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What are two examples of foreshadowing in Act 2 of Romeo and Juliet?In what scene and...

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uncfan507 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 8, 2010 at 9:30 AM via web

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What are two examples of foreshadowing in Act 2 of Romeo and Juliet?

In what scene and lines are the examples? Summarize the example of foreshadowing.

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

Posted April 10, 2010 at 9:21 AM (Answer #1)

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In Act II, scene iii, Friar is speaking of the power of plants when he notes that the plant has several powers. Plants can be medicinal, and they can be poisonous. As he finishes he uses a metaphor that foreshadows the death of lovers as they are products of kings:

Two such opposed kings encamp them still
In man as well as herbs, grace and rude will;
And where the worser is predominant,
Full soon the canker death eats up that plant.

Later, in scene iv, Mercutio and Benvolio are talking about Romeo when Mercutio notes that Romeo's love for Rosaline is killing him. Little does Mercutio know that Romoe's love is not for Rosaline, but for Juliet, and that her love will literally kill him:

Alas poor Romeo! he is already dead; stabbed with a
white wench's black eye; shot through the ear with a
love-song; the very pin of his heart cleft with the
blind bow-boy's butt-shaft

Mercutio uses language figuratively here as hyperbole or exaggeration, but the foreshadow is clear. Love will kill Romeo.

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 8, 2010 at 11:51 AM (Answer #2)

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During the famous balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet, Act II.ii, Romeo says:

I have night's cloak to hide me from their sight;
And but thou love me, let them find me here:
My life were better ended by their hate,
Than death prorogued, wanting of thy love.

This is foreshadowing, as Romeo introduces the idea of dying "wanting of thy love."  This, of course, will happen in Act V.  Romeo will ingest poison and die wanting of Juliet's love.

Later, Romeo says:

O blessed, blessed night! I am afeard.
Being in night, all this is but a dream,
Too flattering-sweet to be substantial.

Mercutio has already talked of dreams in his famous Queen Mab speech, which is also ominous foreshadowing (but in Act I).  Here, Romeo sees his encounter with Juliet as a dream, not reality.  This foreshadows the fleeting nature of his rushed and secret marriage to Juliet.  It is not "substantial" because it is done with such haste, in secret, and without the proper permissions granted.

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