Act 3, scene 1


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Act 3, scene 1

  1. 1. Act 3, SCENE 1: Some issues to consider for your essay<br />Romeo and Juliet<br />
  2. 2. Romeo and Juliet<br />Act 3<br />
  3. 3. Act III, Scene I - Summary<br />Benvolio is concerned they will not “scape a brawl”<br />Tybalt enters looking for Romeo<br />Tybalt and Mercutio - two of the most headstrong and passionate members of each side of the feud - conflict will arise<br />Benvolio tries to avoid confrontation but Mercutio is deliberately provocative <br />Romeo appears and Tybalt insults him, hoping he will respond to the challenge<br />Romeo refuses because he is now related to Tybalt through his marriage to Juliet<br />
  4. 4. Act III, Scene i - Summary<br />Mercutio, disgusted by Romeo’s reluctance, fights on Romeo’s behalf<br />To stop the battle, Romeo steps between them and Tybalt stabs Mercutio under Romeo’s arm<br />Mercutio’s wound is fatal and he dies cursing: “A plague o’ both your houses!” <br />Blinded by rage over Mercutio’s death, Romeo attacks Tybalt and kills him<br />Romeo is forced to flee a mob of citizens as the Prince, the heads of the two households, and their wives appear at the scene<br />After Benvolio gives an account of what has happened, the Prince banishes Romeo from Verona under the penalty of death and orders Lords Montague and Capulet to pay a heavy fine<br />
  5. 5. Setting and Mood<br />This scene acts as a violent contrast to the euphoric mood and romance of the previous few scenes<br />The harsh, uncompromising daylight reality replaces the dark secrecy and moonlight declarations of the previous scenes<br />The searing heat, flaring tempers, and sudden violence of this scene contrast sharply with the romantic, peaceful previous night<br />The play reaches a dramatic crescendo as Romeo and Juliet’s private world clashes with the public feud<br />
  6. 6. Romeo’s Refusal to Fight<br />Romeo appears, euphoric and unaware he’s been challenged to a duel – his mood separates him from the other characters in the scene<br />In response to Tybalt’s attempts to initiate a fight, Romeo tells Tybalt he loves “thee better than thou canst devise” – he will not fight as he is now a kinsman of Tybalt’s<br />In Romeo’s mind, he has shed his identity as a Montague and has become one with Juliet, his wife<br />However, Tybalt still sees Romeo as standing on the wrong side of a clear line that divides the families<br />Tybalt does not understand why Romeo will not respond to his challenge - traditional assertion of masculine nobility<br />Romeo and Juliet’s love removes them from the animosity that drives the feud<br />
  7. 7. Romeo and Conflict<br />However, the love of Romeo and Juliet is flawed by Romeo acting out of anger rather than his love for Juliet<br />Ironically, Romeo’s refusal to duel with Tybalt brings about the very acceleration of violence he sought to prevent and Mercutio’s death<br />Romeo blames himself for Mercutio’s death because he placed his love for Juliet before consideration of his friend and regards himself as effeminate<br />Romeo thus attacks Tybalt partly out of guilt<br />By doing so, he disregards any effect that this may have on Juliet<br />His action is impulsive and reckless, his rage overpowers his sensibility, and his tragic fortunes are sealed<br />By attacking Tybalt in a blind fury, he has become one with fiery Tybalt; one with the feud<br />
  8. 8. Mercutio<br />The hot-headed Mercutio starts a quarrel the instant Tybalt requests a word with him, by responding, “make it a word and a blow.” <br />Mercutio’s characteristic wit turns bitter as he is incensed at what he sees as Romeo’s cowardice: ‘calm, dishonourable, vile submission’<br />As he dies he curses both Montagues and Capulets, who have been the direct cause of his death: “A plague on both your houses” (3 times)<br />In shocked disbelief, he asks Romeo “Why the devil / came you between us? I was hurt under your arm” <br />Mercutio’s death is the catalyst for the tragic turn the play takes from this point onward<br />
  9. 9. Fate<br />Tybalt’s death brings Romeo a moment of clarity - he realises that he is the helpless victim of fate: “O, I am fortune’s fool!” <br />He is struck by a sense of anger, injustice, and futility, of being ‘unlucky’ and ‘cursed’ by bad fortune <br />Contrast this with Mercutio’s response to his own fate – he blames the people of the houses of Montague and Capulet, and gives no blame to any larger force<br />The speed with which Mercutio and Tybalt’s deaths occur, together with Romeo’s marriage and subsequent banishment, all contribute to a sense of inevitability—that a chain of events has been set in motion over which the protagonists have no control<br />Mercutio’s dying curse upon the houses resonates as the voice of fate itself<br />
  10. 10. Conflict<br />The sudden, extreme violence of this scene serves as a reminder that, for all the love, beauty and romance of the play, this love story takes place against a backdrop of honour, pride, revenge and other masculine notions <br />The beauty, purity and fragility of Romeo and Juliet’s love stands little chance against this world of violence and brutality<br />
  11. 11. Banishment and Fate<br />The Prince listens to the true story of what happened, anddeclares that Romeo’s behaviour was understandable, but nevertheless must be punished by banishment from Verona – forever<br />‘..when he is found, that hour is his last’<br />Romeo and Juliet’s love is now not only censured and forbidden by their families, it is also thwarted and forbidden by the ruler of Verona<br />Their relationship puts Romeo in danger of violent reprisal from both Juliet’s kinsmen AND the state<br />
  12. 12. The future?<br />From an atmosphere of hope at the very end of Act II, we have moved (in one scene) to a situation of darkest despair<br />It is now very difficult for Romeo, and the audience, to see a hopeful future for the young lovers<br />