In Act I, scene v, who is Romeo talking about in lines 51-60? Explain the irony in these lines.Also why does Tybalt become so upset, and how does Capulet respond to his rage?

Expert Answers
copelmat eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Romeo is speaking of Juliet in these lines, prior to learning her identity. He describes her as a "jewel" and suggests:

"So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows / As yonder lady o'er her fellows shows."

In essence, he describes Juliet as the most beautiful woman in all the world, just hours after proclaiming that it was impossible for anyone to be more beautiful than Roseline.

Romeo compounds his own inherent contradictions when he wonders aloud:

"Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight, / For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night."

Just as Benvolio predicted, attending the Capulet's party offered Romeo the opportunity to compare Roseline's beauty to the beauty of others and for Romeo to realize that Roseline wasn't as grand as he made her out to be. Romeo, however, wasn't expecting that to occur. And he certainly wasn't expecting the new object of his affection to be a Capulet. On both of these counts, we see the irony of this situation.

Tybalt is upset that Romeo, a Montague, is attending the Capulet party and says to Lard Capulet:

"Uncle, this is a Montague, our foe, / A villain that is hither come in spite / To scorn at our solemnity this night."

Tybalt is outraged at this fact and says that he will "not endure him." Lord Capulet responds:

"He shall be endured. / What, goodman boy? I say he shall. Go to. / Am I master here or you? Go to."

But, of course, Tybalt--being true to his hot-headed self and foreshadowing future events in the play--responds:

"I will withdraw, but this intrusion shall, / Now seeming sweet, convert to bitt'rest gall."

Read the study guide:
Romeo and Juliet

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question