How does act 3, scene 2 in Romeo and Juliet function as a second climax, the death of Tybalt being the first, in which the emotions closely parallel Romeo's but with a feminine slant?

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tmcquade | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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Act III, scene ii opens with Juliet anxiously awaiting Romeo's arrival - she last saw him at their wedding that morning, and now she is waiting for him to use the rope ladder he earlier procured in order to ascend her balcony to spend the night with her.

However, Juliet's anxiousness and excitement quickly turn to confusion, then despair, as her Nurse brings the news that Tybalt is dead.  What's worse, the Nurse's confusing report initially has Juliet believing that Romeo is also dead.  Juliet, trying to make sense of it all, asks: 

"What storm is this that blows so contrary?
Is Romeo slaughter'd, and is Tybalt dead?
My dear-loved cousin, and my dearer lord?
Then, dreadful trumpet, sound the general doom!
For who is living, if those two are gone?"

When the Nurse finally clarifies that it is Tybalt who is dead, and that Romeo is the one who killed him, a second climax is reached.  Juliet's shock and anger kick in, just as Romeo's did earlier upon learning Mercutio was dead, and Juliet launches into a speech filled with oxymorons, designed to show how opposite Romeo is to everything she thought him to be:

"O God! did Romeo's hand shed Tybalt's blood?
.... O serpent heart, hid with a flowering face!
Did ever dragon keep so fair a cave?
Beautiful tyrant! fiend angelical!
Dove-feather'd raven! wolvish-ravening lamb!
Despised substance of divinest show!
Just opposite to what thou justly seem'st,
A damned saint, an honourable villain!
O nature, what hadst thou to do in hell,
When thou didst bower the spirit of a fiend
In moral paradise of such sweet flesh?
Was ever book containing such vile matter
So fairly bound? O that deceit should dwell
In such a gorgeous palace!"

However, as soon as the Nurse agrees with her, claiming "There's no trust/No faith, no honesty in men; all perjured/All forsworn, all naught, all dissemblers" and calling for "shame (to) come on Romeo," Juliet comes to Romeo's defense.  Juliet chastises: 

"Blister'd 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 honour may be crown'd
Sole monarch of the universal earth.
O, what a beast was I to chide at him!"

Just as reason and rationality returned to Romeo as soon as he killed Tybalt, his anger quenched and replaced with remorse and regret, so does Juliet's anger end after her oxymoronic invective, and she repledges her love and loyalty to Romeo.  To show this, she sends the Nurse with her ring to give to Romeo to reassure him of her undying love. 


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