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Balcony Scene in Romeo and Juliet: Summary & Analysis

Balcony Scene in Romeo and Juliet: Summary & Analysis
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  • 0:02 Summary
  • 1:26 The Balcony
  • 6:54 Analysis
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Debbie Notari
The balcony scene in 'Romeo and Juliet' stands alone as one of literature's most poetic, romantic exchanges between two lovers, and Shakespeare reveals their love through the use iambic pentameter and metaphor.

Summary of the Balcony Scene

The balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet is one of the most famous scenes in all of Shakespeare's plays. It follows the meeting of Romeo, a Montague, and Juliet, a Capulet, at a masquerade party in Juliet's home. Romeo and his friends sneak into the party, uninvited, and when Romeo sees Juliet, he is instantly smitten. After the party, Romeo ditches his friends, jumps over the Capulets' garden wall, and searches for Juliet.

Romeo hides in the garden and soon observes Juliet walking onto the balcony outside her room. Romeo says, 'But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.' When Romeo sees Juliet, he feels hope; it is as if the sun is rising. This is important to note, as Romeo has just spent several weeks pining over an unrequited love, Rosaline. When he sees Juliet at the party, Rosaline is instantly forgotten.

The Balcony

Juliet leans against the edge of the balcony, placing her chin in her hand, and Romeo whispers, 'O, that I were a glove upon that hand {t}hat I might touch that cheek!' Romeo then compares Juliet to an angel, someone immortal and not of this world.

It is at this time that Juliet speaks some of Shakespeare's most famous lines: 'O Romeo, Romeo! {W}herefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name; {o}r, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, {a}nd I'll no longer be a Capulet.'

What she speaks is truly significant because, although she doesn't realize Romeo is listening, Juliet wrestles with this possibility of loving the son of her families' sworn enemy. She admits that she is willing to marry him regardless of their unfortunate situation. She rationalizes her feelings for Romeo as she goes on to say that the name 'Montague' is simply a name, just as a rose would still smell as 'sweet' if it were called something else. At the end of this monologue, she states, 'Take all myself,' and of course, Romeo is delighted with what he hears.

Romeo must have startled Juliet as he jumped out of his hiding place, revealing that he has been eavesdropping on her private, spoken thoughts. He swears to take her at her word and be called something other than 'Romeo' if that's what it takes to win her heart.

When Juliet realizes it is Romeo, she reminds him that he could be put to death if he is discovered because he is a Montague. Romeo tells her that he would risk anything to see her, and Juliet wonders how he found her room. It is humorous that Romeo replies, 'By love, who first did prompt me to inquire; {h}e lent me counsel and I lent him eyes.' Romeo explains that he found her room because love showed him the way.

Balcony_Scene

Juliet admits she is blushing but challenges whether or not Romeo's love is genuine. After all, they only just met at the party that very night. She also doesn't want Romeo to think she is too quickly won, or easy, lest he may later devalue her or think of her as cheap. Juliet didn't intend for Romeo to overhear how she felt about him and is now a little embarrassed.

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