In Medias Res
In the middle of things
All of Shakespeare's plays begin in the middle
of action that began before the rise of the curtain.
This technique was very successful
at getting the audience involved immediately.
A play on words
In the opening act, Sampson and Gregory use
collier, choler, and collar in banter between them.
Sampson opens the scene by saying the two of
them will not carry coals, meaning they will not
take anything off of anyone. Gregory makes fun
of Sampson by saying that if they did, they would
then be coal dealers (pretending not to get the
point of what Sampson said). Sampson, being a
little dim-witted tries to explain himself (not realizing
that Gregory is making fun of him). Sampson says
no that they will be angry (choler) if they have to
take anything off anyone. To this Gregory says
that they will get in big trouble (Their necks will
be pulled out of their collars) if they start a fight.
The humor of this scene is enhanced by the fact
that Sampson (a man of great strength in the Bible)
is a little guy who is trying to impress Gregory, the
big guy. These two characters are somewhat
similar to the big dog and the little dog in
references to blood
Just like today, audiences in the Elizabethan Age
were drawn to blood and violence. Shakespeare
wanted to appeal to the people in the pit, so they
would pay attention to the play rather than
throwing tomatoes. Therefore, blood is a major
ingredient of Shakepeare's plays.
An example is "...purple fountains issuing from
An indication of something to come-usually bad.
Example: Romeo has a premonition that the events
that will lead to his death will begin at the party that
he plans to crash at the Capulets' house.
A minor character whose purpose is to intensify
a quality of a major character by contrast
Example: The nurse is fat and ugly. She is in
the play to make Juliet look more beautiful.
a dramatic monologue; one person speaking
alone on stage
The purpose is to let the audience know
what the character is thinking. A soliloquy
is like a "voice-over" in a soap opera.
The example is the long speech of Friar
Laurence on page 761 when he speaks
about flowers and herbs, saying that they
are like people: They have the potential for
life and good, but they also have the potential
for death or bad.
New Notes - Beginning Act III
references to ghosts
Romeo says that Mercutio's spirit is waiting
for Tybalt or Romeo to go with him. Romeo
means that he intends to fight Tybalt to the death.
The character says one thing, but the audience
understands it another way.
Lady Capulet demands the death of Romeo. She
does not know that she is demanding the death
of her son-in-law and, indirectly, her own daughter.
something out of place in time
Romeo tells the nurse that his name has been
like a gun that murdered Juliet. He means
that he has brought her heartache. Guns had
not been invented in the time of Romeo and Juliet.
The Globe Theater used the light of day to
to night/light illuminate the stage. In order to achieve this
the roof was open to the sun. As a result,
audiences had to be reminded when the
scene was set at night.
Often actors will mention the stars, the dark
sky, or light from the dawn beginning to break
into the dark of night.
The example is when Romeo tells Juliet to
look at the streaks of light coming from the
eastern part of the sky, meaning that it is
almost dawn, and he must leave her.
Nature is in tune
At the end of the play, the sun refuses to come
with the deeds out because of the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.
The last person
The prince speaks last saying
to speak is always "A glooming peace this morning
the person of with it brings.
highest birth. The sun for sorrow will not
show his head.
...For never was a story
of more woe
Than this of Juiet and her Romeo."
Shakespeare did this in all his plays to honor
the nobility who often sponsored theater