What is an analysis of Act 2, Scene 2, lines 1-23 of Romeo and Juliet?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In the beginning of Act 2, Scene 2, Romeo gives a soliloquy from the Capulet orchard.  He is watching Juliet, though she does not know it.  He has just met her earlier that night, at her party, and only talked to her very briefly.  Yet he is passionately and madly in love.

Clearly, Romeo has put Juliet up on a pedestal.

Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,

Who is already sick and pale with grief(5)

That thou her maid art far more fair than she. (Act 2, Scene 2, p. 38)

Romeo says that Juliet is as bright as the sun, and the moon must be jealous of her like it is of the sun.  He is thinking in poetic terms, rather than realistic ones.  He barely knows Juliet.

It is my lady; O, it is my love!(10)

O that she knew she were!

Here Romeo indicates that she belongs to him, but does not know it.  Despite their little chat at the party, he might be setting himself up for a big fall here.  What if she really does not love him?  What if he is not as thrilled with her once he gets to know her?

All this time, Romeo does not talk to her.  He starts to, when she seems to say something.  Then he changes his mind, deciding he would be “too bold” to try to talk to her, because she is not talking to him.  She is talking to someone else.

Her eye discourses; I will answer it.
I am too bold; 'tis not to me she speaks.

Finally, Romeo watches her lay her check upon her hand and wishes that he were “a glove upon that hand” so he could touch the check too.  Now he really is getting carried away.  He is so caught up in her throughout this speech that he is really beginning to lose it.  He needs to talk to her!  It is not until she speaks his name, talking about how she loves him as well, that he does approach her.

This classic scene is famous because both Romeo and Juliet are pining for each other, but neither knows it.  Juliet is not even aware that Romeo is watching, and Romeo is not aware that Juliet is thinking about him.  Clearly it really was love at first sight, and this scene is a testament to their mutual attraction.



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