directory
home contact

Romeo and Juliet


Next: Romeo and Juliet, List of Characters



_____

Related Resources

 Stage History of Romeo and Juliet
 Romeo and Juliet: Examination Questions and Answers
 Romeo, Rosaline, and Juliet
 The Importance of Romeo and Rosaline

 Romeo and Juliet Plot Summary (Acts 1 and 2)
 Romeo and Juliet Plot Summary (Acts 3, 4 and 5)
 Romeo and Juliet and the Rules of Dramatic Tragedy
 Romeo and Juliet: Teacher's Notes and Classroom Discussion

 What Is Accomplished in Act I?
 The Purpose of Romeo's witticisms in 2.1.
 Friar Laurence's First Soliloquy
 The Dramatic Function of Mercutio's Queen Mab Speech

 Mercutio's Death and its Role in the Play
 Costume Design for a Production of Romeo and Juliet
 Themes and Motifs in Romeo and Juliet
 Shakespeare's Treatment of Love

 Shakespeare on Fate
 Sources for Romeo and Juliet
 The Five Stages of Plot Development in Romeo and Juliet
 Annotated Balcony Scene, Act 2
 Blank Verse and Rhyme in Romeo and Juliet

 How to Pronounce the Names in Romeo and Juliet
 Introduction to Juliet
 Introduction to Romeo
 Introduction to Mercutio
 Introduction to The Nurse

 Introduction to The Montagues and the Capulets
 Famous Quotations from Romeo and Juliet
 All About Queen Mab
 Why Shakespeare is so Important

 Shakespeare's Language
 Shakespeare's Boss: The Master of Revels
 What is Tragic Irony?
 Seneca's Tragedies and the Elizabethan Drama
 Characteristics of Elizabethan Drama


Quote in Context

Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief
That thou her maid art far more fair than she.
Be not her maid, since she is envious;
Her vestal livery is but sick and green,
And none but fools do wear it.
                  Romeo and Juliet (2.2), Romeo

In this passage Romeo uses an intricate conceit to express a simple desire: to take Juliet's virginity. Romeo begins by saying that the envious moon, i.e., Diana, goddess of the moon and patron of virgins, is jealous of her servant's (Juliet's) radiance. He then begs Juliet to be Diana’s maid no longer; for the virginal uniform (vestal livery) she wears as a follower of Diana is sickly green in color, and not to remove it (i.e., to remain a virgin) would be foolish. Note how similar this passage is to Orlando's in As You Like It (2.3.4). Read on...

_______





On the Nature of Romeo's Love

"If Shakespeare had proposed to himself to illustrate and make manifest the various movements and qualities appertaining to and constituting the passion of love, would he have made it the first action of his lover to rise from the feet of one mistress, and, without a moment's pause, throw himself before another; forgetting from that time forth that the first had ever existed, much less held him in thrall? Is this the character of love? No: -- but it is the character of youth, and therefore Shakespeare has made his youthful man exhibit it: for Romeo is not a lover, nor any other individual modification of the human character; he has, in fact, no individual and determinate character at all, but is a general specimen of man -- a pure abstraction of our human nature -- at that particular period of its being which occurs exactly between boyhood and maturity, and which we call, by way of distinction, the period of Youth." (Peter George Patmore. Imitations of Celebrated Authors, 4th ed.)

_______