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    Discuss how Shakespeare uses language and dramatic devices in Act 2 Scene 2 Essay

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    Following Act 1 Scene 5, where Romeo and Juliet met at the Grand Capulet’s Ball, the two meet again in Act 2 Scene 2. During Act 2 Scene 2, commonly known as the balcony scene, Romeo passes to the Capulet’s Mansion in search of Juliet. On locating her, he stays hidden, witnessing the declaration of Juliet’s love for him. He overhears her talking aloud of her own love for him, and her concern about the fact that he is a Montague, born of a family that are enemies to her own household: “wherefore”, or “why”, she asks herself, could he not have been born with any other name’shortly after, he reveals himself whilst Juliet, above him on the balcony, is shocked and fears for his safety. However, Romeo persists in attempting to ‘woo’ her and both are eager to discuss their love for one another. They’re clearly love-struck and arrange to be married within the following day. They reluctantly part before being interrupted by Juliet’s Nurse.

    Throughout the scene, Romeo’s language is poetic and religious in comparison to previous scenes. His extravagant sentences show his true, genuine love for Juliet. He uses metaphors including: “O speak again, bright angel” He refers to her as a bright angel against a dark sky. Prior to meeting her, darkness was not just over his head, it was in his heart. Now, he is separated from the dark sky by his vision of Juliet. She signifies purity – being a virgin, and her beauty and goodness. Alternatively, her angelic figure could be seen symbolically as foreshadowing her later death. she’s above Romeo, there’s a correlation to her being above him on the balcony and her being out of Romeo’s reach; this is a warning to him as he shouldn’t be anywhere near her.

    Romeo’s emotive language changes dramatically when he meets Juliet; again, it is far more poetic and is such a contrast to how he spoke about his previous love, Rosaline. Earlier in the play (in Act 1 Scene 1), while describing his love for Rosaline, he says, “Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate!” these two contradictory phrases known as oxymorons prove how Romeo’s perspective of love then was simply lust for Rosaline. The word ‘brawling’ effectively is language of war, not expected language of love. In particular, ‘loving hate’ suggests how his ‘love’ for Rosaline was not genuine, it was lust. Whereas, in Act 2 Scene 2, he uses phrases such as “dear saint” towards Juliet, this religious language differs from the way he spoke beforehand. The word ‘Saint’ in the Elizabethan era was a word regularly used as the church dominated topics of discussion, being such a controversial subject (Catholic and Protestant rivalry). Saints are often as having halos, which is a symbol of their holiness, moreover, Juliet’s innocence and goodness. Romeo’s emotions change during the play in a very sudden and abrupt way. Shakespeare uses this to emphasize Romeo’s character, language and action whilst enhancing his emotions, along with the use of courtly love. use of hyperboles is key to this.

    The very first line of the scene, Romeo says, “He jests at scars that never felt a wound.” Romeo is talking about Mercutio joking about something he has never felt, which obviously would have irritated him, consequently he would have used a very bitter tone. This is not normally defined as language of love, especially with the body language and facial expressions the actor would have used to show this. He is talking about love but uses words that convey pain and suffering.

    “It is the east, and Juliet is the Sun.” In this line Romeo is talking about Juliet rising like the sun. Romeo thinks Juliet is the sun of his life which he depends on for life. This metaphor becomes influential to the rest of the play in that he views her as the giver of light, above him, and again, out of reach, which essentially relates to the main plot and their forbidden love. Though it is late at night, Juliet’s surpassing beauty makes Romeo imagine that she is the sun, transforming the darkness into daylight. Romeo likewise personifies the moon, calling it “sick and pale with grief” at the fact that Juliet, the sun, is far brighter and more beautiful. Romeo then compares Juliet to the stars, claiming that she eclipses the stars as daylight overpowers a lamp – her eyes alone shine so bright that they will convince the birds to sing at night as if it were day.

    Romeo is below in the dark orchard, not meant to be near Juliet, this represents his corruption of her; his bad influence could easily lose Juliet her family, home, and other essential elements of her life including her shelter, health and friends. Being lower than her, in a darker environment, he shouldn’t have her; he’s a bad influence, a corruption to her, lower than her. In the patriarchal society of the Elizabethan era, disobeying her father would have lead to deadly consequences as well as life-threatening punishments. Originally, during Act 1 Scene 5, Juliet was intended to meet and get to know her future husband, Paris. However, Romeo has led Juliet astray. His approach to Juliet in Act 2 Scene 2 uses lengthy, poetic sentences, whereas Juliet – aware of the risks, is far more practical and fears for both his and her safety. Juliet says, “And the place death, considering who thou art, If any kinsmen find thee here” and evidently cares for Romeo’s safety. ‘Considering who thou art’ shows they’re not meant to be together and the end could be fatal if they continue to see each other. Romeo persists with his ‘flowery’ language – “And what love can do, that dares love attempt: Therefore thy kinsmen are no to stop me” not being realistic, it’s apparent that at the time Juliet had a lot more to lose than Romeo, and understandably would be a lot more cautious of the situation.

    At the age of fourteen Juliet was a young and naive innocent girl. However, during the play she matures emotionally and broadens her ideas and her way of thinking. This vast and rapid change was a consequence of her relationship with Romeo and there are many ideas in the play which illustrate these points but it is through her language that we can see these changes. Prior to meeting him, she is very compliant to elders in her family, and faithful to them. Shakespeare shows this through calling her mother, Lady Capulet, “Madam” in addition to when the Capulet family’s nurse calls Juliet, Juliet comes promptly. Then, she politely asks why she was called. Although as the play progresses, and this scene unfolds, it’s apparent she’s changed emotionally, and her priority is Romeo, finishing conversations with him, before going to see her Nurse, on the Nurse’s interruption.

