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In Romeo and Juliet, describe Juliet's reaction to the Nurse when she says "shame to...

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geckojb | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted December 6, 2011 at 8:55 AM via web

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In Romeo and Juliet, describe Juliet's reaction to the Nurse when she says "shame to Romeo!" in scene ii.

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

Posted December 8, 2011 at 12:03 AM (Answer #1)

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At the beginning of Act III Scene, Juliet is anxiously awaiting the Nurse's return with news from Romeo.  Juliet, who has just married Romeo in secret, is shocked when her Nurse comes in and gives her the impression that Romeo has been killed.  The Nurse, who is in hysterics, finally says enough that Juliet is able to understand that it is not Romeo who has been murdered; she learns that her cousin, Tybalt, has been killed by Romeo.

When the Nurse begins to berate Romeo (of course, he is not present), Juliet becomes angry.  Although she had also been angry with Romeo, her Nurse's harsh words about him cause Juliet to change her stance.  She quicklyl reprimands her Nurse for speaking badly about Romeo and defends him.

Blistered be thy tongue

For such a wish!  He was not born to shame.

Upon his brow shame is ashamed to sit;

For 'tis a throne where honor may be crowned

Sole monarch of the universal earth.

O, what a beast was I to chide him!

Juliet goes on to remind her nurse that Tybalt would have killed Romeo if Romeo had not killed him. 

Although Juliet is heartbroken that her dear cousin has been killed, she is more upset that Romeo has been banished.  Juliet will not allow the Nurse to speak badly about him. 

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

Posted December 29, 2011 at 8:31 PM (Answer #2)

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Let us remember what happens in Act III scene 2 in terms of the context of this remark. Juliet is anxiously waiting for news of her husband (for Romeo and Juliet have married at this stage in secret) from the Nurse. When she comes back, clearly in a fluster, it is very uncertain what precisely has happened. When Juliet finally establishes that Tybalt, her cousin, has been killed at the hand of Romeo, her husband, she is obviously very upset and grieves the death of her cousin. However, her grief will not permit her to hear anything bad about her husband. When the Nurse tries to cast shame on Romeo, note how the Juliet quickly responds:

Blistered be thy tongue

For such a wish!  He was not born to shame.

Upon his brow shame is ashamed to sit;

For 'tis a throne where honor may be crowned

Sole monarch of the universal earth.

O, what a beast was I to chide at him!

Her identity as Romeo's wife clearly takes precedence in terms of loyalty compared to her identity as Tybalt's cousin. In addition, as she reminds the Nurse, she is in a no-win situation, as Tybalt would have killed Romeo if Romeo had not killed Tybalt first. Juliet therefore responds with great anger at the Nurse's attempts to sully the name of her husband.

 

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