In Act II how is the figurative language related with light and darkness?Explore the imagery of light and darkness in act 2  how the light and darkness is related to the figurative language

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copelmat's profile pic

copelmat | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Much of the figurative language used to depict the light and dark is in reference to the blossoming love we see between Romeo and Juliet. We see this most strongly in the balcony scene, Act II, scene ii.

For example, lines 2-3 set this idea into motion when Romeo states:

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.

Romeo compares Juliet to the sun here as though she is illuminating his world and eliminating the dark emptiness he felt in his love for Roseline. The comparison of Juliet to light-bearing celestial bodies (sun, moon, stars, etc.) continues throughout this scene.

Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
Having some business, do entreat her eyes
To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
What if her eyes were there, they in her head?
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,
As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven
Would through the airy region stream so bright
That birds would sing and think it were not night.

For Romeo, Juliet is his "bright angel."

Likewise, Juliet enters into this same metaphor, stating:

therefore pardon me,
And not impute this yielding to light love,
Which the dark night hath so discovered.

Later in the scene, even when Juliet is questioning the logic of the emotions she feels it is this same vein of figurative language that brings her back:

It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden;
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be
Ere one can say 'It lightens.' Sweet, good night!
This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath,
May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.


pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Much of the figurative language in parts of Act II (and actually even more so in Act I when Romeo first meets Juliet) is based around the difference between light and dark.

To me, Shakespeare is using this difference to talk about the ways in which Romeo's life has changed since he has met Juliet.  Before, his life was dark.  He was moping around because Rosalind did not love him.

Now that he has met Juliet, his life is lighter.  He is happier than he used to be.  This shows up in all of the figurative language about light and dark in this play.

crimsonnight1230's profile pic

crimsonnight1230 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

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Romeo's life was like a dark sky, darkness and when he saw Juliet it was like a blind man seeing the world for the first time, light. In the play Juliet is the sun and she brightens Romeo's life. You can also compare it to Twilight, I guess.

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