Romeo and Juliet Act 2 Scenes 1 - 2 Summary

     The second act begins the same way that the first act did with a prologue. Once again this sonnet acts as a narrator to the play, summing up what happened previously and revealing more problems that the two lovers are likely to encounter.

     Scene 1 picks up right where act 1 ended with Romeo leaving the Capulet party. He runs off from his friend Mercutio and his cousin Benvolio who call after him inquiring why he would want to hide in the dark forest. They assume he is still upset that Rosaline does not love him because he has had no time to tell them of his new infatuation with Juliet. Eventually, they give up and decide to leave him behind as they are tired and want to go home. This exit is exactly what Romeo wants as he has plans to return to the Capulet house in the hopes of seeing Juliet again.

     In scene 2 Romeo is walking back toward the house when he spots Juliet up in a window. He marvels at her beauty and how she lights up the night sky. His soliloquy goes on to describe how he sees her walk out onto the balcony and lean on her hand. He wishes that he were a glove on that hand so that he could be touching her cheek. Then when she sighs aloud, he is excited to hear what she has to say. Juliet begins talking aloud about Romeo, which excites him even more to hear her speak his name. She says the famous line, "O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?" This line is not asking where he is but why his name is Romeo. She wishes he belonged to any family other than the Montagues, so that they would not have to worry about the feud between their families. Romeo continues to creep closer to her as he eavesdrops on her musings. He wonders if he should speak up but decides to continue to listen unobserved. Juliet ponders "What's in a name?" She states that even if people called a rose by another name, it would not change the rose at all. It will still be as beautiful and fragrant as ever. Names don't change the object; therefore, it doesn't matter what Romeo's last name is. His name doesn't change the person that he is, the person with whom she has fallen in love.

     At this point Romeo reveals himself, shocking Juliet. She tells him how dangerous it is for him to be on the Capulet property at night, especially as the son of Lord Montague. He tells her it is worth the risk. She asks him if he loves her, and Romeo swears his devotion by the moon. She tells him not to swear by the moon, which is always changing, coming and going, appearing in different forms, so he asks her what he should swear by. She tells him that he can swear on his life because he is like a god to her. Then she tries to tell him good night, but he says he is yet unsatisfied. She wants to know what he desires, and he suggests marriage. The Nurse is heard calling to Juliet from within the house, so Juliet knows her time is short. She tells Romeo that if he is serious about marrying her, he needs to get word to her tomorrow where and what time they can be married, and she will meet him there. She asks what time tomorrow she should send a messenger, and he replies at nine in the morning. Finally, she sends him on his way saying, "parting is such sweet sorrow," meaning it is so hard to say good bye. As he leaves, Romeo then mutters to himself about how he will head to church to find someone to marry them.

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