Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Look again at Act IV scene 3 of Romeo & Juliet.
What does the scene tell us about Juliet’s predicament and personality?

-This is a version of the ‘skeleton’ I talked through in class on 22/3/06. Remember, the social and cultural context, the literary tradition, the overall structure of the play and analysis of language should come naturally into this as you write, rather than being ‘bolted on’ as separate paragraphs-

· The status quo in Verona: patriarchy, male bravado, the objectification of women, the feud intensifying this. Romeo’s participation in this culture. This establishes the predicament of women generally.

· Juliet’s love for Romeo- this contradicts the ‘rules’ of the feud and makes her predicament more vulnerable. The purity and intensity of their love, the sonnet, her strength of character and rational, reasoned personality allows her to manage this predicament better than Romeo.

· Romeo and Juliet’s only night together- the secret marriage reverses the value of light and dark imagery in the play. The death of Mercutio and Tybalt and its political consequences: Lord Capulet puts Juliet in the impossible predicament of having to marry Paris so he can elevate the position of his family after the death of Mercutio at the hands of a Capulet (Tybalt). Lord Capulet’s patriarchal domination of Juliet, her abandonment by Lady Capulet, the Nurse, Romeo- her predicament of complete isolation. Juliet’s personality becomes rebellious and almost irrational under these pressures- argument with her father. Goes to her last friend- the friar. His rather precarious to allow Juliet to escape her predicament plan.

· Juliet’s predicament in IV.3 and how it is affects her personality- begins to break down, lose her strength of character and rationality under the enormous political and psychological pressures. How this breakdown is enacted in the soliloquy- discuss the way Shakespeare uses the soliloquy to reveal personality and predicament, rather than simply move the plot forward- literary tradition.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charlie madeupname

Sir, here's my bit about Juliet's soliloquy, I'm not sure what you mean by 'enact' can I have some help.

3:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robbie. Sir, just need to know if im missing anything necessary from my analyse of the soliloquy....?if you could please help? cheers.
:..The traditional purpose of a soliloquy before Shakespeare’s time was to inform the audience about a character’s plans and intentions. However, Shakespeare makes a further use of Juliet’s soliloquy in 4.3 by revealing her true character in that moment and acting out her feelings. Nevertheless, this is not the only script were he uses a soliloquy in this way. In Hamlet, Shakespeare makes full use of a soliloquy by enacting the characters feelings: “To take arms against a sea of troubles”. This line by Hamlet not only shows us, but also acts out the predicament he is in. The metaphor used suggests fighting the sea, which of course is impossible. Therefore, by the metaphor not working, Shakespeare enacts Hamlet’s confused state of mind.

In the previous scene, Juliet forcibly agrees to her fathers request to marry Count Paris so she can then take the potion. Shortly afterwards, on the eve of her wedding to the Count, we see Juliet fighting her fears and worries alone before drinking her potion. This in turn becomes her soliloquy. Shakespeare’s innovation herein is to make the style of the language reveal the character, not just by what is said, but by the way it is said. Juliet begins poring over fears and possibilities and her strong personality breaks down due to the worsening predicament she is in.. She immediately sees that sending her Nurse away was foolish and calls her back to comfort her; “Nurse!-what should she do here?” Juliet corrects herself and asks what the Nurse could do to help. Juliet’s thoughts crash in on one another and the sentence is separated up with strong punctuation, showing that Juliet is loosing her rational qualities and fluency. Her immense pressure and fear over the possible results of her actions are accentuated when she asks two questions straight after on anther; “What if this mixture do not work at all? Shall I be married then tomorrow morning?” This displays how her thoughts are all over the place; she is nervous and worried for the future and contemplates all possible outcomes and problems madly. Her sentences become long, cascading sequences of words, full of uncertainties. She qualms over being locked in the vault forever and suffocating;
“As in a vault, an ancient receptacle, where for this many hundred years the bones of all my buried ancestors are packed”. Juliet definitely fears the worse and becomes almost delusional in the process. This also shows her awareness of the prehistoric bitterness between the two families which her love for Romeo rebels against.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Mr.D said...


Essentially, this rocks! The only things I'd suggest are:

'losing', not 'loosing'

Try to give one more quote- your points about punctuation and 'cascading thoughts' are excellent, and another quote would cement them nicely.

Very pleased with this though- along with what you handed to me last Friday, and the twiddly bits between, this demonstrates real literary intelligence on your part and you deserve an A* for it- read this comment to your mum / dad: you deserve an extra large Easter egg!

8:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Sir i cant find any information on the greek stuff, can you direct me in the right direction please??

11:41 AM  
Blogger Mr.D said...


Try this one- not especially high-brow but rather good fun, especially if you have a Flash Player

7:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

im really struggling with the balcony scene, i think i was away.

can i have some help please?

8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Declan Gilbody

Sir, finally found somewhere i can get on the internet, here are parts 1,2 and 3.

“I think she will be ruled / in all respects by me, any more, I doubt it not”
(Lord Capulet 3.4.121)

“Romeo and Juliet”, written in 1595 by the world renowned poet Shakespeare, is an early tragedy about two arched rival families in the city of Verona; the Montagues and the Capulets (meaning ‘small hat’). The play opens on a riot between the two families in the market place, which is quickly stopped by Prince Esculas. While this is happening, a Montague called Romeo is seen moping over his apparent love for a Capulet, Rosaline. Benvolio takes him to a Capulet party to show him more women, where he meets Juliet and falls in love. The next day Friar Lawrence marries them and Romeo goes to meet other Montagues, where he is challenged to a dual by Tybalt. Romeo can’t take part in the dual as they are now related and so Mercutio takes his place and is killed in battle. Romeo chases after Tybalt, who fled, and kills him in cold blood. Prince Esculas decides not to have Romeo found and killed, but exiles him from Verona, which is what the law would have done anyway. Meanwhile, Juliet has lost everyone who ever cared about her due to her refusing the marriage proposal to Paris, which Lord Capulet has set up. Juliet goes to Friar Lawrence, who makes a plan for her to act dead for 42 hours, when Romeo can come and wake her, so they can run off together. The hair brain plan starts well until the letter sent by the Friar is not delivered and word reaches Romeo that she is actually dead. Being distraught at losing his love, Romeo goes to her tomb and kills himself next to her with a bottle of poison. When Juliet awakes, she finds her love dead next to her and so kills herself as well to be with him.

The feud between the two families is a typical example of male bravado. The opening fight starts off because of two Capulet servants arguing and boasting about how “a dog of the Montagues moves me” or about how he “has a pretty piece of flesh” meaning he is bragging about the size of his manhood and how it is known by others. It is this attitude that starts the quarrel when a group of Montegues passes. This male bravado is also what leads on to the objectification of Verona’s women, from Juliet (Lord Capulet’s daughter) to the poor slum women. “Heads of the maids or their maidenhead” demonstrates this disrespect for women as it shows that depending on his mood, Sampson will either just bully the maids or he will rape them against the wall!

Shakespeare gives us signs in the first scene to the future outlook of characters. He shows Romeo as a lost lover, who uses oxymorons like “O brawling love, O loving hate” to show how love and hate, sex and violence are confused in his mind as is the society of Verona. “A Pair of star-crossed lovers take their lives”. The reason Shakespeare decides to tell his audience about the outcome of the story in the prologue is because, I believe, he wants to give the feeling of an inescapable destiny. “….. take their life” shows that Romeo and Juliet share one life and so if one dies then the other will follow.

Shakespeare emphasises on Romeo’s attitude to ‘love’ towards Rosaline, a Capulet, who has no feeling. Romeo is puzzled by this as he has tried everything from wooing her to even trying to pay her “Saint seducing gold” to “open her lap” to him, meaning she won’t have sex with him for money. This again shows that they believe in how women can be bought like objects and also treated like them too. This was typical of men of this time period, which is reflected in Shakespeare’s work; though he has chosen to emphasise in this script more than others. The abuse of women is shown all the way through the play from the talk between Simpson and Gregory saying about “women being the weaker vessel” and about how they will “thrust his maids to the wall”, all the way to how Lord Capulet will force his daughter to marry to make him more powerful.

At the Capulet’s party, Romeo finally gets to meet Juliet. “If I profane with my unholiest hand this holy shrine”, this is Romeo’s first line to Juliet but it is also the first two lines (A, B) of Shakespeare’s sonnet between the to-be couple. Straight away we can see that he treats Juliet completely different to how he was treating Rosaline; here he treats Juliet like a woman where he thought of Rosaline as a castle, whose wall needed to be broken down for him to enter. The sonnet proves this as it shows how their love is pure rather than being dirty love like so many relations at that time. In the sonnet the feeling of pure love with all the talk being mixed with religion from the “good pilgrim” to “saints lips”, or even “prayers sake”, these show how both Romeo and Juliet treat love almost like a religion as in how it should be given respect and how it should be abided by. Another point of their love sonnet is to show how they are so inter-twinned with each other that between them both they can make beautiful poetry without even knowing it, like they almost share one life, “take their life”, mentioned in the prologue.

