What is Romeo's reaction when he first sees Juliet in Romeo and Juliet?

What is Romeo's reaction when he first sees Juliet in Romeo and Juliet?

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In act 1, scene 5, Romeo beholds Juliet for the first time at the party hosted by the Capulets. In a room crowded with people and with much hoopla around him, Romeo notices his soon-to-be wife and is entranced. (He also immediately forgets his pining for Rosaline; he had considered skipping this celebration entirely because he was so upset over her.) These lines perfectly capture his initial impression of Juliet:

Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight!
For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night. (I.v.55-56)

From the moment he sees Juliet, Romeo is totally infatuated. He says that her beauty is too good for this world. As soon as possible, Romeo makes his way to this captivating beauty and takes her by the hand. He offers his apologies if he offends her but says that his lips stand ready to make amends. This playful banter is well-received by Juliet, and it is clear that an instant spark has been lit between the couple.

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I think that one of the best ways to describe Romeo when he first sees Juliet is that he is smitten with her.  Simply put, Romeo experiences love at first sight when he sees Juliet.  He is taken aback by her physical beauty. The language he employs reflects this captivation with her physical beauty.  Romeo opens with "she doth teach the torches to burn bright!"  After this, he uses language such as "Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear;" and "Did my heart love till now?" and "I ne'er saw true beauty till this night."  Romeo is completely consumed with the sight of Juliet.  He is incapable of seeing anything else.  

At the same time, it is evident at this moment that Romeo has forgotten his past experiences.  He opens the drama in a very moody and melancholic state because of Rosaline and his inability to find happiness. As a result, Romeo is meandering and wandering.  However, his reaction when he first sees Juliet indicates that all of this is in the past.  He is taken with Juliet and recognizes that this will be the focus of his energies.  It is Shakespeare's genius to force the viewer to examine what love really is.  Romeo believes that he is in love when he sees Juliet for the first time.  While he very well might be, Shakespeare asks us to examine whether there is a difference between infatuation and love, as the two terms might converge in Romeo being smitten with Juliet upon seeing her for the first time.

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