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In what ways do Romeo and Juliet stand out as Characters?


In one of the most recognised plays of all time “Romeo and Juliet” would have to have characters that stand out and make the audience feel as if they have known these people for more “the two hours of the stage”. This play makes you experience real emotions for the characters by putting them in a situation, which seems so real because it’s about love, a thing that most of us have experienced at one time or another.


One thing that strikes oneself when reading the start of the play is how the parents treat their children. Both sets are obviously very rich, so maids or servants care for them leaving bonds between parent and child restricted. This has certain effects on them so when the parents do try and talk its extremely difficult. Romeo’s parents distance themselves from him, as they do not completely understand him. This forces them to have his cousin Benvolio, the person closest to Romeo to try and keep track of his whereabouts and feelings


LM “O where is Romeo? Saw you him today?”





B “Madam, an hour before the worshipped sun…”


This is why they let him roam with a fair amount of freedom and hope that his cousin is good enough for him. Romeo though has other plans, and looks towards the friar for comfort and often to solve his problems too.


The Capulet family have a different approach to treating their daughter, even though they do tend to distance themselves they still keep her very controlled and close to them because as their only heir to the family fortune they don’t want her to get into unnecessary trouble and would guard her chastity very tightly. Here the father, a very demanding figure wants her to marry Paris only for the reason that he is a rich man and if they wed then their financial status will be secured


“In all respects by me; nay more, I doubt it not.


Wife, go you to her ere you go to bed,


Acquaint her here of my son Paris’s love,


And bid her-mark you me-on Wednesday next.”


Of course by her fathers actions she acquires rebellious ways but these backfire with disastrous consequences when she speaks of her troubles to her father concerning her wish not to marry Paris


C “And you be mine, I’ll give you to my friend;


And you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets.”


She naturally strays from her father because of his arrogance and steers clear of the mother because of her juvenility, inaccessibility and coldness


LC “(talking about Juliet) This is the matter. Nurse, give leave a while,


We must talk in secret. Nurse, come back again.”


So she keeps close to her Nurse. The Nurse being a caring having lost a child herself but sloth like in her duties. Juliet relates to her as her own mother by asking for advice and the nurse obviously feels the same way as she goes and chases up Romeo and interrogates him like any mother would upon finding out Juliet’s love for him. She also is prepared to lie and play dangerously for Juliet as she cares for Juliet’s feelings very much


Romeo is melancholic which is plain to see when Benvolio is explaining to Romeo’s parents about his recent activities


“And gladly shunned who gladly fled from me.” He tries to shadow this by being alone much of the time. In a recent Hollywood adaptation of the play Romeo is seen writing some poetry, about mostly his rejected love for Rosaline and this sums up his character well


“And private in his chamber pens himself,


Shuts up his windows, locks fair daylight out.”


Further proof about his melancholic personality trying to be hidden is his use of language in a conversation. Romeo is very sharp and can talk himself out of an uncomfortable situation whenever he feels like it. He has no willingness to make friends either, especially as the friends he knows now are far much less intelligent than him causing him to be fed up with people. He sometimes mocks the other person’s intelligence as we can see with Benvolio here


R “Dost thou not laugh?”


B “No, coz, I rather weep.”


R “Good heart, at what?”


B “At thy good heart’s oppression.”


Another good example of his sharpness,


“Not I, believe me. You have dancing shoes with nimble soles, I have a soul of lead.”


Romeo’s personality does change though but only when he is around his love Juliet. His language changes to a positive state and we can see this when he uses hyperbolic sentences


“Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,


Having some business, do entreat her eyes


To twinkle in their spheres till they return.”


There is also evidence that he doesn’t think that much of himself but many people think he is testing her intelligence with verbal games and he clearly enjoys it as no one else really understands him like her. Here he says that he is nothing compared to Juliet, her hand is a shrine and Romeo is a pilgrim


“If I profane with my unworthiest hand


This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this,


My lips two blushing pilgrims…”


Destiny and being star-crossed lovers bring these two together. Destiny plays a heavy part in Shakespeare’s day (as the theory went that the stars controlled everyone and no one could prevent or change their future.) So idea is featured heavily in the relationship between the two as the stars features many times in the conversations


R “Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,” Shakespeare seems almost obsessed with foreshadowing the tragedy that will eventually engulf these “star-crossed lovers” and involves other people to predict it too


FriL “And thou art wedded to calamity.”





