In Act 1, Scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet, what is the dramatic effect of Capulet's opening speech?

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malibrarian eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Capulet's opening speech in Act 1, Scene 5, shows him to be the boisterous, happy host of this great party, which sets the audience up for fun and rowdiness at the house of Capulet:

"Welcome, gentlemen! Ladies that have their toes
Unplagued with corns will walk about with you."

He's making jokes, encouraging all of the ladies to come and dance with the gentlemen in attendance.

The dramatic effect of this is that it is a light-hearted moment prior to the "moment of moments" - when Romeo first sees Juliet and is instantly smitten, thus leading them both along the path to the tragedy that awaits them. Shakespeare gives us some comic relief throughout Romeo and Juliet, and this is an instance of light-heartedness prior to the sadness to come. In addition, it is one side of Lord Capulet - we will see another, very different side of him later in the play, when Juliet crosses him and refuses to wed Paris.

Check the link below for more information on this play! Good luck!

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Romeo and Juliet

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