Leonard Whiting as Romeo, and Olivia Hussey as Juliet, in the 1968 version of the play, directed by Franco Zeffirelli. This version is said to be one of the most accurate portrayals of the play, right down to the way they died.
Ah, it has finally happened...and it only took a day:  Romeo has dumped Rosaline's memory and gone forward to pursue Juliet for marriage...only hours after meeting her?

What the what?  A few hours?  Shakespeare was not the master of plot, but he did know how to set up a good love story.  We can pretend that this conversation happened after a couple of very intense dates, a few good snogging sessions, and then! the passionate proposal...all the while Juliet is playing hard to get.  But no...no...just a few hours.

Let's break this up into chunks.
First:  Romeo's monologue - FULL of metaphors that compare Juliet to an astronomical phenomenon, namely the sun and the stars.  Romeo is using the dichotomy of light and dark to show Juliet as the 'light' in Romeo's world, as opposed to what his love life was prior to the party (cough, cough, Rosaline...).  The metaphors highlight Romeo's idea of perfection; it is fairly clear that Romeo views Juliet as the idea of female perfection. 

Second:  Romeo goes into creeper mode, and then listens to Juliet deliver her "soliloquy", though dramatic irony provides tension for the audience while Romeo intently listens.  Whilst speaking, Juliet provides reflections on the duality of a name, asking outright, "What is a name?"  It may not be any part belonging to a man, but it is definitely a part of her enemy.  This section has Juliet seriously conflicted about how to pursue Romeo, if she pursues Romeo at all (even though, to the audience, she has already declared that she met Romeo "too late", indicating she is, indeed, in love).  Romeo then volunteers to discard his name if that is something she requests. 

Third:  Romeo goes in for the kill.  Since Romeo has declared that he would give his world up for Juliet, he lays on the flattery in very thick layers.  Juliet, at this point, is clearly worried for Romeo's life, indicating that if he was seen, that he would be killed.  Juliet is backing off because she's not quite sure what Romeo wants...does he want to sleep with her?  Does he want to kiss her?  Are his intentions honorable or does he want a one night stand?

Fourth:  Juliet catches Romeo in a pickle - he tries to swear his love, but she tells him, "Do not swear at all", but especially by the inconstant moon, a symbol for change.  Romeo declares his lack of satisfaction, then says what he wants:  "the exchange of thy love's faithful vow for mine."  Romeo gets what he wants - he just wants Juliet to promise that she is Romeo's

Fifth:  THE DARNED NURSE!  She is interrupting another intimate moment!  Romeo and Juliet are discussing the intent to marry, and the nurse will not quit calling Juliet inside!  Romeo keeps looking at the empty window...perhaps some foreshadowing to come.  After all, the time that Romeo and Juliet have in this play, together, is actually rather limited.

Lastly, the figurative language at the end of the scene is sickly sweet; the exchange of metaphors and similes indicate how they have both been properly wooed.  Now, it's time for the wedding.

In II.iii and II.iv, Romeo sets his plans forth to make good on Juliet's promise.  Here's my question of the day:  Does II.ii expose Romeo's tragic flaw??  Let's see if Friar Laurence can't tease it out for us.

Ms. B

The guy
3/6/2013 09:12:28 am

Comment deleted

3/10/2013 08:02:20 am

dear ms.Bellon would the scene when romeo is talking to friar lawrence about being banished wouldnt that be a hyperbole because he is over reacting


Leave a Reply.