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Romeo and Juliet

William Shakespeare

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Act 2, prologue–scene 1

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Act 2, prologue–scene 1

Act 2, prologue–scene 1

Act 2, prologue–scene 1

Act 2, prologue–scene 1

Act 2, prologue–scene 1

Romeo is of course speaking metaphorically here; Juliet is not the sun, and it is still night in the orchard. But Romeo states the comparison with such devotion that it should be clear to the audience that, for him, it is no simple metaphor. For Romeo, Juliet is the sun, and it is no longer night. Here is an example of the power of language to briefly transform the world, in the service of love.

And yet, in the same speech, Romeo and Juliet also question the power of language. Wishing that Romeo were not the son of her father’s enemy, Juliet says:

’Tis but thy name that is my enemy.
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What’s Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet.
(2.1.80–86)

Here Juliet questions why Romeo must be her enemy. She refuses to believe that Romeo is defined by being a Montague, and therefore implies that the two of them can love each other without fear of the social repercussions. But language as an expression of social institutions such as family, politics, or religion cannot be dismissed so easily because no other character in the play is willing to dismiss them. Juliet loves Romeo because he is Romeo, but the power of her love cannot remove from him his last name of Montague or all that it stands for. In the privacy of the garden the language of love is triumphant. But in the social world, the language of society holds sway. This battle of language, in which Romeo and Juliet try to remake the world so that it would allow for their love, is one to keep an eye on.

Shakespeare's tips for breaking up with someone

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ACT 2, PROLOGUE–SCENE 1 QUIZ

Why doesn't Romeo leave with Mercutio and Benvolio
He is tired of their jokes.
He has arranged to meet Juliet.
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Wrong!!!!!!!!

by ConorD98, February 18, 2013

In act 2 scene 5 Nurse appears to be tired and sore and tell Romeo the news NOT in act 2 scene 4 as sparknotes have written down.

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62 out of 180 people found this helpful

Thanks :)

by SingitforJesus, April 09, 2013

We are reading Romeo and Juliet in my class and it is so confusing because of the way they talked back then. Sparknotes has been a great help.

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20 out of 33 people found this helpful

Petrarch... Balcony Scene.

by marnie94, April 13, 2013

http://marnielangeroodiblog.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/romeo-and-juliet-is-the-balcony-scene-bull/

This essay (written in my first year at uni) focuses on the balcony scene but should help with thinking about the development of the characters and their relationship. If you're talking about Petrarchan conceit, this should help a lot.

Good luck!! Please follow.

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17 out of 34 people found this helpful

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Romeo and Juliet (No Fear Shakespeare)

Romeo and Juliet (SparkNotes Literature Guide Series)

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