After the party, the secret Montague guests, including Romeo leave the Capulet’s mansion to go home; but Romeo, being so deeply in love, runs off and climbs into the Capulet’s courtyard where he finds Juliet at a balcony.
“O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art tho Romeo?”, this is a confusing line in the play; most people believe it to mean that Juliet is actually calling out for Romeo to come to her, but it actually means that Juliet is confused over Romeo and the name of Montague, she’s asking herself why she can’t love him just because of this name.

When Romeo does finally show himself to his “bright angel”, things do get slightly clearer as well as shedding more light on the characters’ personalities, “O wilt tho leave me so unsatisfied”, this shows that Romeo is the more forward of the pair and is expecting to ‘get lucky’ on the first night; but Juliet avoids this by actually suggesting marriage.

Things take a turn for the worse in Act 3 Scene 2, when Juliet first believes Romeo is dead, and then finds out that he was actually only banished for killing her good friend and cousin Tybalt. The confusion clears slightly when she finally finds out the truth through the mixed information her nurse gives her. Juliet shows her confusion over this matter through her use of oxymoron’s like “dove-feathered raven” or “ravished- ravening lamb”, these show that Juliet is torn between forgiving Romeo, her husband, for what he has done to her or to hate him for an eternity for killing her cousin, but this would mean breaking her new marriage to him and making a mockery of her religious beliefs. In the end she chooses to forgive him, meaning she is turning her back on her family and friends forever.

Another key thing that links Romeo and Juliet’s young love in the beginning to their current love is the use of light and dark to show their love in its different shades of grey. In Act 2 Scene 2, when they first meet words associated with light and brightness are used to show their love and innocence “A thousand times the worse, to want they light” or “Lights through yonder window breaks”. Yet later on in Act 3 Scene 2 the exact opposite is used to describe their love now; dark literature is used commonly to describe their love as now they don’t think of their love as innocent but as a dark secret which the dark hides from those who want to hurt them, physically or mentally by splitting them up. Juliet is willing to do anything for this not to happen to them; including pretending to be dead and to be put in the same tomb as her dead ancestors.

In Act 3 Scene 3, we see Juliet under a huge amount of pressure, now she has no pillars of support like her parents or her trusted friend the nurse, or even in a way Romeo as he has been banished and is not around to help. Her pressure is made even worse by the fact that her farther, Lord Capulet, is using her for his own means to regain the family’s social status, which was lost due to Tybalt killing Mecrutico, who was a member of the royal family. Before this incident Lord Capulet wanted what was best for Juliet and would only want her to marry Paris if it was what she wanted to happen; now he needs to re-climb the social ladder for his own reasons. His plan is also fuelled by his anger toward Juliet where he used to love her. Before he would do anything for his daughter, even give up a chance to become more powerful than his rivals the Montagues if it was what she wanted. Now he is angry with her as she will not do this one thing in return for him after all he has done for her. In a way he feels betrayed by his own daughter.

Juliet is so overcome by this pressure that she has to go and talk to her only remaining friend, Friar Laurence. This turns out to be Juliet’s biggest mistake she could make as it is this decision which leads to hers and Romeos appending death. When Juliet meets the Friar and asks for help he comes up with this hair-brained scheme where Juliet is supposed to drink one of his special potions which will make her seem dead for 48 hours, in which time Romeo is supposed to break his banishment and enter Verona, break into the Capulets tomb and take her away. Friar Laurence maybe a good person but he is also doing this plan with Romeo and Juliet to save himself from marrying Juliet to Count Paris which is what Lord Capulet wants. He has already married Juliet to Romeo and can’t marry her twice as it is bigamy and would be breaking his religion and its morals. I believe the reason the Friar doesn’t just smuggle Romeo and Juliet away, is that he believes that the Capulets wouldn’t stop searching for their daughter and would probably end up convincing themselves that she was kidnapped.

