Romeo and Juliet, commentary on Act 3, Scene 1
This extract is from the play entitled ‘Romeo and Juliet’, written by William Shakespeare. It can be found in act three scene one, where a fight is about to start between Mercutio, Benvolio, Romeo and Tybalt. This scene clearly portraits the enmity between Capulet and Montague, and through Tybalt’s and Mercutio’s death, we can see to what extent the characters are willing to fight in order to defend their honour and families. Patriarchy was very important in those days, the world was dominated by men and their honour codes, which meant that they had to fight to defend their honour.
This explains Mercutio’s shock when he sees Romeo refusing to fight against Tybalt and he says in line 40: “O calm, dishonourable, vile submission”. In this extract, Romeo appears as a very weak character when he pretends to be reasonable instead of fighting. A certain degree of femininity can be seen in Romeo’s character, which makes the reader believe that sooner or later, he will be crushed by the patriarchal society and their expectations. His behaviour in some way foreshadows what happens in the end, the patriarchal society caused his death and Juliet’s death as well, which means they did crush him.
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Moreover, the essential conflict developed in this scene is love against hate. The love between Romeo and Juliet love is fighting against a society full of hate, where love was just about domination. This is not only a theme explored in this scene, but is one of the most important themes of the whole play. Since the moment they met, Romeo and Juliet knew the hateful society would allow them to be happy easily. In this extract we can see that Shakespeare includes Mercutio. This character is important because he is the one used by the author to make puns.
Not only Shakespeare loved puns, but the whole Elizabethan society enjoy hearing them. Mercutio’s commentaries give the play scapegoat to all the drama and allow the audience to have fun while watching the play. One example of the use of puns can be seen in lines 6 and 7, when Benvolio says: “And but one word with one of us? Couple it with something; make it a word and a blow. ” Another characteristic of Mercutio is that he was always willing to fight. In the extract we can see that he and Tybalt share this characteristic, they both use violent language, for example in lines 14 and 15, Mercutio says: ” … ere’s my fiddlestick; here’s that shall make you dance. ”
Later on, in line 34 Tybalt says: “Therefore turn and draw. ” On the other hand, Benvolio and Romeo seem to be more calm. So, the entrance of Tybalt to the scene foreshadows problems. The author created a clear contrast between the behaviour and attitude of Romeo and the rest of the characters. Romeo’s speeches talk about love and try to avoid fighting, this can be seen foe example in line 36, when he says: “But love thee better than thou canst devise.
On the other hand, Tybalt and Mercutio are looking for an excuse to start fighting. The tone that can be perceived all along the extract is mostly of tension, anger and hate. A fight is about to start between characters that hate themselves, and added to this, they are in a public place where according to Benvolio in line 19: “… here all eyes gaze on us. ” The fact that they were in a public place makes tension even worst because they weren’t allowed to fight in the streets of Verona. The author builds up tension gradually.
At the beginning the tone was light heated, but as Tybalt and Romeo appear, tension begins to rise. Shakespeare probably made this in order to create more suspense and make a more interesting play for the audience. As a conclusion, we can say that in this extract, part of the most important theme of the play is developed and explored. Love versus hate is the most important theme, and in this case, the author shows clearly the enmity and hate between the families, feelings that finally lead to the death of the main characters.