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Paraphrase Friar Laurence's speech in Act II, Scene 3 of Romeo and Juliet.Paraphrase...

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kepsle | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 9, 2010 at 10:01 AM via web

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Paraphrase Friar Laurence's speech in Act II, Scene 3 of Romeo and Juliet.

Paraphrase Friar Laurence's speech, taking note of the fact that he is speaking about the dichotomy within both nature and man. Elizabethans were fascinated with potions and poisons and Friar's Laurence's speech enthralled them.

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted March 9, 2010 at 10:53 AM (Answer #1)

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The last four lines of Friar Laurence's speech turn from talking about the herbs, plants and stones of Earth that have healing powers (or harming powers) and talks about the duality within humanity. He draws the analogy that just like a plant has properties that can give healing when used one way and death when used another way, so too humans have qualities that can give good things alongside qualities that can give harm. He says that when the harmful qualities in a human are stronger than the good, the person is metaphorically eaten from within by the "canker" of death.

The first six lines of this speech talk about the dawning day. Then the Friar says he has to fill his basket ("osier cage") with herbs and flowers for the danger purpose of their plan. Then from line 9 to 14 of his speech, the Friar talks about the dual nature of Earth. Earth is the growing place for beneficial plants and rocks and Earth is also the burial place for that which dies.

From line 15 to 22, the Friar talks about the qualities of the plants and herbs and stones, saying all give good benefit but some can be in such a way as to be dangerous.

From line 23 to 26, he talks about a particular flower that is smelled can heal but if tasted can kill. This is where he switches from the herbs and plants and rocks to the drawing the comparison to humanity that I spoke of in the first paragraph.

[A soliloquy is a speech given by a character to no one but himself and the audience. If another character is listening to the speech, it is not a soliloquy; it is only a speech. The purpose of a soliloquy is to reveal the speaker's private thoughts, feelings and motives that are kept back from, secret from, the other characters.]

I'll start you off on the first few lines of a paraphrase, but then, with this explanation to follow as a guide,  you should be able to take over working out the paraphrase. Shakespeare's line is numbered; my paraphrasing line is below it and unnumbered.

1 The grey-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night,
Dawn is breaking into waning night
2 Chequering the eastern clouds with streaks of light,
throwing out beams of light onto clouds
3 And flecked darkness like a drunkard reels
and night recedes
4 From forth day's path and Titan's fiery wheels:
from the coming of day
5 Now, ere the sun advance his burning eye,
before the sun rises
6 The day to cheer and night's dank dew to dry,
to light the day and dry the dew
7 I must up-fill this osier cage of ours
I must fill the basket

Act 2, Scene 3

The grey-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night,
Chequering the eastern clouds with streaks of light,
And flecked darkness like a drunkard reels
From forth day's path and Titan's fiery wheels:
Now, ere the sun advance his burning eye,
The day to cheer and night's dank dew to dry,
I must up-fill this osier cage of ours

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