Romeo and Juliet Act 2 Scenes 3 - 6 Summary

     Scene three takes place in Friar Laurence's room in the church. It begins with Friar Laurence describing the plants and herbs that he grows and the different powers that they hold. This soliloquy foreshadows the potion he will later give to Juliet. Romeo enters, and Friar Laurence can tell by the costume that Romeo still wears that he has been up all night, so he asks what Romeo has been doing. Romeo tells him that he was at a Capulet party, so Friar asks if Romeo has been with Rosaline. This question shows that Romeo and Friar Laurence have a close relationship and have spoken before about his love life. Romeo quickly tells him that he has moved on from Rosaline and has fallen completely in love with Juliet and wants to marry her. Friar Laurence scolds him for changing his mind so fleetingly and for acting so rashly. The Friar thinks Romeo does not understand what love is to flit from one girl to the next so quickly. Romeo explains that this relationship is different because Juliet returns his love where Rosaline did not. Friar Laurence thinks about it and agrees to marry Romeo and Juliet, not because he believes they are so much in love but because he thinks it may stop the fighting between the two families. He is looking at the greater good for the community, trying to end the feud. Romeo is overjoyed and runs off with the good news.

     Scene four opens with Benvolio and Mercutio hanging out and wondering whatever happened to Romeo. Benvolio tells Mercutio that Tybalt sent a letter to Romeo challenging him to a duel. Mercutio is excited by this proposition and wants to answer the letter, but Benvolio tells him it is Romeo's letter, and he must answer it, knowing that Romeo does not condone fighting. The two friends then badmouth Tybalt until Romeo shows up. Romeo begs their pardon for leaving them at the party but swears he had important business to attend to. They want to know what he was doing, but Romeo remains closemouthed, not saying anything about Juliet. They continue goofing around until the Nurse approaches. Romeo knows that the Nurse is there to find out about the wedding, but he wants to avoid discussing it in front of his friends. Mercutio jumps in and begins insulting the Nurse, calling her old and ugly. Finally, Romeo tells his friends to go on ahead, and he will catch up with them. When they walk away, the Nurse asks Peter, her escort, why he didn't defend her honor, and he claims he didn't see any reason to do so. Romeo apologizes and tells the Nurse to deliver his love to Juliet. The Nurse then threatens him by saying that he better not hurt Juliet because Juliet is a sweet young lady and does not deserve it. Romeo assures the Nurse that he truly loves Juliet and is very anxious to marry her. He tells the Nurse to deliver the message to Juliet that she is to tell her parents that she needs to go to confession this afternoon, and instead Friar Laurence has agreed to marry them. Then Romeo tries to pay the Nurse for delivering the message. He also tells her that he will be sending a servant who will meet the nurse by the wall surrounding the Capulet property to deliver a ladder so that Romeo can climb up Juliet's balcony that night for their honeymoon. Pleased with the news, the Nurse leaves with Peter.

     In scene five Juliet is impatiently waiting for the Nurse to return with news of her marriage. Her soliloquy bemoans the fact that she sent the Nurse at nine and the clock just chimed noon, so three hours have passed without the Nurse returning. She wishes she had sent someone younger and quicker. When the Nurse does finally return, she complains about how tired she is and how she aches. Juliet tries to be sympathetic because she knows the Nurse did her a huge favor by relaying the secret message, but she desperately wants to find out if she is going to be getting married. The Nurse then asks the whereabouts of Juliet's mother, which Juliet complains means the Nurse obviously has the strength to talk about, so why can't she just share the news. The Nurse is purposely making Juliet wait before she tells her because she knows how excited she is going to be. Eventually as Juliet becomes more frustrated, the Nurse gives in and asks Juliet if she has permission to go to confession that afternoon. When Juliet confirms that she does, the Nurse tells her that her husband will be waiting for her at Friar Laurence's cell. Juliet is overjoyed.

     Scene six jumps back to Friar Laurence and Romeo at the church waiting for Juliet to arrive. Friar Laurence offers Romeo a little advice about love. Juliet enters, and Romeo greets her excited for the impending nuptials. The three then head out to perform the ceremony. This scene concludes act 2. The wedding is never actually seen in the play. Act 3 begins with it having already taken place without the audience ever seeing it. This omission says something about Shakespeare's view of young love and how the wedding is not what is important in this very archetypical romantic love story.

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