In Act 2 Scene 2, what does Juliet's character and language show you?The things we have to focus on are: her behaviour, what she talks about, how she speaks, and what all of that shows you. I...

In Act 2 Scene 2, what does Juliet's character and language show you?

The things we have to focus on are: her behaviour, what she talks about, how she speaks, and what all of that shows you. I have to do 7 different points on each of those as well. :(

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sullymonster's profile pic

sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

We also learn about Juliet in this scene that, although she is obedient with her parents, she demonstrates strength when talking to Romeo.  She challenges him to prove his love to her, and when he starts to, "waxing poetic" himself, she stops him immediately.  She doesn't want to her poetry, she wants to hear truth.  Look at this interchange:

Romeo.
Lady, by yonder blessed moon I swear,
That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops,--

Juliet.
O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circled orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.

Romeo.
What shall I swear by?

Juliet.
Do not swear at all;
Or if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self,
Which is the god of my idolatry,
And I'll believe thee.

Juliet is a realist.  She knows that men often swear things and then betray those promises.  She is being cautious here.  She is also cautious when she first sees Romeo.  She immediately says that if he is found there, he'll be killed.  He is lost in love - she is being practical.

Of course, her own love will sweep away her practicality!

malibrarian's profile pic

malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

This famous scene shows us a great deal about Juliet's character. Before this, the only things we knew about her were that she was young and willing to obey her parents (Act I). But now that she's fallen in love with Romeo, her language and demeanor change completely. She is willing to cast off her name (Capulet) if Romeo cannot cast off his (Montague) because it is only his name that is hateful to her. She uses the famous metaphor of a rose and its smell - that if we called a rose a different name, it would still smell like a rose, so what does it matter if Romeo be Romeo "Montague" or not. She also shows her true concern for Romeo's welfare by reminding him that if he is found there by her family, they will kill him. This shows maturity in that she's not just thinking of herself and how great it is to have some guy visiting her at her balcony!

Overall, the change occurs in her "waxing poetic" about him and their newfound love. Her (or Shakespeare's) use of blank verse is a sure sign that we've got some serious emotions flowing from this girl:

Well, do not swear: although I joy in thee,
I have no joy of this contract to-night;
It is too rash, too unadvis'd, too sudden;
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be
Ere one can say It lightens. Sweet, good night!
This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath,
May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.
Good night, good night! as sweet repose and rest
Come to thy heart as that within my breast!

Good luck!

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