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Romeo And Juliet Act 2 Scene 2 Analysis - With A Free Essay Review



One of the many types of Shakespearian plays is a tragedy in which the ending is usually tragic. The tale of “Romeo and Juliet” is no different, with a multitude of deaths and a forbidden love that is seen as one of the strongest love connections in history. Shakespeare did a marvelous job of showing people this young, forbidden love which ended their families’ seemingly endless feud. In Act 2 Scene 2, Shakespeare uses imagery and figurative language to show that a forbidden love can still have the power to conquer any obstacles.

In Romeo’s soliloquy, Shakespeare uses personification, visual imagery, and hyperboles to describe Juliet’s beauty through Romeo’s eyes. While Romeo is in the Capulet’s garden after the party, he talks of Juliet being the sun and of the wonder that has just come into his life. He then sees Juliet and begins to wonder, “What light thru yonder window breaks? It is the East, and Juliet is the sun.” This visual imagery shows that Juliet has just appeared on her balcony from her bedroom and that she should, “…Arise… and kill the envious moon/who is already sick and pale with grief.” He is talking of how her beauty is so bright that it has the power to kill the moon and that it overpowers the night. This personification also shows the deep affection Romeo has for Juliet in that he is talking of her beauty and his longing to see her. When Juliet arrives on the balcony, “The brightness of her cheeks would shame those stars as daylight doth a lamp.” This hyperbole shows how much Juliet is blushing from the events at the Capulet’s party. This also shows the beauty that Romeo finds in Juliet.

In Juliet’s “What’s in a Name” speech, Shakespeare uses visual imagery and metaphors to show Juliet’s wondering about the importance of a name. When Romeo is in the garden listening to Juliet speak privately, or so she believes, about whether Romeo being a Montague should affect her love for him, Romeo tells the reader that, “…she leans her cheek upon her hand,” and how he wishes he was, “…a glove upon that hand, [so] that [he] may touch that cheek.” Not only does this tactile imagery show the readers that Juliet has just gone into a state of wonder but further shows Romeo’s longing to be with her. This state of wondering is what leads Juliet to debate whether the fact that Romeo is a Montague should affect her love for him. Juliet later pauses and Romeo says that she should, “…speak again bright angel! For thou art as glorious to this night / being o’er my head as a winged messenger of heaven.” Even though Juliet is scared of someone listening to her thoughts, Romeo continues to express his love for her as though he were saying it straight to her face through this metaphor. He can’t help but to wonder what joyous words will come out of her mouth next and can’t wait to hear her speak. Romeo also describes to the readers more of Juliet’s beauty, especially in her eyes that had, “Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven…” twinkling inside of them. He describes the beauty that was held in her eyes that made him not forget them. Juliet’s eyes twinkle with love and Romeo longed to fill the void that was created by their separation.

When Romeo and Juliet plan their secret wedding, Shakespeare uses metaphors to describe the love they have for one another. Romeo is first showing his love for Juliet and he swears by the moon that he loves her. Juliet wishes that he would, “…not swear by the inconstant moon, that monthly changes in her circled orb, lest that thy love prove likewise variable.” Juliet believes that if Romeo swears by the moon that his love for her would be changing constantly. She wants his love to always be there and to never vanish in the darkness. Later after the plans are set, Romeo describes the joy of being with her and the pain he feels of being away from Juliet as, “…schoolboys from their books; But love from love, towards school with heavy books.” This shows he loves Juliet as much as school boys love leaving their books and hates leaving her just as they hate going back to their studies. Juliet now shows her dislike of being apart from Romeo by comparing him to a, “…wanton’s bird,” that she doesn’t want to leave her side. She wishes that Romeo would stay with her like a pet would stay with a small child bringing the child joy and happiness.

