Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version
Juliet's offer is too much for Romeo to ignore. He rushes out of hiding, saying:
I take thee at thy word! Call me but love, and I'll be new baptized; Henceforth I never will be Romeo. (II, ii, 49-51)
Juliet is shocked that there's a man in the orchard-wouldn't you be? She's even more shocked that he's been eavesdropping. She doesn't recognize him until he calls her "dear saint".
Their conversation immediately points up the differences in their personalities. Juliet asks short, practical questions, and Romeo gives idealistic, flowery replies.
But their temperamental differences are complementary. They are both kind, noble people, and they're madly in love.
Juliet is embarrassed that Romeo overheard her frank statement of love. She offers to be shier, more coquettish, if he'd like; but she'd rather not, she loves him too much to play silly games. She asks him if he loves her, and he starts to swear that he does; but she stops him and asks him not to swear. Before Romeo can come up with a good answer to this, Juliet suddenly becomes afraid.
Although I joy in thee, I have no joy in this contract tonight. It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden; Too like the lightning, which does cease to be Ere one can say it lightens. (II, ii, 116-20)
How can we blame the lovers for the tragedy, when Juliet herself wishes their love were less sudden, more conventional? Every step of the way, we see that Romeo and Juliet try their best to do the right and honorable thing.
Here our sympathy lies with the lovers as they do their best to fight fate. But at the same time, Juliet's image of lightning is the first of several times that their passion will be described as a blinding light that will die instantly.
Juliet tries to say goodnight then, but Romeo asks her to stay. He wants more than the vow of love she spoke to herself; he wants her to tell him that she loves him.
True to her word, Juliet isn't shy; she declares her love more passionately than she did before. She tells him,
My passion is as boundless as the sea My love as deep; The more I give to thee, The more I have, for both are infinite. (II, ii, 133-35)
The Nurse calls to Juliet from inside, and the girl hurries in, promising to return. When she does return, she is again the practical one. She comes straight to the point: if his love is honorable and his purpose marriage, he should send word to her of when and where they'll be married, "and all my fortunes at thy foot I'll lay / and follow thee my lord throughout the earth." But if he doesn't mean well, he should tell her right away and leave her to her grief. Romeo is as eager as she is to be married, and he promises he'll have it arranged by nine o'clock that morning.
Juliet complains that "Tis twenty year till then." The lovers have entered into their own reality. In truth, time speeds by. All of this has happened in one day, and by the end of the next day, much will have changed. Be sure to watch the difference between actual lengths of time, and how time feels to the lovers.
Then, like lovers of any time, they can't stand to say good night. Finally they part, but only to make plans to consummate their love.