Using the language technique of a soliloquy, we are reminded that Juliet may act mature and adult like at the best of times, but she is still a young girl who has an uncontrollable amount of pressure on her which is shown in her soliloquy in act 4 scene 3. Shakespeare uses the technique of a soliloquy in Juliet’s speech to show how much the pressure is affecting her. Its shows us as an audience that her personality is strong for a person of her age but that she is starting to lose her mind due to the pressure.
“As with a club, dash out my desp’rate brains?” -4.3.54
Juliet is asking herself a question to try and come to terms with what she is about to do; she keeps thinking up every possibility that could go wrong with the friar’s plan for her and Romeo, but what she should really be doing is thinking of her future and what she is about to do; a future for her and Romeo to be together without other people interfering or trying to split them up.
“O look! methinks I see my cousin’s ghost”
Juliet’s mind is starting to play tricks on her from everything that’s going on. Shakespeare used the same technique in Hamlet to show that Hamlet was also losing his mind when he was using the metaphor “to take arms against a sea of troubles” to show his struggle against his troubles; except you can’t stop the sea with a sword so it also shows that he was starting to lose his mind like Juliet is in this situation. This soliloquy also shows that Juliet still feels guilty for siding with the person who killed her cousin, rather than Tybalt who is flesh and blood.

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it dont work

1:25 AM  
Blogger Mr.D said...

Declan- thanks for this.

Jodi- I assume you're okay now- I will mark the essay you gave me on 31st and then get back to you.

Michael- does work, just tried it. It's not a hotlink though- you have to cut and paste it into your browser. Failing that, just type 'Greek Theatre' into a search engine and it's one of the first hits you'll get- a BBC schools website.

7:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sir what was the third thing we had to research for greek theatre

5:53 AM  
Blogger Mr.D said...


The theatre accommodation itself

The Chorus

The Unities

Can't remember which order I put these in now and I'm not at home to look it up in my planning book, but whichever one you haven't done, that will be it.

See you Monday week.

Mr. D

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

michael Sir heres my coursework that you wanted.

Part 1

Romeo and Juliet is a classic fourteenth century Shakespearian romantic tragedy written in 1595. It was set in Verona in Italy and is about two families, called the Montagues and Capulets, who have been at war for years.

The war of the two families has been going on for a long time. Romeo – a young Montague meets Juliet, a young Capulet, at a masked Capulet party. A guy called Friar Lawrence secretly marries them the day after the party because they immediately fall in love with each other. Tybalt (Juliet’s cousin, the prince of cats) challenges Romeo to a duel. Tybalt has no knowledge of the marriage between Romeo and Juliet but as they are now related Romeo refuses to duel with Tybalt. A friend of Romeo that goes by the name of Mercutio volunteers to duel instead of Romeo. He attempts to stop Mercutio but Mercutio refuses and ends up getting killed by Tybalt. Romeo then kills Tybalt in vengeance of his friend and gets banished. After that, Juliet gets told that she has to marry Count Paris. Juliet refuses and runs away to Friar Lawrence for advice. He gives her a potion that will make her look dead. She then gets buried and Friar Lawrence sends a message to Romeo; who is unaware that Juliet has faked her own death. When he returns he acquires a poison. He then drinks it and dies. Juliet wakes up, and seeing him dead he shoots herself with his gun. The two families are so shocked by their deaths that they make up and decide to stop the war.

In the opening dialogue, Shakespeare signposts the objectification of women to the readers. This is shown when Sampson says to Gregory in Act 1 Scene 1
“Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads, take it in what sense thou wilt”. This means he will chop off their heads or have sex with them, and he’ll let them choose. Sampson also says a similar thing when he says “’tis true, therefore women being the weaker vessels are thrust to the wall”. This shows us that he will push women around as he pleases and that he thinks that he is superior to them.

Also in the opening dialogue, Sampson and Gregory show much male bravado towards each other. He shows this when he says “I am a pretty piece of flesh”. Here he is commenting on the size of his manhood and how much better it is than Gregory’s. Before this phrase he says “’tis known”. This means that “it is known” that he is a pretty piece of flesh. This is a form of male bravado because he is boasting. They also comment on how superior they are to the Montagues when he says “a dog of the house of Montague moves me”. Also when he says “let us take the law to our sides, let them begin”, he means to make the Montagues draw first so they get in trouble with the law.

