What an excellent question! The birds seem to be the imagery most frequently connected to Juliet--she wishes she had a falconer's voice to call Romeo back, and she says she wishes he were like a wanton's bird (a bird on a string) that she could set free but pull...
What an excellent question! The birds seem to be the imagery most frequently connected to Juliet--she wishes she had a falconer's voice to call Romeo back, and she says she wishes he were like a wanton's bird (a bird on a string) that she could set free but pull back at will. When she initially refers to birds, it seems to be about her desire for power: she wishes she had the power to control Romeo's movements.
As things progress with Romeo, Juliet's imagery becomes increasingly confused: he is first white snow on a raven's back, then a raven disguised as a dove.
Black itself is both friend and foe. Finally, birds signify danger: Paris is a man with the eye of an eagle.
Others apply the bird imagery to her, and to some extent the meaning varies depending on who speaks it. Romeo speaks of her as a "bright angel" and, in response to her falcon metaphor, calls her his "nyas" (that is a bird who has not yet flown or left the nest). When the nurse applies the metaphor to her, it is, in keeping with the nurses' personality, loaded with graphic sexual connotations: she says she must "fetch a ladder by the which your love must climb a bird's nest soon when it is dark." Here the bird's nest is a sexually charged reference not only to the bedroom and but also to the female anatomy, Juliet's.
There is constant tension in the play between the earth and the air, the limits of gravity and the events that can transpire when using Love's light wings. Many of Juliet's references reveal her desire. Romeo's rarefied images reveal his fancy and her virtue. The nurses' imagery, oddly enough, reveal the base, earthy world that the two lovers actually live in.