| Quote #1
Does this sound a little cliché? It did in the sixteenth century, too. When Romeo talks about his love for Rosaline, he acts and sounds like a typical "Petrarchan lover," one who is "imprisoned" and tormented" by his unrequited love for an unavailable woman. Petrarch, by the way, was a fourteenth-century Italian poet whose sonnets were all the rage in Renaissance England. Much of Petrarch's love poetry was written about "Laura," a figure as unavailable and unattainable as Romeo's.
| Quote #2
Well, in that hit you miss: she'll not be hit
Romeo's whining about Rosaline's celibacy, but that's not the interesting part. The interesting part is the way he goes about describing love and sex with the language of hunting and battle. Rosaline, he says, won't be "hit with Cupid's arrow" because she's "well arm'd" against his romantic advances. (Romeo also compares Rosaline to Diana, goddess of hunting and of chastity.) Romeo's sexual advances ("loving terms") are also likened to a "siege" (an attack). This conceit (elaborate metaphor) is pretty typical of romantic poetry. Compare Romeo's lines to the following love poem from Edmund Spenser's Amoretti, a collection of poems first published in 1595. (Psst. It's NOT about deer hunting.)
Like as a huntsman after weary chase,
Seeing the game from him escap'd away,
Sits down to rest him in some shady place,
With panting hounds beguiled of their prey:
So after long pursuit and vain assay,
When I all weary had the chase forsook,
The gentle deer return'd the self-same way,
Thinking to quench her thirst at the next brook.
There she beholding me with milder look,
Sought not to fly, but fearless still did bide:
Till I in hand her yet half trembling took,
And with her own goodwill her firmly tied.
Strange thing, me seem'd, to see a beast so wild,
So goodly won, with her own will beguil'd. (Amoretti LXVII)
| Quote #3
What say you? can you love the gentleman?
Here, Lady Capulet instructs Juliet to check out Paris when she's at the Capulet's ball later that evening so she can decide whether or not she likes what she sees. What's interesting about this passage is the way Lady Capulet compares Paris's face to the cover of a book of love poetry that Juliet can "read." When she calls Paris an "unbound" lover, she puns on Paris's status as an unbound, or unmarried, man who "lacks a cover," or a wife, to "bind" him and enrich his beauty.
Brain Snack: In the 1996 film Romeo + Juliet, director Baz Luhrmann makes Lady Capulet's metaphor literal by placing a picture of Paris's face on the cover of a popular magazine.