What is Juliet's reaction to the Nurse's complaints / lethargy in Act 2, scenes 4 and 5?

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madelynfair's profile pic

madelynfair | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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The prior answer illustrates clearly how the Nurse offers her unsolicited opinion on Romeo, and Juliet completely ignores it. We might call this sample of text the Nurse's romance complaints. She also indulges in a second type: physical complaints. We could already guess how Juliet might react to these physical complaints, because before the scene even begins, how does Juliet set up the contrast between herself and the Nurse?

"But old folks, many feign as they were dead—
Unwieldy, slow, heavy and pale as lead."

How does the Nurse prove Juliet right? Return to the text and find instances of where the Nurse offers several physical complaints. Then search to see how Juliet reacts to these "ailments" (is the Nurse really ailing)?

Also count how many lines and tangents the Nurse takes to get the real story out. That's more evidence for the lethargy that almost infuriates the highly-impatient Juliet. How does Juliet react to the delay and distraction? Find lines that show the impatience and frustration.

You can imagine why Juliet might be frustrated, as she is deeply in love, she's young, and time is of the essence. An interesting side question to consider is why the Nurse indulges in these delays of romance complaints and physical complaints....but oops, like the Nurse, I'm on a tangent! :-)

Good luck!

dneshan's profile pic

dneshan | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

In Act 2, scene 4, the nurse goes to Romeo in to find out when and where he is planning on marrying Juliet.  During this scene, the Nurse forms an opinion of Romeo that she provides to Juliet when she reports back to her in scene 5 of the same act.  The Nurse says,

“Well, you have made a simple choice; you know

not how to choose a man. Romeo? No, not he. Though

his face be better than any man's, yet his leg excels all

men's; and for a hand and a foot, and a body, though

they be not to be talk'd on, yet they are past compare.”  (A. 2, s. 5, line 39-43)

In this quote the Nurse tells Juliet that Romeo is very good looking but he might not be the right choice, particularly because he is not very courteous.

Juliet’s reaction to these complaints by the Nurse are basically that she already knew all of this before she sent the Nurse to talk to him.  Additionally, Juliet is getting fed up with how long it is taking the Nurse to give her the information that she was send to get from Romeo.  Juliet really does not care much about the Nurse’s opinion, but want Romeo anyway.

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