How does Shakespeare make the balcony scene such a powerful and dramatic scene in Romeo and Juliet?

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englishteacher72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the most favorite scenes in dramatic history, the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet is powerful and dramatic for many reasons.  First, the audience sees Juliet openly stating her love for Romeo; however, she has no idea that he is hiding below the balcony and can hear every word she is saying about him.  Secondly, both realize the ridiculousness of the reud between the Montagues and the Capulets.  One can assume that before this night, both Romeo and Juliet viewed each other's family as being disgraceful, ignorant, etc.  However, now that they have met each other, they know that the feud is of no importance.  This is also a powerful scene because Romeo is risking his life in an attempt to get just a glimpse from Juliet.  He knows that if the wrong person should see him, he will be in big trouble.  He is so taken with Juliet, though, that he does not care.  And when he finally sees Juliet, his metaphor comparing Juliet to the sun is one of the most cited romantic lines in drama.  This is also where their plan to secretly wed starts to take formation, as Romeo leaves after Juliet promises to get in touch with him the next day. 

cldbentley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Shakespeare does an excellent job of employing elements of plot and setting in order to cause the balcony scene of Romeo and Juliet to be especially powerful.  There is certainly an element of danger in Romeo's presence under Juliet's balcony; he had to climb over the orchard walls of the Capulet home, which clearly put in him territory in which he would have been considered unwelcome in those circumstances.  In addition, the fact that the scene takes place during the night adds an air of suspense.  Juliet also takes great risk by choosing to have any conversation, particularly one of this nature, with Romeo under any conditions, but even more so because there is no chaperone present.  The teenagers run the risk of being discovered any moment, as Juliet must go to considerable lengths to put off her nurse, who is calling to her from within that her mother wishes to see her.  The clear presence of elements of suspense and drama lend a great deal of power to the scene; of course, the two hardly know one another, so that knowledge also adds to the drama of their confessions of love.