An essay answer to a Higher English question on a play which reveals an intense emotion.
|Romeo and Juliet
Choose a play in which there is a scene involving intense emotion.
Show how the dramatist makes you aware of the intensity of the emotion in the scene and discuss the important of the scene to the drama as a whole.
In your answer you must refer closely to the text and to at least two of conflict, characterisation, soliloquy, dialogue or any other appropriate feature.
Love. An intense, vivid emotion that is powerfully portrayed in William Shakespeare’s exceptionally riveting drama “Romeo and Juliet.” Illustrated throughout the play in many forms, most importantly in the courtly romance of main characters Romeo and Juliet, the heartening emotion is evoked strongly in Act Two Scene Two. Using effective techniques such as dialogue, plot, imagery and contrast, Shakespeare reveals the couples’ love and its effect on the entire play.
Firstly, it is clear the intensity and wealth of the love in this scene through the characters’ dialogue as they proclaim their feelings with heartened enthusiasm:
“My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep./ The more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite.” Juliet states her love for Romeo is endless and “infinite”, she compares the vast extent of her emotions to the limitless “sea” – here her desire is clear and strong.
Furthermore it is notable that Shakespeare uses the plot and contrast in his play to highlight the significance of the passion in this scene. In the opening scene, Romeo declares his apparent love for another woman, Rosaline:
“O brawling love/ O loving hate! O anything of nothing first create!” The oxymorons convey his frustration and confusion over this unrequited ‘love’, proving it is superficial. The juxtaposition on this false, one sided love against the later intense, true love with Juliet highlights how concentrated and deep his new love shown in Act Two Scene Two is.
The plot in “Romeo and Juliet” is particularly violent and hostile. Key scenes such as the opening scene and the vicious fight in Act Three Scene One between Romeo and Tybalt depict a savage feud between Romeo and Juliet’s families. This brawling, conflicting situation suggests anything but affection could occur between members of the Capulets and Montagues. The existence of the love conveyed in the balcony scene is emphasised in strength in its ability to withstand the families’ hatred:
“Deny thy father and refuse thy name!” The admirable force of Juliet’s love is illustrated in her willingness to reject her family and ignore the feud in order to be with Romeo. This dangerous, risky and illicit element to their romance is cataclysmically vital to the play and its outcome, as the characters must undertake drastic action to be together, eventually resulting in their tragic deaths.
The positive, passionate power of their love is portrayed throughout the scene using aspects of light and religious imagery.
“O speak again, bright angel!/ As a winged messenger of Heaven.” The purity and true nature of Romeo’s love is reinforced with light imagery, and also religious, as he describes Juliet as being heavenly. This also creates the scene’s uplifting, emotional mood which reflects the good aspects of their love in the play, also highlighting its concept of hate by vivid contrast.
The scene’s uplifting light imagery further conveys other central concerns of the drama using contrast. To reveal the notable effect the turning point scene has on the play’s outcome, imagery is adopted. Act Two Scene Two forms the positive mood created by their beautiful passion, using light imagery, but after the turning point scene, the significant change to death imagery reflects the vitally important change to the course of the play;
“As one dead in the bottom of a tomb,” here, htir love is described as dark and deathly foreboding, a far cry from the light-hearted imagery of the love in the balcony scene. This change in imagery, established by the strong, upbeat love of Act Two Scene Two, reflects the important change in the play and furthers the contrasting darkening arrival at its overall outcome.
In conclusion, “Romeo and Juliet’s” provocative, emotional scene in Act Two Scene Two is an obvious portrayal of love, creating a light-hearted mood which is central to the catastrophically changing plot of the drama. The emotion revealed in this scene is exceptionally clear, due to Shakespeare’s dexterity and technique, and it aids out understanding of the whole play by establishing a mood which is later heavily contrasted.