Romeo and Juliet, 3.2.69-137
Juliet’s speech (1-34) begins with a reference to Phoebus (1-4) (designating Helios (god of the sun) and his son Phaëton (who in the myth, failed to control the “fiery-footed steeds” and almost led to the destruction of the earth). Juliet’s eagerness is paralleled with this wildly and uncontrolable sun-chariot. Follows Juliet’s imagination of the “love-performing night”. The idea that beauty creates its own light is conjured up by Juliet :
“8 Lovers can see to do their amorous rites
Juliet’s eagerness to see night falling is emphasized by the next lines, with a note of eroticism:
“ 10 Come, civil night, (...)
Juliet’s desire is ...view middle of the document...
The two scenes are thus very similar in the way events and the plot develops, but the main reason that led to the possibility of the realization of the event is drastically different from one scene to the other.
3) In the passage, Juliet is doing most of the conversation ( 11 lines for the nurse, 57 for Juliet). From this proportion we can deduce that the nurse is not going to build a great line of arguments, but she’ll rather comment on what Juliet has to say. The nurse’s role in the passage is to try and turn Juliet thoroughly against Romeo, to reason with her in order to make her understand what’s the most serious problem. She’s holding a normative discourse, she’s kind of the voice of reason into this sea of unhappiness that Juliet discharges from her eyes.
4) In Juliet’s speech, II. 73-85, a recurrent figure of speech can be identified, the oxymoron :
But also :
To the immediate situation, these oxymorons show that Juliet’s feelings for Romeo are ambivalent and that everything is confused in her head and can’t really keep a sense of proportion. She’s torn between hate and love at the same time for Romeo. To the play as a whole, this shows how important and central the two themes of love and hatred are, and how close the two actually are.
5) Juliet, between the lines 97 and 127, uses a certain logic to construct her speech. Indeed, Juliet, all through her speech, keeps questionning her previous arguments and ideas. This speech is close to a long syllogism, and could be summarized the following way:
Serpent, dragon, fiend, tyrant, raven, lamb, saint, nature, hell, Corinthians, the Genesis, Satan, Psalm.
Most of these words, names and references to books can be found in the bible, they have a great symbolic meaning. These words function in pairs, obviously (lamb/wolf, fiend/angel, dove/raven, etc). For exemple, the dove is a symbol of purity, grace, and unconditionnal love, and the raven is associated with death, war, and occult knowledge. This symbol pattern is pretty much the same for all the “couples”. Each part of the pair represent either love, or hatred, and this is representative of the atmosphere of the scene.
7) The prop which is visible on stage is the ladder rope that the nurse brings (II,31-32: “_Enters the nurse with cords_”). These cords were to serve as a rope ladder for Romeo, for him to climb and get into Juliet’s room for the night.
We will first of all paraphrase these four essential lines :
Line 134, Romeo asked the nurse to bring the cords (highway) to let him get to Juliet’s room, and bed. On line 135, Juliet complains about the fact she’s dying (wants to die) without having experienced the joys of womanhood. Then, Juliet is asking for the cords, wanting death to take her, and finally expresses this wish and asks death to take her virginity.
To the play as a whole, these lines are relevant because they show that death is ubiquitous and is always quickly a remedy for a perilous and...