How to write a commentary for the balcony scene of Romeo and Juliet?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Romeo and Juliet is Shakespeare's longest poem as the entire play is written in iambic pentameter and contains two sonnets. Certainly, Act II, Scene 2, contains some of the most delightfully poetic lines this play.

For one thing, the light/dark imagery which serves the motif that Romeo and Juliet's romance is safer in the night than it is in the day dominates the verse, beginning with Romeo's lines,

But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun!
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief
That thou her maid art far more fair than she (2.2.2-6)

Throughout this scene Juliet is alluded to in terms of light. Further, Romeo speaks in his first passage in terms of courtly love, much as he has done previously in speaking of Rosaline. For example, his last lines of his first passage are spoken this way:

See how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
Oh, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek! (2.2.23-25)

Interestingly, Romeo uses the word "kill" in his third line, thus suggesting the violence that will be associated with his and Juliet's love, a violence also suggested in a subsequent scene (Scene 6, 9-15) in the address of Friar Laurence in which he warns Romeo of his too impetuous nature.

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