Structure

Overall notes on structure in Romeo and Juliet

Just like the classical dramas of ancient Greece and Rome, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is structured into five acts that cover about four days. The two lovers meet early on in the play and are separated after two days. The main plot is the love story between Romeo and Juliet, but we also have subplots such as the feud between the Capulets and Montagues or Lord Capulet’s wedding preparations.

The play alters between comedy and tragedy

If you read the entire play or a large extract of it, you will notice how it often switches between comical scenes and more serious ones. The play also frequently switches between slow-paced scenes and fast-paced ones.

There are several reasons for these switches. It would simply be too much for the audience to have every scene be dramatic and filled with romance, fighting, and death. Just like the famous saying that ‘less is more’, the effect of these scenes become greater when they only occur occasionally. At the same time, the comical or slow-paced scenes give the audience a chance to breathe (or laugh) ...

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