When the riot is occurring, Romeo is somewhere else. He is sulking about Rosaline; a Capulet girl. He doesn’t love her properly. You can tell this when he says “O brawling love, O loving hate”. This is an oxymoron and shows that he is confused and is fighting for her love and thinks of her as a prostitute than loving her properly.
Part 2
In Act 2 scene 2 Juliet shows us that she is a strong character, unlike most women who let men push them around. She isn't letting Romeo push her around; she is letting him ask questions and then telling him what to do. She takes a more commanding role. For example when Romeo says “Lady, by yonder blessed moon I vow”. Juliet then replies by saying “O swear not by the moon, th’inconsistent moon, that monthly changes in her circled orb” (2.2.107-110). Romeo is swearing his love by the moon. She replies by telling him not to swear by the moon because it is inconsistent and changes shape.
In Act 3 scene 2, when Juliet is awaiting Romeo when the nurse comes in to Juliet’s room bearing news that Tybalt is dead. Juliet is immediately confused and baffled and starts using oxymorons; the same as when Romeo was fantasising about Rosaline. She believes that it is Romeo that has been killed. This is shown when she says “What devil art thou what dost torment me thus”. Here she is saying that she believes that Romeo has been killed and she is asking the nurse who killed him. She becomes confused and starts quoting oxymorons such as “O serpent heart”. This means there is a serpent (which is bad) and a heart (which is good). It is two things contrasting to form the oxymoron.

Part 3

Juliet, Shakespeare reminds us through the language of her sociology at 4.3, is still just a thirteen year old girl who is under enormous stress and almost unbearable pressure.
Juliet and the Capulet family are breaking up. After Tybalt killed Mercutio, the Capulet family have gone down in society. Lord Capulet, Juliet’s father, has now changed into a more hostile personality, and is ordering Juliet to marry count Paris in order to gain their higher status back in society. They lost that status because Mercutio, relative to Prince Escalus, the head of police, was killed by Tybalt; a Capulet. Paris is a very rich and well thought of count, so Lord Capulet thinks that if Juliet can marry a person in such a high place in society, then he will regain his place in society.

Juliet in Act 4 Scene 3 uses a soliloquy to connect with the audience. A soliloquy is when a person on stage is thinking something and the audience can hear what she is thinking. When Juliet realises that there is no one who will help her she thinks “I’ll call them back to comfort me. Nurse! - What should she do here?” (4.3.18). She also then realises that the nurse is not willing to help her also and that she is alone. She realises that in the society women have no power. This relates back to “women being the weaker vessels” in Act 1 Scene 1.
When she thinks “What if this mixture do not work at all? Shall I be married tomorrow morning? No, no, this shall forbid it, lie thou there.” (4.3.21) Here she is saying that she would rather die than marry Count Paris, and would be against her pure love for Romeo.
Juliet thinks in her soliloquy “Where for this many hundred years the bones of all my buried ancestors are packed.” (4.3.40). Here Shakespeare’s imagery suggests that Juliet is afraid of being entombed with corpses and is aware that her situation is a product of the “ancient grudge” of her ancestors, which her love of Romeo has led her to reject.

2:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sir i am having trouble with the conventions of supernatural homework i can't find any information on the ghosts can you help me please?

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heather. Have you got any tips on searching the tragic convention ghost thing, sir?

8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

zoe cornhill. sir i am having a lot of trouble finding information on the tragic hero conventions. can u plz help me.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wasn't able to talk to you on friday but need some help as I am stuck on the conclusion and "literary tradition" paragraph for my essay.

You have advised me to put the literary stuff at the begining, but I don't have a conclusion so need some help on what to include in it.

This was my last paragraph:
The soliloquy ends with her further enacting her state of mind as she has a vision of Tybalt seeking revenge on Romeo: “O, look! Methinks I see my cousin's ghost/ Seeking out Romeo, that did spit his body/ Upon a rapier's point: stay, Tybalt, stay!” The ghost she saw may have been real or (more likely as she is the only one who saw it) a figment of her increasingly wild and deteriorating mind. Shakespeare has also used the idea of having the character have visions of a spectre of someone they know to show that pressure or guilt is mounting on them and that their mind cannot cope. For example in Macbeth, he sees his friend Banquo appear as a ghost at a feast at which he is the only person who can see him. It is a metaphor for the guilt he feels, which is growing and destabilizing his mind, for having initiated the murder of his former best friend. This is the same for the increasing pressure being placed on Juliet, and it’s almost as if she drinks the potion to save Romeo from the revengeful Tybalt.

Very greatful for your help.

7:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. My name is Laura and I am a year 10 student from Australia. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who posted work about Juliet's Soliloquy in Act 4, Scene 3, as I am doing that as a monologue for Drama this term and all these anyalisis' has really helped me to grasp the soliloquy, particularly when this is my first Shakespeare monologue.


4:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sophie B
What is this film? A 9mm bullet gun thundering across the screen. No; it cant be a Shakespearean film, with a montage of violence, underage sex and abusive language on the streets. Parents this is your worst nightmare, but kids just sit back and relax!

8:32 AM  

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