In Romeo and Juliet, please explicate these llines: "Black and portentous must this humour prove/ Unless good counsel may the cause remove"

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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After having asked Benevolio if he has seen their son, a concerned Lord Montague speaks of Romeo's despressed behavior,

Away from light steals home my heavy son
And private in his chamber pens himself,
Shuts up his windows, locks fair daylight out
And makes himself an artificial night.
Black and portentous must this humour prove
Unless good counsel may the cause remove. (1.1.133-138)

In these lines of Lord Montague, there is the introduction of the light/dark motif and foreshadowing of the future importance of night for Romeo and Juliet. Romeo's father feels that Romeo's behavior bodes badily for him as it is not healthy to shut oneself away; he urges Benevolio to bring Romeo out of his dark mood.  Clearly, there is an ominousness about this passage, and the readers/audience may feel that tragic events are to follow as well. In addition, these lines of Lord Montague are indicative of the emotional nature of Romeo, who runs from the daylight and hides himself away to brood over the loss of the love of Rosaline.

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