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Shakespeare uses a number of basic elements of tragedy in Romeo and Juliet, two...
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High School Teacher
Many of Shakespeare's tragedies include the use of comic relief in order to heighten the tension of the events which follow. For instance, in Romeo and Juliet, the scene between Lord Capulet and the servant in Act IV, scene ii, in which Lord Capulet is requesting the hiring of cooks for Juliet's wedding feast is an example of comic relief. The brief joking about not hiring a cook who refuses to lick his own fingers lightens the tense mood of the play. In the previous scene, Juliet had agreed, with the help of Friar Laurence, to fake her own death in order to avoid marrying Paris. The lighter mood of happy wedding preparation at the Capulet house makes the discovery of Juliet's "dead" body all the more tragic. Shakespeare deliberately uses a "rise and fall" of tension (like in a waltz) to create an emotional impact upon the audience during the tragic scenes. This prevents the play from being consistently on one level throughout. If the play was entirely tragedy, tragedy, tragedy without a break in tension, Shakespeare would most likely have lost his audience's attention.
As for the revenge motive, Romeo extracts revenge on Tybalt for the death of his friend, Mercutio in Act III, scene i. However, this is not a plotted revenge; it is one of a passionate reaction. Romeo does not think before acting, but killing Tybalt is most definitely revenge.
An example of plotted revenge was Tybalt's letter to Romeo, challenging him to a duel. Tybalt felt insulted that Romeo and his friends had crashed the Capulet party the night before (Act I, scene v), and was even further humiliated by his uncle Lord Capulet who chided Tybalt for wanting to confront Romeo at all. The reader learns in Act III, scene i that Tybalt has sent a letter to the Montague house to challenge Romeo for that insult. This act of revenge backfired when Romeo refused to fight, and then Mercutio drew his sword and attacked Tyblat instead.
Posted by amethystrose on June 18, 2010 at 1:42 AM (Answer #1)
High School Teacher
In Romeo and Juliet there are many elements of tragedy found throughout the play. Comic relief is used when the author wants to postpone the climax of the story. He/she will add comic relief within a scene in order to add suspense. In Romeo and Juliet the Nurse adds a lot of comic relief. In the scene where she goes to find Romeo to tell him the message from Juliet, we have a moment of comedy when she and her servant, Peter, approach. The Nurse’s headgear begins to blow in the breeze and Mercutio begins to yell lewd comments. Romeo and his crew harass the Nurse for awhile, even joined in by Peter, until Romeo realizes who she is and why she is there. A unique example of the revenge motive is at the end of the play when Romeo decides to end his life. He is seeking revenge against all who keep him and Juliet apart. It fits all of the criteria for a revenge motive.
Posted by smflannery on June 18, 2010 at 5:56 AM (Answer #2)
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