In Romeo and Juliet, Act 1, Scene 5 line 44 to line 51 (Romeo's first impression about Juliet) what is the significance of that quote ?
How is that quote related to the plot, character development, literary devices or theme
In addition here is the quote
Romeo: O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hands upon the cheek of night
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiop’s ear;
Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!
So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows,
As yonder lady o’er her fellow shows.
The measure done, I’ll watch her place of stand,
And, touching hers, make blessed my rude hand.
Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight!
For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night. (44)
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In Act I Sc 5,l 46 to 55, Romeo expresses his love at first sight. The usual romantic language of a romantic lover- in the Petrarchan hyperbole. This is love at first sight as Rosalind falls in love with Orlando. Romeo sees Juliet and falls in love with her instantly.Brightness image is important. Darkness of the night is contrasted with the illumination caused by her presence. The phrase ' the rich jewel in Ethiope's ear' distantly reminds us of the Negro Othello marrying the white-skinned Desdemona. Romeo feels blessed by the soft touch that he imagines for himself . Another beautiful darkness-whiteness image is 'a snowy dove trooping with cows' .
When Romeo and Juliet meet for the first time, he is struck by her beauty and breaks into lyricism. The imagery Romeo uses to describe Juliet is suggestive of the tragedy that these two lovers will later become victim of . Light is pitted against darkness again and again: "she doth teach the torches to burn bright! It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night." As the plot develops, a cloak of interwoven light and dark images is cast around the pair. The lovers are repeatedly associated with the dark, and later they will not be able to meet so safely. At the same time, the light that surrounds the lovers in each other's eyes grows brighter to the very end. It suggests the beauty and divinity associated with true love. In Romeo's eyes, Juliet's beauty even illuminates the dark of the tomb. The association of both Romeo and Juliet with the stars also continually reminds the audience that their fate is "star-cross'd." The tragic love is hinted most dramatically by Shakespeare through this suggestive set of imageries.
Dr. Ratan Bhattacharjee , Chairperson , PG Dept of English, Dum Dum Motijheel College.
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