Romeo and Juliet

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  • How does Shakespeare present the servants in the opening  scene?
    • 'dog' This metaphor conveys their utter disdain. they believe that the Montague family is beneath them, almost as if they are the 'masters'/ 'superior'. they are essentially swearing at them as it would have been an insult at the time.
    • 'The heads of the maids'. they don't really care about women as they are thinking about either killing them or ****** them. The servants have absolutely no respect towards women. The idea of being aggressive is a  true sign of a manliness/ masculinity. This links into the patriarchal society. The crude references to women would have shocked the audience at the time. Women were objects to be used and abused.
    • Shakespeare starts off with the servants arguing to highlight the fact that the hatred runs straight through the two families, down to their servants and to the rest of society.
    • 'Sir' Both the servants are from the Capulet household and use 'sir' when talking to the servants from the Montague household. They're absolutely terrified but they are going to have to fight. There is repetition of the word 'sir' and it also adds a sense of sarcasm to it. The frequent repetition of 'sir' indicates the potential fear experienced in the conversation. However, it can be seen as sarcasm as it's not a genuine statement, therefore making it more insulting. Furthermore, 'sir' shows that the social structure is in place.
    • 'let them begin' This shows that the servants are cowards even though they are loyal towards the family. They also don't want to get in trouble. The servants find fun in this, almost like a child, as they would have been teenagers themselves at the time. The fact that there's going to be a fight is inevitable, and the servants go there with this attitude.
    • The servants are absolutely loyal towards the family; they feel a part of the feud even though it has nothing to do with them.
    • Violence is like second nature to the servants of both the Montague and the Capulet household.
    • Throughout the opening scene, social hierarchy is very evident.
    • The servants' beliefs are the whole of Verona's beliefs. The hatred is everywhere.


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