Describe Juliet's feelings in Act II, Scene 5 as she waits for the Nurse and then as she waits for the Nurse to reveal Romeo's message.

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mercut1469's profile pic

mercut1469 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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Juliet has fallen instantly in love with Romeo just the night before at the masked ball put on by her father. Romeo has wooed her with his words and has proposed marriage in the early part of Act II. He told Juliet to send a messenger to him to find out when and where they should be married. She sends the nurse, who is berated by Romeo's men, including Mercutio, before she can learn of Romeo's intentions. 

At the beginning of Scene 5 Juliet is alone on stage wondering why the Nurse hasn't returned. She calls the Nurse "lame" and says that the old woman would have hurried with the message had she "warm youthful blood." She wishes that the message of love from Romeo could be transmitted by the mind so it would arrive faster. She chastises the Nurse as "Unwieldy, slow, heavy, and pale as lead." 

When the Nurse returns she is tired and does not immediately relay Romeo's message. Given the treatment she received from Mercutio it is not surprising that she is weary and rattled. The reenactment of the scene in Zeffirelli's 1968 movie shows perfectly the rude manner in which she is treated by the obnoxious Mercutio.

Juliet, of course, is anxious for the news and becomes terribly impatient as the Nurse puts her off. The Nurse first describes Romeo as being somewhat unruly but still quite considerate. She says,

He is not the flower of courtesy,
but I’ll warrant him as gentle as a lamb.
When Juliet's pleadings do no good, she finally tries to soothe the Nurse. She says, 
I’ faith, I am sorry that thou art not well.
Sweet, sweet, sweet nurse, tell me, what says my
Finally the Nurse gives in to the appeals of the girl and tells her that she and Romeo are to be married by Friar Lawrence that very afternoon. The Nurse ends the scene by saying she needs to procure a rope ladder so that Romeo may climb onto Juliet's balcony that night for their honeymoon. 


sullymonster's profile pic

sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Juliet is run away with her infatuation in this scene, and it is making her quite impatient.  She is anxious and antsy as she waits, wishing the Nurse were in love so that she would  understand Juliet's feelings and make a faster path back with the message.  When the Nurse does arrive, Juliet is frantic to hear the news.  She badgers the Nurse with questions, not allowing her to catch a breath from her journey.  She is also paranoid, reading into every expression on the Nurse's face and trying to interpret them.  Consider these lines:

“O Lord, why lookest thou sad? / Though news be sad, yet tell them merrily; / If good, thou shamest the music of sweet news / By playing it to me with so sour a face.”

Despite the Nurse's torment, however, Juliet gets her news and is swept away by her joy.


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