A play I have studied recently is “Romeo And Juliet” by William Shakespeare. The play is set in Verona, Italy, in the 17th century. Shakespeare tells the story of two very young lovers who would do anything to be together. The story concerns the two noble families of Verona, the Montagues and the Capulets and how their ancient feud has fatal consequences for both the families and the young star-crossed lovers.
I feel that one of the characters has to make a brave decision in Act 3 Scene 1. This is a pivotal scene in the play and determines many of the critical events that follow. In this scene, Romeo is faced with whether or not to fight Tybalt. The latter accuses him of being a villain for disrespecting his family’s honour by showing up at the Capulet ball uninvited. However, Romeo has a hard decision because through his secret marriage to Juliet, Tybalt is now family. But oblivious to his cousin’s marriage to Romeo, Tybalt comes looking for an excuse to revenge the insult that he feels Romeo has offered him by showing his face at the ball.
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The scene opens with Benvolio and Mercutio in the public square of the city. Benvolio suggests that they go home because they are likely to encounter the Capulets, and if they do, he predicts a fight. “I pray thee good Mercutio, let’s retire. The day is hot; the Capels are abroad, and, if we meet, we shall not ‘scape a brawl, for now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.” Here the “mad blood stirring” symbolizes anger and the heat affecting people’s moods, and Benvolio acting as the voice of reason, tries to convince Mercutio to leave. But Mercutio being true to nature, is ready for a fight; he ignores Benvolio’s warning and accuses him of being too peace-loving.
True to Benvolio’s prediction Tybalt arrives on the scene. Tybalt wants to know Romeo’s whereabouts as he wishes to challenge him to defend the Capulet’s honour. But with Romeo absent, Mercutio rises to the challenge attempting to aggravate Tybalt. “And but one word with one of us? Couple it with something; why not make it a word and blow?” Here Mercutio is mocking Tybalt, but Tybalt remains unintimidated and still insists on conflict with Romeo. But as Romeo arrives, Tybalt instigates trouble by demeaning Romeo, referring to him as “man” and “boy.” Finally, Tybalt lays down the challenge to Romeo “Romeo, the love I bear thee can afford no better term than this; Thou art a villain.”
“Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries That thou hast done me; therefore, turn and draw.” Here Romeo is faced with the intricate decision of whether to maintain his reputation and accept the fight or honour and respect his marriage to Juliet and deny Tybalt what he wishes. But Romeo refuses the dispute, for he now secretly loves all the Capulets. “I do protest I never injured thee, But love thee better than thou canst devise till thou shalt know the reason of my love; and so good Capulet, which name I tender As dearly as mine own, be satisfied.” Here I think Romeo shows bravery and maturity by refusing the brawl. Still, in his actions, he has aggravated Mercutio, and Mercutio finds Romeo’s refusal dishonourable, and he interferes, daring Tybalt to fight.
“O calm, dishonourable, vile dishonourable submission! ‘Alla stoccata’ carries it away. Tybalt, you ratcatcher. Will you walk?” The duel begins, and despite Romeo and Benvolio’s efforts to prevent a disaster, Mercutio is wounded and dies, repeating, “A plague a both your houses!” This is a significant turning point in the book because Mercutio cursing both Romeo Tybalt and their families, for he feels their feud has brought his death. Once again, Romeo is faced with yet another difficult decision. Should he revenge Mercutio’s death? Or stay true to Juliet and leave well alone.
Romeo contemplates after the death of Mercutio and thinks about how his love for Juliet has changed him and made him soft, feminine. ” O sweet Juliet, thy beauty has made me effeminate And in my temper softened valour’s steel!” But here, I feel Romeo makes the wrong choice. He discards his softness in his despair and outrage at losing Mercutio. Romeo’s character turns and is the opposite from the start of the scene, and he is no longer refusing a fight. He is looking for one and challenges Tybalt to death. ” And fire-eyed fury be my conduct now! Now, Tybalt, take the ‘villain’ back again … Either thou or I or both, must go with him.” Tybalt is beaten and he falls. Romeo flees at the fear of execution.
I feel that this scene is one of the main scenes in the whole book. The events in the scene made me feel sympathy for Romeo. He is a victim of circumstances and is played by a fool’s hand. He is faced with decisions he shouldn’t have to make. Especially at the beginning of the scene where he tries to explain his love for Tybalt without revealing his marriage to Juliet. One of the reasons he had married Juliet was in the hope that it would help solve the quarrel between their families, but it has just made things worse for both and brought on fatal consequences.
When Romeo mourns Mercutio for a short time I also feel sympathy for him because he doubts his love for Juliet and how it has made him “effeminate” and he regrets not fighting Tybalt because if he had then an innocent Mercutio might not have been slain. Here I think Romeo realizes himself that fate has much to do with the events that have taken place. He knows that something else is fated to occur, something that will end the life-long feud between the Capulets and the Montagues but he did not expect the catastrophic events that would follow.
Here it becomes patently obvious that these events were destined to happen but I feel pity for Romeo because he is so confused and just acts at the moment and murders Tybalt, with this leading on to Romeo being exiled and unable to see his true love, Juliet. Overall in this one scene I feel that Romeo, being only a teenager, shows extreme maturity, bravery and courage by doing what he feels right and not what he is urged to do by others and in this book I think one of Shakespeare’s techniques was to make the reader feel compassion for Romeo because he is a victim of circumstances in this scene, he has no control over his actions and I feel that this technique has worked well in making us relate to the characters and course of the story.