Filter Your Search Results:

The Dramatic Significance of Act 1 Scene 5 in Romeo and Juliet Essay


Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeares most famous plays and even though it was written many years ago, it is still very popular today. Many people can relate to the play as it still covers popular issues in modern society such as young love and violence between different groups of people.

It is one of Shakespeares earlier tragedies and we can tell this because the protagonist is not completely to blame for his downfall because there are external influences such as fate and the family feud. This is different to Shakespeares later tragedies, where the protagonist has a main weakness and this causes them to fall from power due to their own fault alone. For example, Coriolanus pride caused his downfall and in Hamlet it is his indecision that leads to the tragedy. This inner weakness is known as the harmantia. Romeo and Juliet is not as developed as this and although Romeo has the weakness of being tempestuous, there are also external influences.

Act 1 Scene 5 is dramatically significant because it is a fast moving scene. The servants are rushing around and trying to get everything ready for the ball. The scene is domestic and shows that the ball is important because it shows family unity. A ball has not happened for a long time in the family so they are trying to make sure everything is perfect. The play was written at the time of patriarchal society, where men had all the power. Lord Capulet holds the ball to show his own wealth and authority as well as to show that he is a generous person. This links to the fact that marriages were arranged at that time and is another reason for Lord Capulet to hold the ball. He wanted to find a suitable husband for Juliet and by holding a ball to show his wealth, other wealthy people would attend and this would hopefully find Juliet a suitable husband. This is shown in the part of the scene where the nurse talks about chinks.

I tell you, he that can lay hold of her

Shall have the chinks.

By saying this she is telling Romeo that Juliets future husband will only be suitable and accepted if he is wealthy.

The scene is also significant because of its structural significance because it ends the exposition, which is the first part of the play. By the end of the scene the audience knows who all the characters are and how their relationships are linked. This affects the rest of the play and after this scene, the conflict can begin because the audience are prepared and understand who each character is.

The themes are also highlighted in this scene and that is another reason why Act 1 Scene 5 is dramatically significant and also this is the scene where the two protagonists meet. Love and passion is one of the main themes. The play is very violent, but the love between Romeo and Juliet contrasts with this, and when the characters are together the scene becomes peaceful and calm. Romeo talks about Juliet as a beautiful person and says

O she doth teach the torches to burn bright!

Not only does this show his instant love and attraction towards her, it also links to the imagery of light and darkness. At the start of the play Romeo is sad and depressed but when he sees Juliet she brightens up his mood and this shows a contrast between light and dark. This contrast is used a lot in the scene and Romeo uses similes to describe Juliet, for example

A rich jewel in an Ethiops ear.

And he also uses the metaphor

A snowy dove trooping with crows.

These similes make what Romeo is saying seem romantic and make the scene rich with imagery. This is important because when the play would first have been preformed, there were no female actors. A boy would have played the part of Juliet, so it was important for the language used in the play to show her as very beautiful because it would not have been obvious to the audience. A contemporary audience would recognise that there is romance due to the fact that the actors speak in sonnet for which was known as the language of love. One of the reasons for this is because the repeated speed and pattern of sonnet form gives the idea of unity.

This part of the scene also links to religion. When Romeo and Juliet meet words like palmer, shrine and pray are all used and these all link to religion. Also Romeo compares praying to kissing and says that you can pray with your lips as well as your hands.

Let lips do what hands do

Religion was very important to people in those times and this is reflected in Romeo using this fact to show Juliet how important he thinks it is to kiss her.

The scene also highlights the theme of fate. The Prologue at the beginning of the play describes Romeo and Juliet as a pair of starcrossed lovers and this links to what people believed in at the time of the play. They believed that the stars and planets affected how people behaved and what would happen in their lives. Juliet says

My grave is like to be my wedding bed,

and this links to what is said in the prologue.

You'll need to sign up to view the entire essay.

Sign Up Now, It's FREE
Filter Your Search Results: