In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, how do the comments of Montague and Benvolio in Act I help to describe Romeo's character?

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Posted on (Answer #1)

There are a few ways to discover a character's personality type through the words of others. One way is to look at the verbs that describe the character's behavior. For example, Benvolio tells the Montagues that he had seen Romeo out "walking at that early hour" (I.i.116) when normal people are asleep in their beds. This suggests that he can't sleep and is worrying about something. Benvolio says that Romeo saw him walking towards him but "he slipped into a thicket in the woods./ Sensing that he felt the same way I did--"(I.i.118-119). Montague responds by focusing on the imagery of the situation by saying that he noticed Romeo crying. The imagery, however, is presented more poetically as Montague says, "He has been seen there many mornings/ adding tears to the moisture of the fresh morning dew/ and adding more clouds to clouds with his deep sighs" (I.i.124-126). Through such imagery, one might find a hyperbole of sorts because Montague seems to imply that Romeo is over-dramatizing whatever is upsetting him. Hence, through other characters' discussion, we can assume at least that their perspective of him is that he is melancholy and troubled as of late.


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