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Writing about context for any essay can be daunting, since it often seems difficult to know what to revise and remember for your exam as you don’t know what the question will be.
Therefore, although his intent is good, in that he wants to bring two lovers together, his actions result in both their untimely deaths.
His following words, “And vice sometimes by action dignified,” foreshadow Friar Lawrence providing the poison potion used by Juliet in act 4.
There are two key ways of ensuring that the context you include will make your essay successful.
This example uses Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet.
‘Shakespeare was born in 1564’, not particularly relevant to the text, try to remember context that is less specific but relevant to the play, such as, ‘In the Elizabethan era, it was widely believed that suicide damned you to Hell’.
This is much more useful contextual knowledge to remember, as it is directly linked to the play.They are very love filled lovers “my bounty is boundless as the sea my love as deep” that shows that they are extremely attracted however that doesn’t seem to have merit for their love is forbidden and altogether their relationship is dangerous enough to lead to their death.Contextually speaking Juliet is shown to be phlegmatic one of the 4 humours that was believed in Shakespeare’s time to come from bodily fluid content which defined her characteristics as relaxed calm and diplomatic which we can see in them first meeting “Saints do not move” she steadily corrects Romeo.If the question was about the genre of the play as a tragedy, you might write about the death scene of Romeo and Juliet and insert this contextual knowledge into the paragraph about this scene.Having the awareness that to a contemporary audience their suicide will lead them to eternity in Hell as well as separation in life, enables you to discuss how the tragedy of the play is really climaxed at this point- as Shakespeare demands empathy for the two characters who have fallen from grace.In the beginning of the play Friar Lawrence declares, “Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied,” which foreshadows that although Friar Lawrence understands how good intentions can swiftly transform into bad outcomes, he later decides to carry out his plan to bring Romeo and Juliet together, displaying his recklessness.When Romeo asks Friar Lawrence to marry him to Juliet, the Friar agrees, hoping “to turn [their] households’ rancour to pure love” advising Romeo that if he hastily marries Juliet there will be many consequences and he should put more thought into this decision, not rush into the marriage.2) Once you have chosen what context to revise, it is important to use it in the most relevant way.For example, instead of writing a separate paragraph on Elizabethan religious beliefs, you might use this context in a way that supports your answer to the essay question, which would gain you high marks.For example, he knows that marrying Romeo to Juliet in secret is wrong and may result in some very violent consequences on the part of both their families since the latter happen to be feuding.He foreshadows the violence to come when he says, “So smile the heavens upon this holy act/ That after-hours with sorrow chide us not,” This in turn foreshadows the violent ending of the play, emphasized by the repetition of the word ‘violent’.