In Act III  of Romeo and Juliet, why does Juliet struggle with her attitude toward Romeo by thinking she is wrong for blaming him for Tybalt's death?Why does Juliet change her mind in Scene II?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act III of "Romeo and Juliet" the Nurse hysterically informs Juliet that "he" is dead.  To this news Juliet angrily reacts:  "What devil art thou that dost torment me thus?...Hast Romeo slain himself?" (24-25). After more hysteria, the Nurse tells Juliet that it is Tybalt, not Romeo, who is slain.  So, poor Juliet who is agitated by this idiocy of the Nurse, asks her at what torture is the Nurse aiming: "What storm is this that blows so contrary?"  Finally, the Nurse states the names of who has slain whom and Juliet understands that her beloved cousin is dead by the hand of Romeo.  She feels betrayed and accuses Romeo of deceit (50-51).  But, when the Nurse, in turn, makes accusations against Romeo, Juliet, so much like a woman in love, defends her husband:

Blistered be thy tongue/For such a wish!  He was not born to shame....Oh, what a beast was I to chide at him!(58-62).

While Juliet staunchly defends Romeo after the Nurse's cruel words, there is an ambivalence shown in her previous words as she uses opposite images in lines 48-51:  "serpent heart/flowering face," "dragon/fair cave," "beautiful/tyrant," "fiend, angelic," etc.  So, she experiences conflict of feeling before her assertion of love to the Nurse.