When Romeo sees Juliet for the first time, he immediately forgets his feelings of infatuation for Rosaline and is awestruck by Juliet's beauty and grace. It is love at first sight for both Romeo and Juliet. When Romeo takes Juliet's hand, he uses religious imagery by comparing her to a "holy shrine," which he is unworthy to visit. Romeo proceeds to compare his lips to "blushing pilgrims," and Juliet continues to use religious imagery by mentioning saints, prayers, and absolution before kissing Romeo for the first time. Romeo's metaphor comparing Juliet to a holy shrine suggests that his love for Juliet is rooted in spirituality and is divine, which contrasts with his shallow infatuation for Rosaline. Romeo and Juliet's use of religious imagery during their conversation emphasizes the purity of their love and establishes their bond as everlasting, transcendent, and holy. The metaphor also suggests that Romeo will act as a humble pilgrim and do anything for Juliet because he views her as sacred and holy.
Romeo compares Juliet to a holy shrine in act 1, scene 5. Here, Romeo is doing his best as he tries to get a kiss from Juliet as she stands on her balcony. Religious symbolism is used throughout Romeo's speech. After he touches her hand, Romeo says that maybe he was too profane to touch something so special. In other words, Juliet is the holy shrine, and Romeo a mere worshipper. Romeo is offering up a very lofty compliment to Juliet while he simultaneously debases himself. This is a smooth move on Romeo's part. Juliet responds by telling Romeo that he is indeed worthy to touch her hand. Sticking with the "holy shrine" metaphor, Romeo suggests that their lips are "pilgrims" so that they may touch in a kiss. The use of religious imagery suggests the profoundness and purity of the connection between the two young lovers. Shakespeare is telling the audience that this is no ordinary infatuation, but something deep and even spiritual for Romeo and Juliet.