Who proposes the idea of marriage between Romeo and Juliet?
This is a really interesting part of Act II in Romeo and Juliet. The reader sees prior that Romeo has a predisposition to fall in love quickly and furiously, as seen in his very dramatic behavior after his falling out with Rosaline. Up to this point, a case could be made for Romeo simply being in lust with Juliet instead of actual love; the two haven't known each other long at all - only a few moments actually. It's reasonable to question both of their motives, but especially Romeo's based on his prior behavior. However, then the idea of marriage comes up the very evening they meet by Juliet:
Three words, dear Romeo, and good night indeed. If that thy bent of love be honorable, Thy purpose marriage, send me word tomorrow, By one that I’ll procure to come to thee, Where and what time thou wilt perform the rite, And all my fortunes at thy foot I’ll lay And follow thee my lord throughout the world.
This is somewhat surprising, because they've just met. It's also shocking because it's Juliet who suggests this. Even today, society dictates that the man propose marriage. In Shakespeare's time, it's even more surprising that Juliet is the one who proposes this idea.
Juliet proposes the idea of marriage to Romeo on the very night that they meet. In Act 2, scene 2 (otherwise known as the balcony scene), Juliet becomes so obsessed over the idea that she must be sure that Romeo is truly in love with her that she tells him that if he really loves her and wants to be with her, then he must marry her when she says,
"Three words, dear Romeo, and good night indeed.
If that thy bent of love be honourable,
Thy purpose marriage, send me word to-morrow,
By one that I'll procure to come to thee,
Where and what time thou wilt perform the rite;" (A. 2, s. 2, lines 148-152)
On the following day, Romeo does, in fact , give the Nurse information about when the marriage will take place.
In Act 2, scene 2 of Romeo and Juliet, Juliet proposes the idea of marriage to Romeo. In this scene which takes place on a balcony, Romeo and Juliet profess their love for each other.
Juliet is fully aware of the conflict between her family and Romeo's family and knows their families will not allow any relationship to develop between Romeo and Juliet. So Juliet needs confirmation that Romeo's love for her is really and truly deeper than just words. And if Romeo truly loves her, they need a way to prevent their parents from keeping them apart.
"If that thy bent of love be honourable, / Thy purpose marriage, send me word tomorrow."
This statement by Juliet simply means that if Romeo loves her, he is to tell her by tomorrow whether he will marry her. Having Romeo agree to marriage would not only affirm his love for her, but would also prevent their parents from breaking up their relationship.