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Some people go throughout their lives living under a veil, whether it is intentional or not. Here in America, most people choose to live like this without ever knowing there are other options out there. They get up in the morning, go to work, come home and go to sleep. They listen to their music and watch their programs and probably pay attention to the news every day. The problem is, some of those people never question what they have and how it came to be, just that they have their life and that is all that is important. That is what America is all about, doing what you want and being able to ignore all the wrong in the world.


Having this freedom can be considered a fault because too many things are taken for granted. For example; a male in his mid-twenties working for a living, owns his own vehicle, has a nice apartment, high-tech toys for his entertainment. He never has to worry about where his next meal is going to come from or if someone is going to come and haul him off to jail. He believes his government is corrupt and evil, they make his life horrible, yet he won’t put in the effort to vote for his politicians. If only he could go live in Iraq for a week under Saddam’s rule and learn how hard life can really be, maybe the veil over his eyes would be lifted.


The saying goes, “Don’t believe everything you hear.” After the World War, people were terrified of anyone who was different. An upstanding citizen could laugh the wrong way and would be termed a communist even when most people didn’t understand what that word meant. This happened because the media told the American people what to think. If you were different, then you were evil, and this included works of literature. Just like the Nazi’s, groups would get together and burn books right in the street, shouting and cheering like God himself was joining in. Heaven forbid someone should be creative and use their freedom of speech to express themselves. Eventually the book burning stopped, and thankfully the experience inspired some authors to use it to their advantage.


One of these authors was Ray Bradbury and he created a world that just might have happened if things had been different. “Fahrenheit 451,” was set many decades after the book burning period. People stopped being themselves so no one would ever get upset, even the Bible was banned because other religions didn’t agree with it. Instead of individuals, there was a sad society going from one day to the next doing exactly the same thing. There was no color left, no dreams, no desires, just air. In our world, Fire Fighters are hero’s, people who save lives and protect our most prized possessions. In Bradbury’s world, fire fighters destroy them by burning any house down that has a book inside of it. They don’t even care if people are inside; it is their job to keep the public in line.





Guy Montag was one of these men. He lived his whole life under the veil created around him, never questioning it, just doing what everyone else did. He was married to a woman named Mildred who he had no real connection with, and had never looked up at the stars. Then one day he met a young girl named Clarisse, who was everything he wasn’t but wanted to be. She was full of life and joy; she found everything in the world interesting and didn’t care what anyone thought of her. Clarisse opened Guy’s eyes to the real world, made him want to think on his own instead of following society. She was his savior, and he broke out of that world because of her.


There was a movie made a couple of years ago that had very similar characters to Bradbury’s. This movie was called “American Beauty” and the main character’s name was Lester Burnham. He was going through life numb, just doing the same routine day in and day out. The difference was his veil covered just his life. He was caught in a marriage with a woman that was just as cold to him as Mildred was to Guy. Lester didn’t have anything that made his life worthwhile, until a young girl named Angela came into the picture. Angela would be about the same age as Clarisse, and though their personalities definitely clash, the affects they had on Guy and Lester are very much the same. When Lester saw Angela for the first time, he said, “It’s the strangest thing. I feel like I’ve been in a coma for thirty years and I’m first now waking up(American Beauty).” He began to stand up to his wife, quit his job that he hated, and found something that brought happiness to him. His wife Carolyn was somewhat similar to Mildred where she made the decision to destroy Lester’s life, but instead of calling the fire department, she was going to do it herself.


The Burnham’s neighbor, Ricky, was probably more like Clarisse overall. He looked at everything and wasn’t afraid to be curious, it was all beautiful to him. Life was a wondrous creation he could constantly be caught up in, even a plastic bag dancing in circles for an hour. Ricky did have an impact on Lester, not quite as much as Angela, but he made him want to live life more carefree and open to more possibilities.


