In act 1, scene 5, Romeo secretly attends Lord Capulet's ball with his friends and is awestruck by Juliet's appearance. Romeo eloquently describes Juliet's beauty by comparing her to a "rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear" and questions if he has ever truly loved anyone until now. Romeo completely forgets about Rosaline and plans on introducing himself to Juliet. Romeo then approaches Juliet, gently takes her by the hand, and compares her to a "holy shrine." He proceeds to tell Juliet that his hand is unworthy to touch her but that he is willing to make things better with a kiss. Romeo's proposition depicts him as a fearless romantic who is not shy at all and is willing to act on his impulses. Interestingly, Romeo and Juliet's initial romantic exchange forms a Shakespearean sonnet, which underscores their inherent connection and compatibility.
Romeo and Juliet proceed to flirt with each other as Romeo continues to utilize an extended religious metaphor by comparing Juliet to a saint and himself to a righteous pilgrim. By utilizing a religious metaphor, Romeo and Juliet's love is depicted as divine, holy, and pure. Juliet reciprocates Romeo's feelings and allows him to kiss her after he says,
O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do. (Shakespeare, 1.5.103)
After their first kiss, Romeo comments that his "sin is purged" and offers to take his sin back by kissing Juliet a second time. Juliet then remarks that Romeo kisses "by th' book" before the Nurse interrupts them and leads Juliet away. Overall, Romeo and Juliet's long-anticipated meeting is filled with religious metaphors as the two lovers instantly act on their emotions by kissing each other.
When Romeo and Juliet first meet in act 1, scene 5, their reaction is a positive one. In fact, they flirt with each other and kiss, which suggests that they are quickly falling in love.
Moments before their meeting, Romeo saw Juliet across the room and admired her beauty. In fact, he claims he has never seen "true beauty" until this point, suggesting Romeo's feelings for Juliet far outweigh those he had for Rosaline.
When they come face to face, Romeo takes Juliet's hand and compares it to a shrine (holy place). He also compares his lips to two pilgrims. This holy metaphor suggests that Romeo has indeed fallen in love. For him, meeting Juliet is like undergoing a spiritual experience. He feels that he is not worthy to touch her because she is so beautiful and special.
Juliet is flattered by Romeo and reciprocates his feelings. The pair kiss, but are interrupted by the arrival of the Nurse.
This meeting is significant because it lays the foundation for their love. They become so consumed by love and passion that they cannot be parted, even when it is revealed that they belong to warring families.
Romeo and Juliet both react flirtatiously with one another when they first meet. Romeo calls Juliet a "holy shrine" and refers to his lips as "two blushing pilgrims" that long to kiss her (1.5.105, 106). She responds in kind, referring to the appropriate way for pilgrims to kiss; the banter continues for another moment until, having just met—actually, they have not even met and are really total strangers—Romeo kisses Juliet several times, and she lets him. Thus, they seem to meet as relative equals. Despite the fact that he is likely a few years older than she is, Romeo and Juliet meet each other on the same level, flirting with one another and kissing. She shows herself to have a quick wit, and they both seem to enjoy the flirtatious banter they share; they speak to one another in a similar way.
When Romeo and Juliet meet, it is love at first sight. As the enotes summary notes "Romeo sees Juliet for the first time and falls instantly in love. His tortured love for Rosaline has been replaced with a blissful love for Juliet" (enotes summary Act I, Scenes 3-5).
Romeo spots Juliet at the party, but has no idea who she is. He asks someone, and meanwhile is completely enchanted.
O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiop's ear—
Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear! (Act I, Scene 5, enotes etext pdf p. 31)
Juliet seems to be just as interested in Romeo. When he suggests that his hand is unworthy to touch her, she responds in an even more alluring way.
Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this;
For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch,
And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.(105) (p. 32)
It is Juliet, then, who first brings up kissing! They kiss, and Juliet is called away. Romeo asks Nurse who she is and is heartbroken with the answer.
Is she a Capulet?(125)
O dear account! my life is my foe's debt. (p. 33)
Juliet is a little more coy, asking Nurse about several young men before getting to Romeo, so Nurse will not know who she is really interested in. When she learns he is a Montague, she is equally distressed.
My only love, sprung from my only hate!
Too early seen unknown, and known too late! (p. 34)
Yet Romeo and Juliet both take little heed to their situation. In the next Act, they are together again despite the danger. Clearly love at first sight trumps common sense!
For the full text: http://www.enotes.com/romeo-and-juliet-text
For a summary of the scene:http://www.enotes.com/romeo-and-juliet/act-scenes-3-5-summary-analysis
Citation: Enotes. "Romeo and Juliet." Enotes.com. Enotes.com. Web. 14 May 2012. <http://www.enotes.com/romeo-and-juliet/act-scenes-3-5-summary-analysis>.