Probably the most famous of Shakespeare quotes, Juliet’s balcony speech has captured the hearts of generations of love sick and foolish romantic.
Romeo and Juliet Act 2 Scene 2 (33 – 36)
O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I'll no longer be a Capulet.Wistfully wondering beneath the heavens or desperately questioning the wisdom of the stars above, Juliet is beset with the unfairness of Romeo’s lineage.
‘Wherefore art thou Romeo?’ she demands to know why the face and body of her love belong to the name Romeo.‘Deny thy father’, Juliet could almost be speaking to herself.
Her proclaimed love for Romeo is an act of defiance against her own father. By loving a Montague, she is already refusing her name. This self-awareness then takes full form, ‘Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.’ Romeo does not need to deny his father, to refuse his name, he need only swear himself Juliet’s love, swear himself belonging to her, and she, in that moment, will cease to be a Capulet.A fearful intoxication is ever-present.
For Juliet to refuse her name is not a decision, it is a reaction. She is fearfully aware that Romeo need only proclaim his love, and so deep is her love, the Capulet in her will no longer exist. These star crossed lovers are compelled by the heavens into each other’s arms. Blindly, love drunk, they run to each other. As naïve angels, they rush in; their predestined tragic end, a plague on both their houses.Fancy some more of the bard? Check out my other Shakespeare products!How about some products for people who love language?Share some colour with the world!
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