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In Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene 2, how does Shakespeare's portrayal of Juliet in...

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sherryseah | Student, Grade 9 | Salutatorian

Posted August 10, 2013 at 9:02 AM via web

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In Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene 2, how does Shakespeare's portrayal of Juliet in this scene ( balcony scene ) influence the way she behaves in the later parts of the play. 

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 10, 2013 at 9:27 AM (Answer #1)

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One significant element of Juliet's portrayal in the balcony scene is that she asks Romeo if he is serious.  Juliet is shown to be wise beyond her years.  Young in age, but old enough to understand the ways of men, Juliet asks Romeo if he is serious with his intentions. From this, Juliet is able to demonstrate the maturity seen in Act III, sc. 5, when she breaks with her parents, and the entire planning out the young lovers' escape.

The closing of the balcony seen in which Juliet speaks of parting "until tomorrow" is indicative of the commitment that she is to show towards Romeo.  Even if there are going to be challenges and concerns, Juliet is not abandoning the feelings she has for Romeo. This foreshadows the extent of her commitment towards him, something that she follows to her own end.  Finally, Juliet speaks of the curse of names.  When she calls out for Romeo, she calls out for a rejection of the social condition in which names mean so much that is negative.  This calling out for a rejection of such a condition is what Juliet does as the play progresses.  She sheds being a Capulet, bringing her towards death. 

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 10, 2013 at 6:50 PM (Answer #2)

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In an examination of the balcony scene of Act II, it is important to review the message of the Prologue to this act which summarizes the action of Act II.

Alike bewitched by the charm of looks; 
But to his foe suppos'd he must complain, 
And she steal love's sweet bait from fearful hooks. 
Being held a foe, he may not have access 
To breathe such vows as lovers use to swear....

But passion lends them power, time means, to meet, 
Temp'ring extremities with extreme sweet. (2.2.4-14)

Juliet recognizes the unnaturalness of hers and Romeo's love for each other. She tells Romeo that although she delights in his love she is concerned that it is "too rash, too unadvised, too sudden" (2.2.124). Further, she warns Romeo that he must leave because the dawn is coming. Certainly, critics are in accord that Juliet's mature language in this scene leads to the establishing of her adult status in Act III, whereas Romeo does not exhibit mature thinking until the following act. Juliet uses her passion powerfully and she tempers "extremities."

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