Romeo & Juliet - Acte IV

Publié le par Amandine

ACTE IV – scene 1

  • a watershed (point tournant)

  • J. demonstrates her commitment to defying her father's rule

  • J. asserts her independence

  • J.'s composure (aplomb) is exceptional

  • the surprise to find Paris contributes to the dramatic tension

  • the tension between J. & Paris is electric : rigid and formal exchange > stichomythia

  • Paris : proper and courteous suitor # J. evades questions and compliments

  • J. has made a series of mature, reasoned decisions (defying her family, marrying, sacrificing) which are contrary to Paris and Capulet's view

  • J.'s conversation with Friar parallels III, 3 > only death can offer a solution to her dilemma

  • The Gothic images foreshadows the play's final scene

  • wild fears of a young teenager

  • highlight her bravery and the depth of her love

  • The friar's willingness to help J. reflects his concern for his own role

  • The friar is yet powerless, subject to the whims of fate

  • The friar's plan appears farfetched and morbidly weird.

  • The plan manifests themes repeatedly intertwined : love, marriage, life and death

  • theme echoes words from II,3 about nature's mother, tomb and womb

  • the circle of life and death is reversed

  • II,3 the friar describes the dual qualities of the flower

  • due to the influence of fate, the plan becomes the vehicle of the tragedy itself

ACTE IV – scene 2

  • fate twists J.'s fortunes once again

  • J.'s enthusiasm, however feigned, seems to heighten her father's zeal even further

  • at least somewhat genuine

  • Capulet is characteristically impulsive, rash and unpredictable

  • he shows a greater disrespect for his wife and J. > blathering authoritarianism

  • the comparison between J. and her mother is noteworthy : Lady Capulet cannot exercice any control in her life and receives no respect from her husband # Juliet has taken control of her life, she can command her own fate

  • J. displays remarkable powers of duplicity, which goes beyond her skillful use of language

  • the wedding preparation manifest the betrayal

ACTE IV – scene 3

  • J. asserts her independence by asking her betrayers, the Nurse & Lady Capulet, to leave her alone

    => she both physically separates herself from her family and proactively takes a step toward the plan

  • The direct request marks a turning point for J. : she often reacted to her surroundings rather than making her own decisions (instruction from R., father ordering a marriage, the Friar providing her with a plan)

    => she has grown more mature and independent + determination

  • themes of birth and death to emphasize the way in which J. must die (reborn to begin her new life with R.)

  • she is a woman who commands her own fate, the dagger is a resonant statement of her independence

ACTE IV – scene 4

  • the atmosphere is electrified with the joyful expectation of the upcoming marriage

  • the commotion on the lower floors provides a striking contrast with the scene upstairs, where the bride is dead

  • Capulet's final line is ironic when he notes the arrival of Paris

  • The appearance of the bridegroom also foreshadows Capulet's speech of lamentation in the next scene, when he describes death as a rival suitor for J.

ACTE IV – scene 5

  • The Nurse opens the scene by bantering (badinage) humorously with references to J.'s wedding night

  • she anticipates that J. will get little sleep that night

  • the viewer knows

  • the tone of the scene immediately changes from excited anticipation to shocked sorrow

  • love-death-marriage

  • Capulet's lines blend the Friar's concept of nature as a cyclical force taking like to give life

  • macabre mix of sex and death, emphasizing the Elizabethan translation of death as sexual ecstasy

    > deaht has taken J.'s virginty

  • echoes J.'s woeful (sordide) proclamation in III, 2 “ death, not Romeo, take my maidenhead”

  • these images anticipate the consummation of R. & J.'s deaths in the final act

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