Act One of Romeo and Juliet Essay

1786 Words 8 Pages
Act One immediately engages the audience. Do you agree with this statement? How does Shakespeare achieve this?

Act One of 'Romeo and Juliet' by William Shakespeare does indeed immediately engage the audience. Shakespeare does this by using several language techniques to create an interesting opening scene.
Shakespeare uses humour, action and romance all in Act One and it is this variation that keeps the audience's attention.

The play begins with a prologue that is written in the form of a sonnet. The Prologue gives a summary of the play but does not give away too much of the plot, in order to keep the suspense. Shakespeare tells of the great tragedy that will follow. The sonnet form is used because it is more interesting
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They are usually dressed in bright, colourful costume, they walk jauntily and they talk jovially between themselves to create an immediate light-hearted, happy air. The two servants poke fun at each other and use sexual innuendo to create an immediate sense of humour in the play. They begin by using wordplay to create humour on the first four lines and then move on to boasting to one another about their fighting skills.
Sampson says, 'I strike quickly, being moved' to mean that he is quick to fight when he is angry. From line ten, the servants begin to use words with two meanings, one of which is sexual. Words like 'thrust',
'stir' (to have sex), 'stand' (have an erection) and 'maidenheads'
(virginity) are used. Sampson and Gregory continue to use sexual innuendo to insult each other's manhood and brag about their own virility. Sampson says that ''t is known I [he] is a pretty piece of flesh' to mean he is an attractive man but Gregory replies insultingly by suggesting that he is not able to have an erection. This gives the play humour and grabs the audience's attention.

Immediately after this, an argument breaks out between Sampson and
Gregory and two servants of the Montague household. After a few insults, they begin to fight. When performed on stage, it is
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