In Act III, Scene 5, of Romeo and Juliet, how does Juliet trick her mother into thinking she hates Romeo?

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In act 3, scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet, Juliet tricks her mother, Lady Capulet, into thinking Juliet hates Romeo with a speech full of double meanings. When Lady Capulet tells Juliet that Romeo was the person who killed Juliet's cousin Tybalt, Juliet expresses grief for Romeo’s banishment;...

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In act 3, scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet, Juliet tricks her mother, Lady Capulet, into thinking Juliet hates Romeo with a speech full of double meanings. When Lady Capulet tells Juliet that Romeo was the person who killed Juliet's cousin Tybalt, Juliet expresses grief for Romeo’s banishment; however, Lady Capulet interprets Juliet’s words as grief for Tybalt.

The audience know that when Juliet speaks, she is referring to Romeo and not Tybalt because of the way Juliet speaks:

[Aside] Villain and he be many miles asunder.—
God Pardon him! I do, with all my heart;
And yet no man like he doth grieve my heart. (86–88)

The stage direction “Aside” means that when Juliet speaks, the other characters do not hear what she says; only the audience does. Therefore, we know that the man who “be many miles asunder” is the fleeing Romeo for whom she “doth grieve my heart.”

When Lady Capulet says, “That is, because the traitor murderer lives” (89), Juliet replies “Ay, madam, from the reach of these my hands” (90); the word “reach” can mean grasp or touch. Romeo is far from Juliet’s touch, which she mourns. Lady Capulet interprets this statement as Juliet’s desire to grasp Romeo and avenge Tybalt’s death.

Juliet’s later speech (98–107) fools Lady Capulet with interesting pacing and more double meanings.

Indeed, I never shall be satisfied
With Romeo, till I behold him—dead—
Is my poor heart for a kinsman vex'd.
Madam, if you could find out but a man
To bear a poison, I would temper it;
That Romeo should, upon receipt thereof,
Soon sleep in quiet. O, how my heart abhors
To hear him named, and cannot come to him.
To wreak the love I bore my cousin
Upon his body that slaughter'd him!

In lines 98–99, Juliet says she will not be happy until she sees Romeo again and then pauses before and after saying “dead” in order to imply to Lady Capulet that she wants to see him dead. Actually what she means is that her heart is broken from missing Romeo ("dead—my poor heart"). Thus, when Juliet cries that her heart is broken for a “kinsman” (100), she weeps for her husband Romeo as a new bride; Lady Capulet interprets “kinsman” as Tybalt. Juliet states her wish for a poison to “temper” (102) that Romeo would drink; “temper” can mean either mix or dilute. Lady Capulet thinks Juliet wishes to create and mix the poison to make Romeo “sleep in quiet”—that is, kill him (104). In actuality, though, Juliet literally means that she'd like to dilute a poison so that Romeo will go to sleep.

The most ambiguous use of the pronoun “him” occurs in lines 104–105. When Juliet cries, “my heart abhors / To hear him named, and cannot come to him,” she sounds like she hates hearing Romeo’s name and can’t bear even to think of him. In reality, her hearts aches when she hears his name and remembers that she can’t be with him.

The final lines contain more doublespeak: “To wreak the love I bore my cousin / Upon his body that slaughter'd him!” Here, Juliet implies that she wants to “wreak” or avenge her love for her cousin Tybalt by hurting the person who killed him. “Wreak,” however, can also mean “bestow” and “his body that” could mean “the body of the man who.” Therefore, Juliet wishes she could bestow or give her love to the body of the man who murdered Tybalt (i.e., Romeo).

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