Romeo and Juliet
Light in Darkness
Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
Like a candle in the darkness, the imagery of light in dark comes up a lot in Romeo and Juliet. "O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright," Romeo says when he first sees Juliet. "It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night / Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear" (1.5.45-46).
Variations on this imagery are repeated again and again—images of Juliet as a sun rising in the darkness, of Juliet's eyes shining in the sky, images of Romeo's body cut out in little stars, of Romeo and Juliet's love as a bright furious lightning flash. At times, the image of a flash of light disappearing into the dusk seems to symbolize both the brilliant strength of Romeo and Juliet's love, as well as its transience. The imagery of light and darkness also picks up the play's emphasis on the contrasts between love and hate, passion and death.