Romeo and Juliet
Next: Romeo and Juliet, List of Characters
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 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.)