Help paraphrase Act 2, Scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet, lines 41- 48.  

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missy575's profile pic

missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Using the Folger Library edition that is in most literature anthologies which I believe you would be reading from, the Nurse is beginning to report on Romeo.

It starts with, "Well you have made a simple choice. You know not how to choose a man..." And it finishes with, "What, have you dined at home?"

If it is this edition, then you have the nurse reporting how hot Romeo is. She starts out sarcastically telling Juliet that Juliet has poor taste and can't pick out a handsome man... and then proceeds with how amazing Romeo's face and body actually are. She starts her sentences sounding negative, and then compliments Romeo. Her next sentence regards his character. She doesn't think him all that courteous, but certainly sees that he wants to be gentle... which would lead to courteous eventually although she doesn't admit that. Then she completely changes the subject by asking if Juliet has eaten yet... she is avoiding the original question Juliet asked about what Romeo says of their marriage.

The nurse's role or archetype is that of a comic relief. We see that coming through here as she gives her approval in sarcastic comment. Sarcasm is hard to read in our society sometimes, it's a wonder that we ask 9th graders to interpret it in Shakespeare, but it will make you a better reader of words... and people.

dstuva's profile pic

Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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In Act II:v of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, lines 41-48, the nurse is playing with Juliet.  

The nurse has just returned with news of Romeo.  Juliet is waiting to hear the result of the nurse's meeting with Romeo, and the nurse knows how anxious she is.  She teases Juliet with small talk, mentioning first that Romeo is "simple," or foolish, then listing Romeo's body parts and "rating" them, if you will, as they compare to other men's.  The nurse says Romeo is not the most courteous man, but he is "gentle as a lamb." 

The nurse continues teasing by changing the subject:  "What, have you din'd at home?"  She is purposely putting off Juliet and withholding the news she has. 

Juliet impatiently says she knew all that (Romeo's superb physical characteristics), but what did Romeo say about the marriage?  The nurse changes the subject again by announcing she has a headache.

This is part explanation and part interpretation.  I'll leave the actual paraphrase to you.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

If our versions are the same, we are talking here about the part where the Nurse is talking to Juliet.  The Nurse has just been out talking to Romeo and Juliet is all impatient, wanting to hear what the nurse has to say.  The nurse says something like this:

My head hurts so much it feels like it's going to fall into 20 pieces.  My back hurts too.  Curse you (Juliet) for sending me all over town and making me walk so much.

Juliet then says something like "I'm sorry you're in pain.  But hurry up and tell me what Romeo said."

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