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A Rhetorical Question in Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare

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In Shakespeare’s play ‘Romeo and Juliet’, the intense conflict between the families of the Montagues and Capulets illustrates the theme of internal conflict present throughout the play. It is this conflict that led to the downfall of Romeo and Juliet’s relationship and their inevitable death. In the play, Shakespeare uses a rhetorical question when Juliet states, ‘What if it be a poison, which the friar Subtly hath ministered to have me dead?’ This illustrates Juliet’s doubt of Friar Lawrence’s intentions, which shows again how the internal conflict has led to Juliet’s death. Additionally, it cleverly alludes and foreshadows the death of Juliet to poison. In the play, when Juliet asks herself ‘What if this mixture does not work at all?’ My pace rises and speaks fast as a sign of lack-of confidence and fear. Speaking fast initiates excitement for the audience and doubt. Through the constant self-doubt Juliet is experiencing, an internal conflict begins to manifest within. She’s concerned that he has purposely given her ‘poison’ to kill her. She speculates that he might want her dead ‘lest he should be dishonoured’ as he married Juliet to Romeo without the parents’ consent. A rhetorical question is a technique used to convince or unconsciously persuade the viewer. A question which has been addressed in order to establish a dramatic effect or to convey an argument rather than to get an answer. Therefore, by having Juliet constantly questioning her beliefs, the reader understands that self-doubt is engulfing all of her intentions and will slowly lead to her inevitable demise. The emotional flute music utilised in my performance carries the perfect atmosphere in this particular scene. The emotional flute music is used to increase the dramatic intensity of this scene by creating an additional dimension of what the audience sees on the camera to the audience. Therefore, by implementing background music and pace to my play, I have successfully utilised these dramatic devices to illustrate my conflict and theme.

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In Romeo and Juliet, it is perspicuous that Romeo and Juliet have an imperishable and violent love towards each other. In Act 4 Scene 3, alone in fear, Juliet displays the theme of fear when Juliet grasps the vial received by Friar Lawrence, and wonders in doubt and fright the consequences. Juliet utilises a simile in which she trembles, ‘The horrible conceit of death and night. Together with the terror of the place-‘. Similes encourage the audience to utilise their creativity. As similes show rather than tell, they ask the reader to portray images in their mind. By ‘conceit’, she intends the meaning as an idea that relates heavily to imagination and emotion. Juliets ‘conceit’ was the awakening at night amidst the dead conquers Juliet, that she isn’t capable of concluding her sentence. By comparing death and night, Juliet portrays to the reader that death and night are a gruesome illusion, hence she conveys that Juliet’s awakening in the tomb will be fearsome. Her mind wanders around that dreadful thought, discovering it filled with the bones of ancestors that laid there for hundreds of years, finding ghosts and seeing spirits. Therefore, by Juliet having an immense responsibility on herself, the reader understands the doubt and fright she endures in this scene. My black apron conveys Juliet’s emotions and foreshadows death specifically. This foreshadows Juliet’s death as this was where both her and Romeo died. The blue bed sheets convey the variety of feelings Juliet felt as most of Juliet’s decisions were based on her feelings, and blue is the colour used to represent feelings. She had worries before she took the potion that the potion was potentially poisonous. Despite this, Juliet’s passion for Romeo and urge to be with him conquered her fears and she took the potion. In the end, her ultimate decision was centered on her feelings of love. Therefore, by implementing my costuming choice into my play, I have successfully utilised these dramatic devices to illustrate my theme.

I have chosen Act 4 Scene 3, as personally I initiated it to be a scene which was clear, had a great internal conflict and a significant theme to put together a reflection and performance. This scene distinctly values the fear Juliet perceives whether the potion will not work or if it will kill her. In my opinion, this scene has a great internal conflict relating to doubt, which shows the struggle she is experiencing.

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A Rhetorical Question in Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare. (2022, November 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/a-rhetorical-question-in-romeo-and-juliet-by-shakespeare/
“A Rhetorical Question in Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare.” Edubirdie, 25 Nov. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/a-rhetorical-question-in-romeo-and-juliet-by-shakespeare/
A Rhetorical Question in Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/a-rhetorical-question-in-romeo-and-juliet-by-shakespeare/> [Accessed 8 Feb. 2023].
A Rhetorical Question in Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Nov 25 [cited 2023 Feb 8]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/a-rhetorical-question-in-romeo-and-juliet-by-shakespeare/
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