In Romeo and Juliet, when Juliet says, "Ill look to like, if looking liking move; but no more deep will I endart mine eye than your consent gives strength to make it fly," what does it mean?  

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durbanville's profile pic

durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Romeo and Juliet tells the ageless story of the two "star-crossed" young lovers, a story which has inspired many and which is doomed even before the two meet, as the "ancient grudge" between their families promises certain destruction.

Having reached an age when marriage is a potential topic of conversation for Juliet's parents, Juliet is not interested in any such discussion. Even her father admits to Paris that he would prefer to wait two more years before he would consider Juliet to be of an age to marry. He says, "Let two more summers wither in their pride" in Act I, scene ii, line 10. Having suggested that Paris therefore takes his time, Capulet cautions him to "get her heart" (17), accepting that even his own consent to marry Paris is reliant on Juliet's own agreement. He does add "within her scope of choice" in line 18 which is significant because later he will insist that she marry Paris (immediately) and this fact will drive Juliet to extreme action.  It seems that Juliet does have some measure of independent choice as long as her choice is reasonable to her parents. Juliet, however, has other ideas about the extent of her independence.

Shortly after Paris's discussion with Capulet, Lady Capulet discusses Paris's intentions with Juliet in Act I, scene iii. Lady Capulet wants Juliet to consider Paris's proposal and she wants her to use the feast as an opportunity to find out more about him. This is when Juliet offers to "look to like..." (98). Juliet is appeasing her mother by agreeing to think over the matter. She will observe him "if looking liking move," meaning if her mother thinks that that will make any difference. Juliet goes on to say that "no more deep will I endart mine eye" meaning that she will not go to any extraordinary measures to make herself like him. When she finishes off with "than your consent gives strength to make it fly"  she is suggesting that her mother's encouragement is not having that much effect in persuading Juliet to favor Paris anyway. She still does not want to get married at this point. 

terifoltz's profile pic

terifoltz | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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Here is a paraphrase of Juliet's words to her mother when she has been asked if she could possibly love Paris, whom she is about to meet:  I will look at Paris tonight and see if I feel any chemistry with him.  And even if I do, I won't go overboard without your consent.

Isn't she an obedient child?  Shakespeare needs to portray her this way so we can see what a change she makes once she really feels chemistry with Romeo.  In essence, Juliet is allowing her mother final say in who she will love....not long after meeting Romeo, she refuses to allow her parents to dictate her fate.

The image of the arrow (endart, fly) is often used when people fall in allusion to Eros (Cupid) and his arrows.


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