Essay on Romeo and Juliet.

Topic: Act III, scene 1 marks a turning point on the novel, discuss.

“The tragic ending is announced in no uncertain terms, but for most readers and spectators it is the beginning of act 3 that makes the decisive turning point”. (Mehl). We know from the very beginning of the play that we are dealing with a tragical love story. In the Chorus, Romeo and Juliet’s love is characterised as “star crossed” and “death marked”. “Star crossed” has a very negative meaning. Their love has been born under the wrong star. These lovers have this doom meaning. At the same time, the love is “death marked” which clearly connects the play and the lovers with death. This connection love-death, described in the beginning of the play, is one of the themes of the tragedy.

However, in the first half of the play there are no signs of tragedy. The play stars like a comedy. We have an introduction to the family feud but in a comic style with crude and coarse jokes.

“Sampson: Gregory, o’ my word, we’ll not carry coals.

Gregory: No, for then we should be colliers.

Sampson: I mean, an we be in choler, we’ll draw.

Gregory: Ay, while you live, draw your neck out o’ the collar.”

The play continuous with good humour and peaceful harmony with the servant who has to deliver the invitations (John Mehl’s points out that in the first versions of Romeo and Juliet he was simply called clown) and also, with the nurse and Mercutio.

Mercutio: Good Peter, to hide her face, for her fan’s the fairer face”.

Mercutio: Tis no less, I tell you, for the bawdy hand of the dial is now upon the prick of noon”

As we are saying, in the first part of the play there are no elements of tragedy apart from the great chorus. Act 3 scene 1: Mercutio’s death is the turning point of the play; from here we know that this is a tragedy. The comedy of the other acts disappears, now all is a tragedy, and the worst of the tragedies: the death of young people. The murder of Mercutio is accidental, in a way Romeo is responsible for the death but accidentally. After the fight, it is impossible for Romeo and Juliet to be together.

Although they try to live their love in peace, Romeo has chosen. “The only thing that seems to be really indispensable for Elizabethan tragedy is a marked turn of fate, ending in the hero’s destruction” (Mehl). Unlike classical tragedies where the will of Gods move men in Elizabethan tragedies is the man, Romeo’s will, who changes the action. It’s Romeo who chooses. This is a very important element: the hero chooses, very often wrongly and that error brings on his fault. In a way, Romeo is responsible for his own fault and for turning the story in a tragedy.

Romeo: Oh I’m a fortune’s fool” says Romeo expressing the idea of fortune, fate and destiny playing with him like a puppet. This sentence said exactly after killing Tybalt brings on the idea of the importance of fortune and fate. After this turning point: Tybalt and Mercutio’s death and Romeo’s banishment, all the action happens very quickly. Romeo and Juliet, with Friar Laurence’s help, will fight for their love and prove that the play is a comedy. But, the prologue says that their love is “death-marked” and the play finishes as a tragedy.

In conclusion, the prologue announces a tragical love story. There is, if we omit the chorus, no evidence of an inevitable tragedy during the first few scenes until we get to Mercutio and Tybalt’s death and Romeo banishment which clearly is the turning point of the play. “The deaths of Mercutio and Tybalt are irreversible acts of violence that no comic can solution can gloss over”. (Mehl)


  • CLEMEN, W: The development of Shakespeare’s imaginery Methuen, London 1977
  • MEHL, Dieter: Shakespeare’s Tragedies: An introduction. Cambridge University Press, UK 1986.



4 comentarios

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4 Respuestas a “Essay on Romeo and Juliet.

  1. Please, report any feedback after reading the essay. If you are using any of these material in your own essays, you must mention the source. Thank you in advance.

  2. lydiaortega

    alby! te apetce una sesión de tuenti? jj.

  3. Fantastic story, I didn’t thought it would be so awesome when I saw your link!


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