Even with the deathly ending, “Romeo and Juliet” still shows a strong power of love that is more than prevalent in this scene. Between the detailed description of Juliet’s beauty and the power Romeo shares of his love for her and her beauty, this scene sets the tone for the rest of the story; a story of a forbidden love and the consequences that arise from it, no matter the power of that true love.

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ESSAY REVIEW

You claim in your first paragraph that Shakespeare "uses imagery and figurative language to show that a forbidden love can still have the power to conquer any obstacles." Your essay, however, does not go on to demonstrate the truth of the claim. For what it's worth, I think you would have a hard time trying to demonstrate the truth of that claim, because I don't think the claim is true, but despite that fact, there ought to be a strong link between what you claim your essay will show and what it actually shows.

It is true that in the scene you discuss Romeo makes extravagant claims about the power of love (it helps him find Romeo and leap over the walls of the Capulet garden, for instance) but that of course is all just hyperbolic nonsense, nonsense which in any case you don't refer to. It seems unlikely that Shakespeare would, on the one hand, portray Romeo as lovesick fool given to such exaggeration, and on the other hand, try to impress upon us the idea that love can "conquer any obstacles." The claim seems especially unlikely to be true since the play as a whole doesn't support the idea that love can conquer all obstacles, as I think you recognize in your conclusion. These are "star-crossed" lovers; i.e., lovers crossed by fate. In other words, their love cannot overcome all obstacles, which is why they end up dead.

So I think you need to (1) revise your idea of what the scene tells us about love, and (2) make sure that if you articulate your revised idea in the form of a thesis statement in your first paragraph, that you then actually demonstrate the truth of that thesis. Keeping the second point in mind will give you something to focus on (something to achieve) in each paragraph of your essay.

As it stands your essay is really a series of interpretive moments. You highlight a figure or a statement or an image, and tell us what it means. You really need both to tell us what it means and tell us how it relates to (your idea of) the significance of the scene as a whole. When you tell us what it means, however, you also need to be careful to ensure your understanding of what it means is justified (and of course you cannot justify an interpretation on the grounds that everyone's entitled to one).

Let's look at one example from the end of the second paragraph: "When Juliet arrives on the balcony, 'The brightness of her cheeks would shame those stars as daylight doth a lamp.' This hyperbole shows how much Juliet is blushing from the events at the Capulet’s party. This also shows the beauty that Romeo finds in Juliet."

It seems like you are guessing here, but there is no need to guess about the meaning of these lines. The lines don't mention blushing, and they don't refer to the party. So there's nothing to be gained from such speculation. Instead of speculating, read the lines in their context so that you can understand just what Romeo is referring to. You only need to go back a couple of lines. Romeo is in the process of constructing a bizarre conceit. He first imagines that Juliet is communicating with the stars: "Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven / Having some business, do entreat her eyes to / To twinkle in their spheres till they return." So, the stars, according to Romeo, are asking Juliet to pluck out her eyes and cast them up into the heavens where they can twinkle (while those two stars are not there). As I said, it's a bizarre conceit, and it gets worse. Romeo then imagines Juliet’s eyes and the two fairest stars swapping places: "What if her eyes were there [in the sky], [and] they [the two stars] [were] in her head?" The line that you cite is an answer to that grotesque question. If Juliet had stars in her eyeball sockets instead of eyes, then the stars would be put to shame on account of their dimness relative to the brightness of her cheeks (and then he goes on to explain the impact her eyes would have in the sky if they took the place of two stars). So what is the point of this bizarre conceit? Is she suffering from a psychosomatic disorder occasioned by her post-party excitement or embarrassment? Romeo is not saying that. He's just saying that she has bright eyes and bright cheeks. He's saying that she glows or that she's radiant. She doesn't have a dull face. She's pretty. She's gorgeous. That's all. So you don't need to make stuff up. That's not to say that the lines do not require any analysis. Perhaps the grotesqueness of the conceit and the hyperbolic character of his praise reveals something about Romeo and the nature of his passion, for instance.

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: cookie827
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