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Analysis of Act 2 Scene 2 of Romeo and Juliet

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Analysis of Act 2 Scene 2 of Romeo and Juliet (In terms of its significance for the whole play, it's dramatic impact and its romantic language) In the beginning of this play the two families of Verona, the Capulet's and the Montague's, have been in a feud for generations. Romeo Montague believes he is deeply in love with Rosaline at this point. He conveys this feeling using language filled with oxymoron - "O heavy lightness, serious vanity...Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health". These oxymoron show that Romeo's love for Rosaline is passionate and dramatic but maybe not as real as he thinks. When Romeo and his kinsmen find out about the Capulet ball, they know it will be dangerous to attend. But Benvolio convinces Romeo that it will be a good opportunity to compare Rosaline to more beautiful girls. Romeo strongly disagrees, but says he will go, in order to prove Benvolio wrong. At the feast he sees Juliet and falls in love with her at first sight. Their first meeting - Act 1 Scene 5 - is quick and short, in the form of a sonnet. The language is much simpler and down to earth than Romeo's dramatic experience with Rosaline. ...read more.


At first she doesn't see Romeo in clear light, but in the shadows of the trees. She doesn't even know who he is: "What man art thou, that thus bescreened in night So stumblest on my counsel?" Also when Juliet realizes that it's Romeo, what she recognizes is not the look of Romeo but the sound of his voice, which may suggest that her love is based on more than the brightness of his physical appearance. "My ears have not yet drunk a hundred words Of thy tongue's uttering, yet I know the sound." Elizabethan audiences were used to all these references to light because Elizabethan theatre only functioned in natural light and therefore needed this imagery to help their imagination. However, it is likely that Shakespeare is contrasting the lovers in order to explore the differences between them. I find it intriguing that Act 2 Scene 2 is so well known as 'the balcony scene' yet in the Heinemann edition, there is no mention of a balcony. We are just told that Juliet enters at the window, which could very well be on the ground floor. However in the New Penguin edition the stage directions say, "enter Juliet above" and "enter Juliet above again". ...read more.


Perhaps we can see Juliet's practicality as a result of the social conditions she is living in, as opposed to Romeo's life, which is a lot freer. It could be argued that all the differences between Romeo and Juliet in this scene might be a warning. Possibly Shakespeare is saying that the lovers have a rocky road ahead and that this relationship won't be as easy as others. All the secrecy set up in this scene - from the first moments of Romeo hidden in the shadows, to the final plans for a secret marriage - continues throughout the entire play. The secrecy is a great strain on the relationship. This isn't helped by the lack of communication hinted at in this scene. In places, the two lovers are speaking two rather different languages and have different priorities. Lack of communication is their down fall when the letter from Friar Lawrence doesn't arrive to Romeo, in Act 5 Scene 2, with tragic consequences. In fact, of course, their relationship ends in both their deaths. Although this scene is full of love and passion, it also highlights some instability, some inequality, but most importantly fear of what is to come. "I have no joy of this contract tonight. It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden, Too like the lightening, which doth cease to be Ere one can say, 'It lightens'". By Chiara Brignone ...read more.

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