Study Guide

Romeo and Juliet Act 2, Scene 2

By William Shakespeare

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Act 2, Scene 2

  • Romeo is wandering aimlessly around the Capulet backyard when guess-who appears on the balcony. "What light through yonder window breaks?" he asks.
  • He then answers his own question. "It is the East, and Juliet is the sun!"
  • Just when you think Romeo is cray-cray, Juliet is talking to herself, too. "O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?" she asks.
  • You might wonder, "why is she asking where Romeo is?" Well, as it turns out, "Wherefore" doesn't mean "where." It means "why." Juliet is saying, "Why does the guy I love have to be a Montague?"
  • Juliet goes on talking to herself about how amazing Romeo is.
  • Romeo is smart enough to keep his mouth shut and listen. Finally, he can't resist anymore, and he calls out to her.
  • Juliet is super embarrassed until she realizes that it's Romeo hiding in the bushes. This is bad news, because if her family finds Romeo, they'll kill him.
  • Luckily, she gets over her shock fast enough to enjoy the most romantic love scene in the history of Western literature.
  • There's lots of poetry, vows of love that sound a lot like religious worship, baffling language, and teenage melodrama.
  • Then Juliet basically proposes to Romeo when she says "If that thy bent of love be honourable, / Thy purpose marriage, send me word tomorrow." Translation: "If you love me and want to marry me, let me know ASAP."
  • Romeo is game. They end up setting up a way to send messages the next day so they can plan the wedding. It does not involve overage on their parents' texting plan.
  • Eventually, Romeo and Juliet run out of things to talk about and start babbling just so they don't have to leave each other—kind of a "You hang up," "No, you hang up," deal.
  • But, in Shakespearian terms, "You hang up" is actually "Parting is such sweet sorrow / That I shall say goodnight till it be morrow."
  • If this went down 400 years later, these kids would be running off to Vegas together but, this being a Shakespeare play, Juliet finally drags herself away to bed and Romeo hightails it off to Friar Laurence, his favorite priest, to figure out the wedding plans.

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