What is the most important event that happens on Act 2 scene 1 in the book Romeo and Juliet and why?I read the scene in original and modern version but i feel like this is not a really important...

What is the most important event that happens on Act 2 scene 1 in the book Romeo and Juliet and why?

I read the scene in original and modern version but i feel like this is not a really important part of the book. My literature teacher says I'm incorrect and that is also part of my test. Hopefully someone in here can help me.

Expert Answers
Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'll see if I can help you with your question concerning Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Act 2.1.  The most important event in this scene is one that isn't actually mentioned.  A reader, rather than a viewer who is watching the play, may not even realize the event occurs until the beginning of the next scene.  Plus, your understanding of the scene may depend on what version you're reading from.  You mention that you read the play in the "original" and the "modern" versions, so I'll quote the "original" from a book that contains both, the Barron's version:

Scene 2

Capulet's Orchard. Enter Romeo

That's your clue, your evidence.  In Act 2.1 when Romeo speaks his two lines:

Can I go forward when my heart is here?

Turn back, dull earth, and find thy centre out.

he is standing in a lane (street) by the wall of the Capulet orchard.  He then disappears from the sight of his friends as they arrive.  When they leave and scene one ends and scene two begins, Romeo is now in the orchard.  Since his friends would not have been on Capulet property yelling and making jokes as they were, we can infer where Romeo goes when he disappears, and where he goes is the most important event of Act 2.1:  he jumps the wall and goes into the Capulet's orchard.  Juliet comes out on her balcony and we have the famous balcony scene. 

Romeo tells himself, figuratively, to "turn back" and jumps the wall.  If he walks away we have no romance, no play, no tragedy.

It's difficult to know this when you're only reading the play.  You would have understood it if you were watching actors perform the play.  I hope this helps.

missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think there are several parts of this scene that make it important in your teacher's eyes:

1. They guys (Benvolio and Mercutio) actually think that Romeo is sulking or off with Rosaline, not Juliet. This proves they are not at all aware of Romeo's new love, keeping this all important secret for the movement of the plot of this play. If that element was missed, the play would be totally different because teenagers gossip. Someone's parents would have discovered what was going on.

2. The guys leave. This gives room for Romeo to be alone. When they went to the party together, the guys kind of knew they would have to take care of Romeo. This is regular behavior for Romeo to go off by himself though, and they take it as that. If they didn't leave, and they pursued Romeo and got him to leave with them, there would be no room for the balcony scene that happened next.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The only way I can think of that this scene is very important is that, you can say, it sets up the problems that Romeo and Juliet will have.  The reason that I say this is because Benvolio and Mercutio do not believe Romeo is serious.  They believe he is just playing games.  You can see this in how they are just joking around about him and his feelings about Juliet.

If they had understood how he was really in love, they might have been able to help him.  They might have realized "oh, man, Romeo's in love with Capulet's daughter."  Then they would have known that bad trouble could result.  They might have either helped him or stopped him or something.

But because they don't think it's serious, they don't pay attention and Romeo becomes more isolated from his friends and family.  This means he has less support to help him figure out what to do.

coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The "orchard" and "balcony" scenes in the play "Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare are important because they mark a point where the "star cross'd lovers" move away from Fate. For example, Romeo has a choice - he can either go home with his buddies after a good night out as if nothing has happened as usual, or he can influence the events in his future life in a big way by acting on his impulses and driving the fate of his future himself. He chooses the latter and the important part of that is that we get to see him making the decision to part from his friends in favor of Juliet. This idea of self-determination points his course for a different outcome and we can only debate about what would have been for the best.

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Romeo and Juliet

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