    Interruptions from the Nurse occur frequently in Act 2 Scene 2, calling Juliet from the balcony, where not to her knowledge, she’s with Romeo discussing their future. Not so coincidentally, her Nurse calls at points where they are having serious conversations about their love, which is easily seen as a warning that they’re not meant to be. The repetition of interruptions during this scene indicates there’s a certain correlation, an effective dramatic device intended by Shakespeare. On performing this, the call from the Nurse would be from within (off-stage) who almost discovers their secret meeting, building up dramatic tension, foreshadowing the tragedy that will eventually engulf these “star-crossed lovers”.

    There is an element of danger in this scene and both parties are aware of the suddenness of their passion. Juliet makes several references to names and unlike Romeo, seems very aware of the precariousness of their situation. Both Juliet and Romeo have misgivings – she that, ‘It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden…’ – he that, ‘all this is but a dream’. Romeo is clearly a love-sick teenage boy, inexperienced in love. Juliet, however, hasn’t thought about the future of them both, merely flirting and ‘leading him on’ at the ball. The use of repetition is very effective, ‘too rash, too unadvised, too sudden’ and conveys her point adequately. Again, she appears practical with her language, but forced to reason and understand Romeo’s poetic sonnets, while it’s crucial she knows the seriousness of their newborn relationship. After only an hour of meeting one another, they’re discussing marriage, which would seem sudden and hasty.

    “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” is considered one of the most important quotes of the play, it displays Juliet’s innermost feeling, translating to “O Romeo, Romeo, who are you Romeo?” where her fear is his name: Montague, and the consequences of it. Still unaware of his presence, Romeo has a chance to hear her thoughts and feelings in confidence. She goes on to say, “Deny thy father and refuse thy name; Or if thou will not, be but sworn my love, And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.” This shows she has changed upon his presence in her life, and simply gives all the more evidence to show she’s no longer obedient to her father, even considering the risk she could be taking.

    Later on in the scene, Juliet speaks in depth about Romeo, and his name. She repeats the word name on five different occasions. “‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy” this shows she thinks of Romeo in individual terms yet the name he possesses is of enemy to her family, and thus her love for him overrides her family’s hatred for the Montague name. Shakespeare’s repetition of the word ‘name’ really illustrates how this is such an important matter to Juliet, living with such controversial matters. Following this, she mentions, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose. By any other word would smell as sweet” referring to Romeo and his name, saying that he would still be as sweet and beautiful if he were called by another name. Likewise, a rose would still be as sweet-smelling and beautiful if it had a different name, however, in referring and comparing Romeo’s name to being a Rose, there’s the fact that there are sharp, needlelike thorns on the rose, conjuring up the image that these are signs of warning about their new-found love.

    Following this, Romeo pronounces “This bud of love, by summer’s ripening breath, may prove a beauteous flower when we next meet.” The opening metaphor conjures up the image that their love is young, innocent, and pure – in need of the chance to let their love ‘bloom’. Relating to a previous paragraph, he needs her “the sun” to be there, without her, their love cannot bloom.

    Juliet’s desperate need for Romeo’s word that he loves her, is evident as she puts a straight forward question to him: “Dost thou love me?” In comparison to the nature of Romeo’s questions, she’s distinctly fearful and in need of his reassurance, noticeably without the somewhat confusing language he may have used earlier. I believe Shakespeare has used this technique of short, to the point questions and clauses, to convey Juliet’s feelings. However, again, Romeo uses lengthy, romantic answers, while he swears by the moon that he loves her. Romeo’s exaggerated, deep language, clouded with poetic imagery in some ways is shown to irritate Juliet (looking for direct, rational answers from Romeo) as he swears by the moon which provokes the reply “O, swear not by the moon, th’inconstant moon, that monthly changes in her circle orb, lest that thy love prove likewise variable.” Juliet is concerned that by swearing on the variable, undependable moon, their love will be destined to follow the same path, with Romeo becoming unreliable. She clearly wants and needs a stable relationship if she’s going to take such an enormous, life-changing risk. He hasn’t proved too reliable yet as he forgot Rosaline so quickly.

    An effective technique Shakespeare has used is how Juliet interrupts Romeo before it is possible to begin his speech fully, “If my heart’s dear love -” indicating her frustration and intolerance with his extravagant language, solely wanting a simple answer. Further in the scene, Juliet is forced to interrupt Romeo in the midst of his replies to her realistic, practical questioning.

    The dramatic devices, along with stage directions, would be vital in order to engage the audience’s attention.

    Some of the language used has other forms of innuendo or ‘hidden meanings’ including: “What’s a Montague? It is nor hand nor foot, nor arm nor face, nor any other part belonging to a man.” This would help to catch the attention of the audience during the Shakespearean era.

    On parting, prior to the end of the scene, both Romeo and Juliet retire slowly, and reluctantly as Juliet is called by her Nurse. It is therefore obvious they are both love-struck and do not wish to part. Also, beforehand, they had say goodnight more than once “Good night, good night!”, “O bless�d, bless�d night!” Romeo is most reluctant to leave Juliet, and her presence.

    In conclusion, there’s a great contrast in the language of both Romeo and Juliet, as a consequence of their own fears in such a hasty new relationship. In general, both characters change when they meet again in Act 2 Scene 2; Romeo’s language becoming much more poetic and positive, and Juliet’s being more realistic than before whilst at the ball. The forms of dramatic devices used vary for effect, but heavily influence the mood in the play, and the characters feelings. Imagery used such as similes, metaphors and personification contribute to the effect of this scene in particular.

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