’s to get her shock and heart ache across to the audience “my only love sprung from my true hate” if she truly hated him how could she ever love him?
“To early seen unknown and known too late” meaning if she had know who he was from the start she may never of fallen in love with him but now she has fallen in love it doesn’t matter who he is, this dramatic end shows that she loves him so much and that he loves her that they will do anything to be together even if it means upsetting there families or leading to her eventual death as it eventually does.
This scene is central to the rest of the play because without this scene they would never of met and every major event in the play depends on them meeting such as when he climbs under her balcony and stating the immortal words “Romeo, Romeo, where fort art thou Romeo” to the wedding through to Romeos exile and to both of there eventual deaths. In my opinion this scene makes very good use of dramatic irony using in perpetuity throughout the scene.