Although Act II has an light and romantic tone, at times Shakespeare reminds us of the tragic nature of the play: Please point out lines that foreshadow misfortune ahead.
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
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- In Act II of the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, certainly the Prologue to Act II suggests that there will be problems with the young lovers whose family are enemies:
Alike bewitched by the charm of looks;
But to his foe suppos'd he must complain,
And she steal love's sweet bait from fearful hooks.
Being held a foe, he may not have access
To breathe such vows as lovers use to swear,
And she as much in love, her means much less
To meet her new beloved anywhere (2.1.6-12)
- Then, in Scene 1, that Romeo is missing and of concern to Mercutio and Benvelio is portentous.
- In Scene 2, the balcony scene, Juliet worries that Romeo will be discovered in her orchard because her kinsmen will slay him:
How cam'st thou hither, tell me, and wherefore? The orchard walls are high and hard to climb, And the place death, considering who thou art, If any of my kinsmen find thee here. (2.1.66-69)
- Juliet also worries that hers and Romeo's love is too impetuous and may lead to trouble:
I have no joy of this contract to-night.
It is too rash, too unadvis'd, too sudden;
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be
Ere one can say ‘It lightens.’ (2.1.123-12
- In Scene 3, in the dawn, Friar Laurence ostensibly gathers flowers and herbs. But, in his soliloquy, he alludes metaphorically to the Capulets and Montagues and how their hatred can destroy them,
[will not indent]"Two such opposed kings encamp them still
In man as well as herbs, grace and rude will;
And where the worser is predominant,
Full soon the canker death eats up that plant." (2.3.21-24)
- Later in the morning, Romeo speaks with Friar Laurence, who cautions Romeo in his love. Using love/death metaphors, they speak,
ROMEO And bad'st me bury love
FRIAR Not in a grave,
To lay one in, another out to have. (2.3.84-86)
In Scene 4, Mercutio speaks of dueling and even calls Romeo dead, albeit metaphorically,
Alas, poor Romeo, he is already dead! Stabbed with a white wench's black eye....(2.4. 14-15)
In Scene 5, Romeo tells Friar Laurence that if he only join Juliet to him in marriage he will be happy and death can do what it wants,
Do thou but close our hands with holy words,
Then love-devouring death do what he dare—
It is enough I may but call her mine. (2.5.6-8)
Thus, throughout this second Act death looms over the "star-cross'd lovers" of the first Prologue, foreshadowing the tragic final scenes.
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