Unlike Lester and Guy, some people live under a veil purposefully. They don’t want to open their lives up to happiness and new things. One character from John Osborne’s play, “Look Back in Anger,” lived his whole life this way. Jimmy Porter lived in a tiny apartment with his silent wife, worked a low-paying job, and complained about anything and everything. He was a well educated man who was never happy with anything and liked it that way. Jimmy believed that the only way to feel anything was if it was negative, so he constantly talked down to people about their lives and how small and insignificant they were. He wanted someone with him that would be just as unhappy and opinionated as he was.


Even though Jimmy could take on almost any job he wanted, he chose to stay at a poor one so his life would always be bad. He was against everything rich people were for, creating a constant downfall for him. The thing is he wasn’t really for the working class either since he talked down to everyone that wasn’t as educated as him. He was bored with his life because his friends didn’t have the knowledge to keep up with him, and he wanted nothing to do with the people who would be able to. Jimmy is a hypocrite in wanting the rich to suffer because they have too much. He has everything he wants and yet he closes himself off from enjoying anything. His wife Alison wasn’t even enough to open him up.


Alison was an interesting character because she had so many thoughts and feelings she wanted to say out loud to Jimmy, but never opened her mouth until she was at her lowest point. She let him bash her and her family the whole time they were together, all the while knowing that he just wanted her to speak up and think for herself. She was selfish knowing she could control him in the way of him lashing out at everyone. Alison would turn to Jimmy’s friend to defend her when all she had to do was talk to him. She kept herself there when she could have had any life she wanted. And when she finally went away, she couldn’t stand being away from Jimmy. She was probably more pitiful than Jimmy since she couldn’t find her own path, only what others put before her. Neither of them wanted to break out of their sad little life because that was the only way they didn’t feel numb.


Everyone has some kind of veil over their eyes, whether they know it or not. When it comes to Americans, too many people choose to never lift that veil and look at what is out there. One main concern is the environment and how we are going to keep it safe. Another is population control for the world. It is important that we are educated on some of these issues at a young age, but no one seems interested in enforcing it. Like Clarisse, someone needs to take a stand and start making a difference, even if it is just to one person. A chain reaction will occur and maybe our planet will survive for another millennium. Otherwise we will just go on with out daily lives and ignore all the things that really matter, and one day our world will end like the city in Bradbury’s book. We have to stop living behind this wall, acting like nothing will ever happen. Our world can not end up like Guy’s or Jimmy’s; we need to have a world full of Clarisse’s and Ricky’s.


Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. The Ballantine Publishing Group, 150.


Osborne, John. Look Back in Anger. Penguin Group, 157.


American Beauty. Sam Mendes. Jinks/Cohen Company. Perf. Kevin Spacey,Annette Benning, and Peter Gallagher. Dreamworks Pictures, 000.


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How do the writers of “the Cone”, The Red Room” and “The Man with the Twisted Lip, create atmosphere, tension and suspense?


In this piece of course work I will be looking at how the writers of three short stories create atmosphere, tension and suspense, through the choice of setting, the role of the narrator, how the other characters are used, how the stories are structured, the use of language, your own response to the stories. I will be looking at “The Cone” and “The Red Room” by H.G Wells, and “The Man with the Twisted Lip” By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.


In “The Red Room” Wells uses mans fear of darkness to his advantage “even with seven candles the place was merely dim” (pg7), Wells knows that most people are afraid of the dark and so he knows that the reader can relate to the characters when the become afraid of the darkness, this builds up tension with the reader as they can relate to what is happening. This is the only story out of all three that is set in a secluded place “Lorraine Castle” (pg5) In history castles have been the settings of many horror stories and having his book set in a castle instantly creates a sense tension and atmosphere as the reader knows that a castles are already scary places.


This is in contrast to the other two stories as they are both set in outside areas or move between different areas. “The Man with the Twisted Lip” is set in London but in two contrasting parts the respectable area of “Lee” (pg8) and the crime infested East end where the docks are situated. This contrast creates an atmosphere as the reader is kept wondering what will happen next? Doyle uses human fears to his advantage just like Wells does in “The Red Room” in the Victorian time when this story would have been read the industrial revolution was happening and the new machines and vehicles would have been slightly scary to them. So the docks would have been a scary place to them. Also the “Vile alleys” would have been a scary place to the Victorians as Jack the ripper was around there and the alleys are where Jack the Ripper killed. All of this really creates atmosphere, tension and suspense to the reader, especially the Victorian readers. Doyle really built upon this by using scenes like sounds and smells, which are a humans best scenes, to give the reader a better picture in their head of what is being described.





