What is a metaphor found in Act 2, Scene 2 of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet  and how is it appropriate to the play as a whole?

2 Answers

tamarakh's profile pic

Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

One of the best metaphors in Act 2, Scene 2 can be seen in Romeo's opening speech. In his third line, he compares Juliet to the sun in the line, "It is the East, and Juliet is the sun!" (3). Since the sun is bright, radiant, and glorious, the metaphor serves to illustrate Juliet's beauty as equally radiant and glorious. The metaphor serves to appropriately characterize Romeo as one who is not only captivated by Juliet but also fixated on physical beauty.

A second appropriate metaphor can be found later in the scene. After Juliet says, "'Tis almost morning. I would have thee gone--" (189), an extended metaphor is drawn likening Romeo to a pet bird whom she wishes she could "pluck" back into her palm with a "silk thread," keeping him prisoner the way a "wanton," or spoiled child would. In other words, Juliet is likening Romeo to, and wishing he was, a prisoner. The metaphor is further extended when Juliet says that if he were her pet bird she "should kill [him] with much cherishing" (197). In other words, her affection shown through hugs and petting and kissing would be so overwhelming for Romeo as a little bird that she might smother him to death. Likening Romeo to a prisoner pet bird is very appropriate in how it captures the love the couple shared. Because the couple was divided and suffered a great deal of sorrow, their love felt more like a prison than an uplifting element. Not only that, the further extended metaphor of likening Romeo to a smothered pet bird also appropriately captures both their feelings toward each other and their pending doom. Romeo did indeed die as a result of the love he felt and received from Juliet.