Who says "Alack, there lies more peril in thine eye than twenty of their swords. Look thou but sweet, and I am proof against their enmity" in Romeo and juliet?

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

These words are spoken by Romeo to Juliet in the celebrated balcony scene in Act II, Scene 2. Juliet expresses concern about Romeo's safety. She says:

If they do see thee, they will murder thee.

This is the literally true. Romeo might get by with crashing the Capulet party and with flirting with the young Juliet on the dance floor, but this intrusion into the Capulet estate would outrage Lord Capulet and all the other Capulets. It looks like a bold attempt to seduce Juliet. But Romeo is carried away by his love for this girl. He is no Cyrano de Bergerac, who can take on one hundred swordsmen at a time. He is just a young man who is emboldened by his passion that he is willing to take on twenty swordsmen if necessary. He responds to Juliet's fear with the following lines:

Alack, there lies more peril in thine eye
Than twenty of their swords! Look thou but sweet,
And I am proof against their enmity.

What he means by "more peril" in Juliet's eye is that he would consider it a greater danger to be rejected by her than to be assaulted by twenty armed men.

If Romeo were attacked by twenty swordsmen he would be killed. He is a match for Tybalt--but not for Tybalt and nineteen others! His statement shows his recklessness under the driving power of love. His recklessness is evident throughout the play. He not only falls in love at first sight but gets married immediately and climbs a rope ladder to spend a night with Juliet in a household where his life is in imminent danger. Juliet, inflamed by Romeo's contagious passion, becomes equally reckless and abandoned. Both of them will die as a result of their love.

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Romeo and Juliet

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