In “The Cone” also by Wells he used the Victorian reader’s lack of knowledge for the new machinery to build up atmosphere, tension and suspense like Doyle did in “The Man with the Twisted Lip”. Wells sets the scene in the opening paragraph which puts a picture straight into the readers mind and uses descriptions of light and sound to add to the atmosphere “sound of a roaring and rushing grew nearer” (pg1), “There was a glare of light above the cutting” (pg1).


The narrators play an important part in all the story’s in “The Red Room” the narrator is first person and is unnamed , he is a flawed rationalist, he says there will be nothing there that can scare him “that it will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me” (pg1) but he still is carrying a gun “Then, with my hand in the pocket that held my revolver” This contradiction within the narrator creates an unease and lack of trust with the reader and so creates tension. Wells breaks the narrator down throughout the book to show that fear can affect anyone and on (pg11) the narrator Says “there is no ghost there at all; but worse, far worse” this really scares the reader and builds up the tension, and suspense then he explains “Fear” is the room this is an anti-climax, and the reader can now relax and the atmosphere begins to calm.


In “The Man with the Twisted Lip” the narrator is 1st person and we know who he is, his name is “Watson” (pg5) and he is known worldwide so the reader instantly feels she knows him and this forces the reader to trust him, also Watson is a doctor and people feel they can trust doctors so this adds to the trust. Watson is familiar with the other characters and this relaxes the tension which there would normally be if he was meeting these characters for the first time. Doyle has made Watson into an un-biased character who just reports the situation to whoever he is talking to; this keeps the atmosphere, tension, and suspense low as they know Watson is telling the truth. This is a totally different approach to a narrator compared to the narrator of “The Red Room” which there is little trust at all.


In “The Cone” Wells has used a rd person narrator which is different to the 1st person narrators used in the other two stories and we do not know his name. He used complex wording “ceremonial politeness” (pg5) and this creates a sense of trust with the reader, and like Watson did he reports the story with no opinions given which keeps a relaxed atmosphere when he is explaining.


In “The red room” Wells has used now clich�d characters to build atmosphere, tension, and suspense. The characters in the castle the start of the story are very clich�d in today’s society and so are less scary to today’s readers but to the Victorian readers they would have been very frightening. An example of a clich�d character is “the man with the withered arm” in Victorian times he would have built suspense, tension and a spooky atmosphere but today it does not. The old lady builds tension when she says “this night of all nights!” (pg) which makes it sound like something big will happen this night, also the old characters repeat what they say and this repetition builds a really spooky atmosphere.


In “The Man with the Twisted Lip” Sherlock Holmes is used and he is a famous character throughout the world so there is an instant trust between him and the reader. He is used to solve the mystery, but is very secretive and this ads tension as the reader wants to know what he knows. Also he is very clever, organised and precise which creates a calmer atmosphere when he is around. Neville is an exact opposite to the beggar “I will not have them ashamed” (pg7) also the beggar is not respected “Shock of orange hair” (pg1) where as Neville is, and this contrast builds up atmosphere when these characters are around. There is also an oriental feel added by some of the other characters “Lascar” which is an oriental fisherman plus opium was originally an oriental drug.


In “The Cone” Horrocks is used to ad a scary element he is described as the “ironmaster” which adds a tension when ever he is around as it gives the impression of evil, He is obsessed with his creation of the industrial site “That dreadful theory of yours that machinery is beautiful, and everything else in the world is ugly” (wife pg4) this adds a tense atmosphere when Horrocks is around his machines. When Horrocks first enters he enters from the shadows which are related to evil and this reflects his character. Raut is afraid of Horrocks and feels that he might be killed by him “had Horrocks actually held him back in the way of the train” and this tension between the two characters adds tension and suspense whenever they are together. Horrocks is a very intimidating character and refers to blood, evil, sin and the devil. “it will boil the blood out of you in no time” (pg1) and these referrals to things that are related to evil adds a sense that Horrocks is kind of supernatural which in tern creates tension and suspense around him.


