In Romeo and Juliet, is there a simile showing how they long for each other but they can't be together due to their families' feud? 

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emilyknight7 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
It seems that the best place to look for such an example would be the first balcony scene, in Act 2, Scene 2, before Romeo and Juliet have decided to pursue their love for one another. A close example would be the famous "rose by any other name" line that Juliet speaks out to what she thinks is the empty night:
 
"That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet.
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called,
Retain that dear perfection" (2.2.43-46)
 
This example is really more of a metaphor than a simile, since it doesn't use the words "like" or "as" (though the word "so" in this case is basically the same thing). Still, it compares how a rose would still smell the same if we called it something else, just as Romeo would be the same person even if he had a different name. She is saying this, of course, because with a different name, he would belong to a different family and they could be together.
 
Another example comes in the next scene, when Romeo comes to Friar Lawrence to ask for his help. He explains the situation to him (confusingly), saying:
"I have been feasting with mine enemy
Where on a sudden one hath wounded me,
That’s by me wounded. Both our remedies
Within thy help and holy physic lies." (2.3.49-52)
Here he is comparing the love he and Juliet feel for one another to being wounded by each other. This is a common metaphor (sorry, this one isn't a simile either) for love, but it is all the more poignant because he prefaces it with the statement that he was dining with his enemy (the Capulets). This metaphor hints at the problems the family feud will have for Romeo and Juliet without stating them outright. 

Sorry I couldn't find any similes, but hopefully these metaphors work well enough!
squeezebox eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Act 2, scene 2 gives us insight into Juliet's conflict—she loves Romeo but knows the animosity between their families will keep them from being together. In the following lines, she advises Romeo to consider the consequences of their actions.

Well, do not swear: although I joy in thee,
I have no joy of this contract to-night:
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!

Juliet compares their love to lightning, fearing that it will end before it can even be registered. The pressure of the familial conflict causes Juliet to be cautious at first in her feelings for Romeo. If the hatred between the families did not exist, she could be freer in her love. She finds her joy in Romeo but there is no joy to be found in making impulsive decisions because of the potential consequences.

sraven007 | Student

Romeo wandered into the Capulet's party in Act 1, Scene 5 and he walks in uninvited. When he randomly stumbles upon Juliet he comments to Mercutio regarding her beauty:

"O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright! 

It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night 

As a rich jewel in an Ethiop's ear-

Beauty too rich for use, for earth to dear!" (1.5.42-45)

Here Romeo is using a simile which compares Juliet to a rich jewel hanging in the ear of an Ethiopian (can also be read as very dark skinned individual). Thus, Juliet's beauty stands out againt the night just as a sparkling jewel would stand out in contrast against darker skin. But Romeo's moment to gaze at his new-found love is contrasted with Tybalt declaring to other Capulets that Romeo should not even be at the party be because he is a Montague,  which foreshadows the conflict that Romeo and Tybalt have in Act 3. 

 

 

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Romeo and Juliet

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