Romeo & Juliet : The opening scene


To be perfectly honest this scene both bored and irritated me. While the scene probably reflected how servants of this time would have actually acted and though it does show us how deep the rift between the houses of Capulet and Montague is, the behaviour of the servants annoyed me beyond belief. Being a 21st century girl I strongly believe in independence and freedom of thought. The servants willingness to initiate the brawl annoyed me. “The quarrel is between our masters and us their men”, said Gregory. Wrong. While servants were more than likely encouraged to stay clear of all Montagues, I’m quite sure they were never instructed to start mindless brawls with them.

Many will probably mistake the servant’s foolish behaviour for loyalty. I however strongly disagree. To me these so called men reminded me more of sheep dogs desperately trying to please their masters. Their starting the fight bared an uncanny resemblance to a dog killing a sheep in order to prove his loyalty and worthiness to his master. You and I both know that in killing the sheep the dog only caused more trouble for it’s master. Well the servants part in the disturbance only ended in the threat of the execution of their masters from a clearly exasperated Prince - “If you ever disturb our streets again your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace”. Very clever.

In fact the only character at the scene of the argument that kept his cool and level head was Benvolio. His fairness and honestly was refreshing. The patience he showed while talking to Romeo I found to be quite remarkable. Had it been me faced with the insufferable task of having to listen to Romeo, I probably would have slapped him. Benvolio is by far my favourite character so far.

Now on to my main aggravation. From the moment the character of Romeo was introduced I instantly disliked him. His “depression” is enough to make any sane person hate him. Romeo is wrapped up in his own little world. The problem being that this “world” of his is crashing down around him. To be honest I feel no sympathy for him at all. Let him be buried by all the rubble, I say. In this scene, at least to me, Romeo merely comes across as a spoiled brat who gets everything he wants. The problem being now that there is something that he can’t have. Rosaline’s love. The fact is men always want what they can’t have and Romeo is no exception. The only difference being that while most men would at least try to get what they want. Romeo has just totally given up. As he says himself, ”She hath forswarn to love: and in that vow do I live dead that live to tell it please”. If I had two words to describe Romeo, I’d have to say drama queen.

Overall, this scene did little to impress me. I found most of the characters annoying and their behaviour over the top While I’m sure that the character’s behaviour works within the overall plot and is probably used to emphasise points within the play, having read the first scene I had no desire to continue.