The structure of a story is very important and can add to the tension, suspense and atmosphere. In “The Red Room” There are nine stages of the narrator going to be rational to being frightened and back to ration again these stages are 1.Talking to the old people, .The approach to “The Red Room” .sees the bronze group gets scared “someone crouching” 4.Stairs to “The Red Room” 5.”Sudden twinge of apprehension” remembers where the duke fell. 6. Goes into “the Red Room” begins to become frightened. 7.Candles begin to go out, panic. 8. Panics and gets knocked out .Talks about fear with the old people which echo’s the story of the duke. Also the long sections of dialog distract from the tension and short speech adds to it.


As in “The Red Room” long sections of dialog ease the tension and short speech adds to it. There is action from the outset which gets the reader involved straight away and we are given the background to the characters on pg1. We aren’t given the full explanation of what happened in the story till the end which keeps the reader on the edge trying to think what could have happened this also adds tension as the reader id tense. The entire story is told through speech and conversation which means the reader can stay with the plot all the way through.


In “The Cone” again long description eases off the tension and short snappy sentences and speech add tension. These long complex sections help the reader to understand what is happening. We know what will eventually happen, that Raut will eventually be murdered by Horrocks and this puts the reader on edge as they are waiting to see when it happens which really build a tense atmosphere and major suspense. The short sentences at the end build up suspense to Raut’s murder. Tension is built through out the story using a series of anti-climax’s which keep the reader interested e.g. when Horrocks holds Raut in front of the train then pulls him out of the way.


The language in a story is another element which can add atmosphere, suspense and tension. In “The Red Room” the narrator speaks of fear as an object not a feeling and the story ends with fear which everybody can relate to, the language in the story is sophisticated so that all the characters are viewed the same this keeps an un-biased viewpoint on each character so that the reader can make up there own mind on each character. Repetition is used to really emphasise important parts “Fear” and spooky adjectives are used like “spectre”, “ghost” and “darkness” this gives the story a supernatural feel. There is a biased way of telling the story, the narrator only talks about the supernatural elements and not the normal ones and so the reader feels as if there is something supernatural going on but at the end it is told that it is only “fear”. Imagery or personification is used a lot where human things are used to describe non-human objects “tongue of flame”; Imagery is used a lot in this story through use of metaphors, similes and personification.


The language in “The Man with the Twisted Lip” is very intelligent and sophisticated with an oriental feel to it, and long complex words are used to show that the characters are well educated and so we trust them. Conversation is used to tell the story unlike the others where description is used, and the important parts are repeated to make sure the reader recognizes that it is important. Many questions are asked on pg.0 and where murder is being discussed on pg17 short sentences are used. People’s faces are described a lot and the story is written in a formal Victorian language.


In “the Cone” a lot of imagery is used like in “The Red Room” to aid the reader and to give them a better understanding of what the scene looks like and how it would have made the characters feel “seemed to swallow down train, smoke and sound in one abrupt gulp” (pg1) another example of personification is “The round eye of light in front of it” (pg). There is a lot of long description of the big machines so that the reader can really envisage what it would have looked like and what the atmosphere was like there.


I liked all three stories but my favourite story is “The Cone” by Wells you can really get the feeling of how Raut must of felt when he was walking round the iron works with Horrocks; the descriptions of the machines really add tension suspense and atmosphere to the story better than both of the other stories. I prefer the rd person narrator to the first as you really feel like you are hearing a story and not a diary reading. The way in which the anti-climax’s keeps the reader hooked as well, is another point I like, there is no point in the story where I got bored.


In “The Man with the twisted Lip” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle I liked the contrast between Lee and the East end it really added a good atmosphere by switching between the two and I like the final outcome of the story. Another good point is that you don’t get the full explanation of what has happened till the end but you know that Holmes knows what is happening; this keeps you involved in the story. The thing which I didn’t like in this story was the lack of excitement and suspense there needed to be more.


In “The Red Room” I didn’t like the clich�d characters, I know they would have worked back in the time when it was written but they have been too overused to work today. I like the stages of the narrator going from rational to scared and back to rational I feel this is clear to the reader, and also each reader will be able to pick up on their own nine stages, not everyone will see them the same. Another point I like is the contradiction between the narrator believing he is rational and saying there will be nothing supernatural or scary there but still carrying a gun.








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