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Romeo and Juliet Commentary - Act II.

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Prologue

Sung by choir, this prelude establishes the conflict of both Romeo and Juliet between their love and their loyalty to their respective families (Lines 1-11).

Act II. Scene I. - Verona. A Lane by the wall of Capulet's Orchard.

Ignoring the danger, Romeo scales the Capulet's wall to be near Juliet, the women he cannot forget...

Romeo is uncertain whether he can go on and forget his feelings for the fair Juliet... "Can I go forward when my heart is here?" he asks himself (Line 1). Ignoring his own good advise to turn for home, he scales the Capulet's wall and goes back to find Juliet.

Benvolio and Mercutio discuss this turn of events, Mercutio discussing Rosaline's many attributes whilst Benvolio comments that, "Blind is his [Romeo's] love and best befits the dark" (Line 31). Mercutio wonders whether they should leave Romeo alone and not go after him. Benvolio knows Romeo all to well, telling Mercutio to "Go then; for 'tis in vain / To seek him here that means not to be found" (Line 41).

Act II. Scene II. - The Same. Capulet's Orchard.

Juliet: "O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?"

Unnoticed in Juliet's orchard, Romeo learns of Juliet's love for him. After declaring their feelings for one another, the two decide to marry. Juliet will send Romeo a messenger in the morning...

Waiting and hoping patiently to see Juliet by her window, Romeo is blessed to see the face of his fair Juliet. He famously describes her by saying "It is the east, and Juliet is the sun!" (Line 3).

Such is Juliet's beauty, that Romeo asks the sun to rise so as to "kill the envious moon, / Who is already sick and pale with grief, / That thou her maid [Juliet] art [is] far more fair [beautiful] than she:" (Line 4).

Appearing above Romeo, from her window, Juliet, believing herself to be alone speaks. Romeo is delighted, asking Juliet who cannot yet hear him, to "speak again, bright angel; for thou art [you are] / As glorious to this night, being o'er [over] my head, / As is a winged messenger of heaven" (Line 26).

Juliet yearning for her Romeo famously proclaims: "O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?" (Romeo, Romeo, where are you Romeo?), (Line 33).

Juliet asks Romeo, not knowing he is nearby to "Deny thy father [deny your father], and refuse thy [your] name; / Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, / And I'll no longer be a Capulet" (deny your father and your family's name or if you will not, if you swear your love to me, I will no longer be a Capulet), (Line 36).

Romeo is not certain whether he should keep listening in or make his presence known (Line 37). Juliet now explains that only their names are barriers to their love by famously exclaiming "What's in a name? that which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet;" (Line 43). Romeo answers this by saying, "I take thee [you, Juliet] at thy word. Call me but love, and I'll be new baptiz'd;" (Line 50).

Hearing noises, Juliet asks who is out there in her orchard. She learns that it is Romeo (Line 53) and though Juliet warns Romeo of the dangers of being caught at the house of his enemy (The Capulets), Romeo stays by Juliet's side in the orchard. Having declared his love for Juliet (Lines 66-84), the two decide to marry (Lines 125-149). Juliet tells Romeo to send her word of this tomorrow by a messenger (The Nurse) which Juliet will provide (Line 144).

Act II. Scene III. - The Same. Friar Laurence's Cell.

We meet Romeo's friend, Friar Laurence. He wonders how Romeo can forget Rosaline so quickly but agrees to marry the two since he hopes that this marriage will finally end the Montague / Capulet feud...

Romeo arrives at the Friar's cell. The Friar who discusses the how his herbs can both help and harm, is surprised to meet his friend so early in the morning, suspecting that "Our Romeo hath [has] not been in bed to-night" (Line 42). Romeo confirms this and the Friar eventually learns that Romeo's heart is set on the fair daughter of the rich Capulet, Juliet. Specifically Romeo intends on marrying Juliet (Line 61).

The Friar asks what happened to the fair Rosaline (Lines 70-80). Romeo explains to the Friar that he was often criticized by the Friar "For doting, not for loving," (having crushes but not truly loving), (Line 83). The Friar agrees to marry Romeo and Juliet hoping that this union will end years of feuding. He warns of the dangers of quick love: "Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast" (wisely and slow, those who run fast, stumble), (Line 94).

Act II. Scene IV. - The Same. A Street.

Romeo catches up with friends Mercutio and Benvolio. Juliet's messenger, the Nurse, arrives and the wedding is set for later that day. The Nurse brings Romeo "cords" or ropes that will allow Romeo to climb into Juliet's bedchamber as her husband later that night....

Benvolio and Mercutio wonder about Romeo's whereabouts, believing him to still be chasing Rosaline. We learn that Tybalt has sent a letter to his father's house, a challenge they believe Romeo will answer (Line 9). Mercutio describes Tybalt (Lines 19-38) as "'a very good blade!-a very tall man!-a very good whore'" (Line 32). There follows a criticism of Tybalt's obsession with the formalities and protocols of fencing and Romeo's undying love for Rosaline.

Romeo explains that the business of Juliet has kept him away from his friends (Line 54-57). After a series of barbs between Romeo and Mercutio, the Nurse and Peter arrive in search of Romeo. She finds Romeo and a running war of insults occurs between the Nurse and the rude Mercutio who refers to the Nurse as an "ancient lady;" (old woman), (Line 152).

The Nurse likes Romeo and agrees to tell Juliet to meet "this afternoon;" where at the Friar Laurence's cell, the two star-crossed lovers will be married (Lines 192-197). Refusing any tip from Romeo (Line 197), the Nurse agrees to deliver Romeo's "cords" a rope ladder or a "tackled stair;" that will allow Romeo to climb into Juliet's bedroom later that night (Line 203).

Act II. Scene V. - The Same. Capulet's garden.

Juliet learns from her Nurse, the wedding plans...

Juliet worries about what has taken her messenger, the Nurse so long. She has already taken three hours when she said she would be back in just half an hour (Line 1-16). The Nurse presently arrives back to Juliet and bidding Peter to stay at the gate, tells Juliet her news. Juliet is extremely impatient to learn of her marriage plans (Lines 32-48). The Nurse gives her approval of the marriage, commenting on what a gentleman, Romeo is (Lines 55-59). The Nurse now specifically tells Juliet of the plan to marry in the cell of Friar Laurence (Lines 69-79).

Act II. Scene VI. - The Same. Friar Laurence's Cell.

Romeo and Juliet are married (Lines 1-36).

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