How does Juliet lose her innocence in Act II of Romeo and Juliet? 

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mercut1469 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act II, Scene 2 of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet the two young lovers meet on the girl's balcony. They have fallen instantly in love with each other only an hour or two earlier when they met at Capulet's party. Before she knows Romeo is below her balcony Juliet professes her love for him and wishes they were not from feuding families. She says,

O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name,
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.
When Romeo appears, Juliet is at first reticent but soon warms to his affectionate words and they confirm their love for each other. Juliet still wants to wait because she fears the relationship may be moving too fast. She advises Romeo to go home and let a little time pass for them to consider these sudden emotions. She says,
Well, do not swear. Although I joy in thee,
I have no joy of this contract tonight.
It is too rash, too unadvised, 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.
Of course, Romeo is not to be put off. He talks of marriage and, in a decision which the reader might view as her loss of innocence, she agrees to Romeo's request. In that instant she goes from being a young girl, obedient to her parents, to a woman able to make her own decisions. She must know that her parents would never approve of her love for a Montague, their sworn enemy. Her life is forever changed by this loss of innocence. At the end of Act II Friar Lawrence marries Romeo and Juliet. And, in Act III the two consummate the marriage. In literal terms, this honeymoon in Juliet's room could also be seen as a loss of innocence.
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Romeo and Juliet

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