What literary devices are used in Juliet's quote, "I'll look to like, if looking liking move: But no more deep will I endart mine eye than your consent gives..."?

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Juliet makes this noncommittal statement to her mother in Act 1, scene 3 as they discuss Count Paris.  Lady Capulet has directly asked Juliet to “Read o'er the volume of young Paris' face / And find delight writ there with beauty’s pen” when she sees him at the feast that night. Lady Capulet insists that a beauty like Juliet shouldn’t hide from a handsome man like Paris. She reminds Juliet that she was already a mother at Juliet’s age; she sincerely wishes her daughter to marry young.  Yet another motive seems likely.  She tells Juliet, “So shall you share all that he doth possess.” Being a count, his marriage to Juliet would bring the Capulets status and wealth beyond what they possess.

Juliet, naturally, feels the pressure of her mother’s insistence that she marry Count Paris, and being a teenager, it is in her nature to resist. Neither of her parents have considered love, which Juliet longs for.  Yet rather than outright refuse to consider Paris, Juliet gives a neutral response: "I'll look to like, if looking liking move. / But no more deep will I endart mine eye / than your consent gives to make it fly." Juliet is agreeing to look at and consider Paris.  If she is impressed with what she sees, she will allow herself to like him.  Yet she will not completely open her heart to him more than they have they have given consent to. If Lady Capulet was listening to her daughter’s heart here, she’d hear more than the words on the surface.  Remember, the Capulet’s never mentioned (gave “consent” to) love in this union.

It is a crafty response from Juliet, using creative literary and rhetorical devices. Note the alliteration with the l’s and consonance with the k’s: “look to like, if looking liking...” Yes, this lends the usual musical effect of repeated consonant sounds, but it also creates a sort of tongue twister when combined with the assonance--in this case, alternating long “o”s and short “i”s.  Juliet is not wanting to give a straight answer, and her twisting language here is a bit hard to follow (even for a Shakespearean audience), allowing her a bit of evasion. To that end, her answer also includes a bit of hyperbaton, as her words are arranged in an unusual order here:  “if looking liking move.” More standard would be, “if looking moves liking,” meaning if looking at him moves me to like him.  Finally, Juliet presents the analogy of her love as a bird, in her statement that she will not look deeply into his heart to find love “to make it fly.” A bird has freedom to choose where it will fly. Juliet, being pushed towards Paris, clearly sees that she lacks her parents’ consent to let her heart fly where it will in search of love.



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Interpretation: Juliet has been asked if she can accept Paris' love. Juliet responds with the quote above (I.iii.99-101): She can look at Paris on the surface (physically), but she can look no deeper than that. She cannot look deeper than the surface, just like Lady Capulet's consent cannot give Juliet's love for Paris strength to fly.
Literary Devices:
- Alliteration: In line 99, Juliet uses the repetition of the letter "L" (I'll Look to Like, if Looking Liking move...").
- Allusion: Juliet alludes to Cupid's arrow in line 100, when she says "But no more deep will I endart mine eye..." The word "endart" is a reference to Cupid's hitting a target with an arrow that will evoke passion or love.
- Couplet: The last two lines in Juliet's response rhyme (eye/fly).
- Personification: When Juliet responds stating that she cannot look deeper than Paris' surface, just like Lady Capulet's consent cannot give Juliet's love any strength, Juliet is personifying "consent" ("consent" giving Juliet's love strength).

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