How is the Prince presented in his speech?
The Prince is clearly furious with the two families who are brawling once again, and outlines his frustrated view of them and the consequences of further action. His city is at stake.
In the line ‘Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace’Shakespeare’s use of the adjective ‘rebellious’ emphasises how the Prince feels they are challenging the law that he has laid down, and they are almost out of control.
The use of the rhetorical question in his line ‘Will they not hear?’ indicates to the audience that the Prince is losing patience, and is determined this time to take steps that they will be unable to ignore.
The metaphor ‘you beasts!’ indicates that the Prince sees the fighting families as no better than animals, and that he views conflict as not in keeping with behaviour befitting of human beings. Shakespeare’s use of the exclamation mark emphasises the growing tone of anger this line might be delivered in.
The Prince refers to ‘our streets’with Shakespeare’s collective pronoun emphasising how, for him, the fighting has a personal impact on everyone in the city. Later the audience learns that ‘Verona’s ancient citizens’are made to ‘wield old partisans’–this is a clear grievance of the Prince as he believes they should be safe and enjoying their retirement, rather than having to pick up swords.
He is described by Shakespeare as a ‘moved Prince’which has connotations of being emotionally disturbed by the fighting, perhaps showing his underlying sadness.
The Prince moves towards decisiveness after a period of berating the men. He declares that their ‘lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace’and the use of the imperative is informing the audience that he is trying to sound authoritative in giving the families a final ultimatum.