Juliet is in the light and Romeo is in the dark. Why is this contrast in light important to this scene (act 2 scene 2)?

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copelmat eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Act II, scene ii is the famous "balcony scene" of Romeo and Juliet. It is here that the two teenagers first express their love for one another. Throughout the play we see how Shakespeare pairs two opposing elements in sharp contrast with one another. Here we see Romeo, standing in the dark, describing Juliet, his new love whom he should hate because of the feud, as the sun.

Romeo and Juliet are stark contrasts to the feud that rages among the elder members of their houses and their love stands as a testament as to what youth and open minds can dream possible against such a backdrop. Likewise, the very language they use to express their feelings for one another is cast in these same polarized terms. As Romeo says:

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.

Similarly, Juliet replies:

I should have been more strange, I must confess,
But that thou overheard'st, ere I was ware,
My true love's passion: therefore pardon me,
And not impute this yielding to light love,
Which the dark night hath so discovered.

Such opposite thinking and language serves to emphasize the strength of the love Romeo and Juliet feel for one another against the bitter feud that ravishes their families.
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Romeo and Juliet

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