What does Juliet mean in her opening soliloquy in Act 3, Scene 2 of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet?
In Act III, Scene II, when Juliet says, "Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds, / Towards Phoebus' lodging," she is using Greek mythology to express her eagerness for the day to pass and for night to fall so that her wedding night can take place (1-2). Phoebes Apollo is the sun god, who was believed to drive his chariot across the sky each night, the chariot representing the setting sun. Similarly, when she says, "Spread thy close curtain, love-performing night," she is again asking night to hurry up and come (5). Not only that, she is referring to night as a dark shroud, or veil, that will conceal Romeo from being dangerously seen by her family so that they can perform their "amorous rites," meaning engage in their wedding night (9). The rest of the passage is full of sexual inferences and culminates in her begging "gentle night...Give me my Romeo" (21-22). Finally, she refers to the day as "tedious" because she has married Romeo, but not yet enjoyed him, as we see in the lines,
O, I have bought the mansion of a love,
But not possess'd it; and though I am sold,
Not yet enjoy'd. (27-29)
All in all, in this speech, Juliet is saying that she is eager to enjoy her new husband.
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