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The Language of Romeo and Juliet in the Balcony Scene

Powerful Essays
The Language of Romeo and Juliet in the Balcony Scene

Act II Scene 2 is one of the most famous scenes of

Shakespeare's play, Romeo and Juliet. It is

commonly known as the "Balcony Scene" because Juliet appears on a small

balcony outside her bedroom window, and exchanges words, expresses true

love with Romeo who is standing below in her father's orchard. The scene is

famous for its moving and vivid images, used to express love between two

people of contrasting nature. In my study I will compare the language of

Romeo and Juliet in this famous scene.

The balcony scene is physically separate from the rest of the play

by being set in a moonlit garden. The lovers exist outside the feuding and

quarreling but cannot completely ignore it. Their love is shown as eternal

and pure, rather than motivated by physical desire, lust or money grabbing.

This is reflected in the kind of language and imagery that the lovers use.

In this scene we notice that the way Romeo expresses his love is

different from the way Juliet expresses her love. Romeo speaks in high-

flown language to express his love but compared to his, Juliet's language

it is more sincere and filled with sweet seriousness.

Romeo expresses his love for Juliet right at the beginning of the

scene through the use of light imagery. He declares:

"It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the

envious moon ... Her vestal livery is but sick and green"

Romeo connects the pale moonlight with sickness and grief and says that

only fools have anything to do with it. Here Romeo refers to how foolishly

he fell i...

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...c., 1986.

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Clark, W. G. and Wright, W. Aldis , ed. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Vol. 1. New York: Nelson-Doubleday

Cole, Douglas, ed. Twentieth Century Interpretations of Romeo and Juliet. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1970.

Granville-Barker, Henry. Prefaces to Shakespeare. New York: Hill and Wang, 1970.

Lamb, Sidney, ed. Complete Study Edition, Romeo and Juliet: Nebraska, 1965.

Lipson, Greta Barclay and Lipson, Susan Solomon, Romeo and Juliet Plainspoken: A Speech-by-Speech Modern Translation, Illinois, 1985.

Shakespeare, William. "Romeo and Juliet" 1597. Clark and Wright 247-277

Watts, Cedric. Twayne's New Critical Introductions to Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1991.
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