Give an example of a metaphor in act 2, scene 2 of Romeo and Juliet.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

A metaphor is a comparison that does not use the words like or as. Romeo, ever the wordsmith and in love with love, has fallen so head over heels in love with Juliet that he scales the high walls of her home in search of her. He sees her on her balcony, and before she knows he is there, speaks to her in the language of love. Never one to hold back from his exuberant emotions, Romeo immediately uses two metaphors as he compares Juliet to the sun and to an angel. To him, everything else fades to darkness against her:

Juliet is the sun.

O, speak again, bright angel!

When Juliet does become aware that Romeo is on the grounds of her home, she becomes nervous that he will be discovered by one of her male relatives and killed. She also wonders how he ever scaled the high wall surrounding her home. He compares himself to a creature with wings which allowed him easily to get over the wall. In other words, love gave him the needed strength to do this:

With love’s light wings did I o'erperch these walls.

Never at a loss for words, Romeo compares the moon to a painter who tips or puts silver paint on the tree tops, describing what they look like in the moonlight--they look as if they were painted by the moon:

Lady, by yonder blessèd moon I vow,
That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops
Romeo is able to use language in a way Paris can never match. His words make the entire world seem delicate and beautiful. Juliet is no slouch either when it comes to love's language and she uses the metaphor of a blossoming flower to envision their new love growing from bud to flower.
This bud of love, by summer’s ripening breath,
May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

This scene in Romeo and Juliet is defined by Romeo's use of lofty, figurative, courtly language, which stands in contrast to Juliet's generally more down-to-earth speech. Romeo uses the language of a young lover in court, which causes him to use metaphors such as this one:

With love's light wings did I o'er-perch these walls

In answer to Juliet's serious inquiry as to how he came to be in her father's orchard, Romeo says that he has flown over the walls of the orchard on the wings of love. In this context, the wings are metaphorical: Romeo is saying that being in love with Juliet gives him the sensation of being able to fly, or walk on air.

When Juliet protests, very rationally, that this will not save Romeo if her family finds him here, Romeo says, "I have night's cloak to hide me from their sight." In this statement, it is the "cloak" which is metaphorical. Romeo is saying that Juliet need not worry, because he will be concealed from the sight of any who would be alarmed by his presence by the "cloak" of darkness.

Romeo also uses an extended (hyperbolic) metaphor to describe the moon early in the play, when he says that "her vestal livery is but sick and green." Here, he casts Juliet as the moon's maid and commands, "be not her maid, since she is envious." This metaphorical language is used to praise Juliet's beauty, saying that she is fairer than the moon itself and that the moon is "sick and green" with jealousy over this fact.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Act 2, Scene 2, of Romeo and Juliet is one of the most famous scenes in all of theater history. It is the balcony scene, where Romeo and Juliet become infatuated with one another. There are many metaphors in this scene. I will list two of the famous metaphors and give a description of what they suggest.

But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? / It is the East, and Juliet is the sun! (II.ii.2-3)

In this line, Romeo proclaims that the light breaking in the window is "the East," and Juliet is "the sun." This is a metaphor, as he is describing Juliet as the sun. In this metaphor, Juliet is given natural, dynamic qualities. Furthermore, the sun was an important image in Renaissance times, and comparing Juliet to it is a high compliment.

This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath, / May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet. (II.ii.127-128)

Juliet describes their love as a flower. In this meeting, their love is only a bud, but time will grow their love in the same way that summer ripens and opens the bud of a flower. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial