Shakespeare wrote the play ‘Romeo and Juliet in the early 1600s, when it would have shocked the audience watching its performances because of the dramatic effect created by the social context of those times. It is often considered to be one of the most tragic love stories of all time, and in my opinion it deserves to be known in this way. Act three scene five is a very dramatic scene with a lot of action and suspense. I will analyse the social context and layers of meaning in this scene to write about how dramatic effect is created.
Act three scene five begins as Romeo and Juliet wake up in the morning after their wedding night. However, neither of the lovers want it to be morning as Romeo has been exiled to Mantua for killing Juliet’s cousin Tybalt in a sword fight. If he doesn’t go then the Prince of Verona has stated that Romeo will be killed. Juliet tries to insist that it is still night and Romeo can stay longer, she says, “It was the nightingale and not the lark,” because the nightingale is a nocturnal bird whereas the lark is awake during the daytime. However Romeo doesn’t give in, and replies with “It was the lark, the herald of the mom, No nightingale.” He knows that he will be killed if he stays, however much he loves Juliet.
The tension that is created by the risks that they are taking in trying to pretend that it’s not morning also creates dramatic effect, as the audience are on Romeo’s side and don’t want him to stay for fear that his life might be taken. The longer the couple talk the more time passes and the dramatic effect increases.
The personification and metaphors in Romeo’s first paragraph, such as “night’s candles” and “severing clouds” makes the language more interesting and varied. Romeo says that the clouds are severing because he means that they are ripping apart his and Juliet’s relationship, as it is now daytime. This adds dramatic effect because it again reminds the audience of the danger that Romeo and Juliet are in. Romeo tells us that he hasn’t forgotten about this by telling us that “jocund day stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.” He then finishes up with the dramatic statement “I must be gone and live, or stay and die.” Through this sentence he is giving Juliet a choice, and bringing back the seriousness of the situation.
Then Juliet gives up trying to pretend that the bird was a nightingale. Instead she thinks of other excuses, such as saying that the light is “some meteor that the sun exhal’d.” To the audience she is obviously very distressed and I feel that her desperation shows that she is scared that she may never see Romeo again. She then continues with “Therefore stay yet, thou need’st not to be gone.” This plea to Romeo shows Juliet’s immaturity. However, it is important that the audience don’t forget that Juliet is not yet fourteen, and that this is almost certainly her first relationship.
She would never have been in this position before; I believe that it would be worse for her than for Romeo because she is the one being left behind with her family, all of whom think that she is upset about Tybalt and not Romeo. It was also very selfish of Juliet to try to persuade Romeo to stay, as she wants him to stay for her own happiness even though, if he were caught, he would be killed. As she is so young. perhaps she is trying to make herself believe that nothing would happen to Romeo and that they could carry on with a secret relationship with Romeo in hiding; she could have heard stories like this in fairytales when she was younger.
After hearing Juliet say this, Romeo decides that he loves her so much that if she wishes then he will stay: “Let me be tane, let me be put to death, I am content, so thou wilt have it so.” In the moment that he says this, Romeo forgets himself and throws away his mature approach to the situation. He doesn’t care about being put to death as long as he can be with Juliet.
This creates dramatic effect because the audience knew from the beginning of the play that Romeo and Juliet re going to die, because of the prologue that is read by the narrator. In the prologue it says that “A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life.” This is important because the audience don’t want him to stay because they are, by this point, on Romeo and Juliet’s side, and don’t want them to die.
Romeo then continues with “I’ll say yon grey is not the morning’s eye,” meaning that if Juliet wants then he will believe that it’s not morning and stay. This also shows his immaturity, as I believe that only a fool would pretend that they weren’t in great danger just because their lover wanted them to. Throughout the whole of the paragraph Romeo professes his love and that he will not go, finishing up with the lines “Come death, and welcome! Juliet wills it so.