Why does Romeo keep secret from his friends the reason for his dramatic change in mood in Romeo and Juliet?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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After the night in which Mercutio and the others search for Romeo, who has scaled the orchard walls of the Capulets in order to see with love dazzled eyes she who "doth teach the torches to burn bright,"  Romeo visits Friar Laurence.  At the priest's cell, Romeo asks the friar to perform the marriage rites for Juliet and him.  Amazed, Friar Laurence exclaims,

Holy Saint Frances, what a change is here!

Is Rosaline, that thou didst love so dear,

So soon forsaken?  Young men's love then lies

Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes.

Jesu Maria, what a deal of brine

Hath washed thy sallow cheeks for Rosaline!....

The sun not yet thy sighs from heaven clears,

Thy old groans ring yet in mine ancient ears.

Lo, here upon thy cheek the stain doth sit

Of an old tear that is not washed off yet....

Thou and these woes were all for Rosaline.

And art thou changed?  (2.3.68-77)

Since the priest has chided him and since the Capulets are the sworn enemies of the Montagues, Romeo may be more than a little reluctant to reveal his infatuation and increasing passion for Juliet.  Certainly, he does not want to broach the subject when he meets up with Mercutio, his cousin, who is engaged in a heated dialogue with Tybalt in the streets of Verona.  And, it is possible that Romeo considers the parting words of the priest, "Wisely and slow.  They stumble that run fast" (2.3.97)

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