Act 3 Scene 1 is a Major Turning Point in the Play "Romeo and Juliet"

Essay by janewongcyJunior High, 9th grade May 2006

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The reason behind why Act 3 Scene 1 is a major turning point is mainly because it alters the course of events and changes an entirely new route of the play, a death of two major characters. Structurally, this particular scene is in the middle of the play, but more importantly, there is a dramatic change in the atmosphere. Because of Romeo's change of attitude and his exile, the romantic love of Romeo and Juliet clashes and they become desperate which also makes a huge difference and affects the following scenes later on in the play.

The atmosphere at the beginning is very tense and Benvolio feels nervous and stressed. He senses that if the Capulets come, a fight would most certainly start. Benvolio states that 'the day is hot', probably referring to both the weather and their tempers. Mercutio irritates Benvolio that he is ill humoured by telling him:

'thou wilt quarrel with a man for cracking nuts, having no other reason but because thou hast hazel eyes.'

Mercutio uses a pun to exaggerate Benvolio's temper. This quote also builds up the audience's expectations for the up-coming events. When the Capulets enter, the atmosphere tightens even more. Shakespeare uses juxtaposition by showing a perceptible contrast with this and the scene before. The secret and loving atmosphere juxtaposes the hatred and publicity of Act Scene 1.

By naming Romeo a 'villain', Tybalt intends to infuriate him to fight. However, Romeo gives his love to Tybalt, which he finds extremely insulting and bewilders the rest of the characters on stage by saying:

'...Love thee better than thou canst devise,'

The dramatic irony that Shakespeare uses creates a greater tension in the play. However, the reaction towards the audience is not surprising.

Mercutio's death falls around the mid-point of the play.