Romeo and Juliet: Act 2 Scene 2

Topics: Plays

Today we are going to be rehearsing Act 2 Scene 2, which is most commonly called the Balcony Scene. This scene is vital to the play, because with out the scene there might not have even been a story to write about. In many people’s opinions including mine this is the centre point of the play. This is because if Romeo hadn’t jumped over the wall and consequently landed in Juliet’s garden. Romeo and Juliet probably wouldn’t have seen each other again for a long while; and in the mean time their feelings would have died down from the heat of the moment.

Also Romeo wasn’t meant to hear what Juliet was saying about him.

It was all thoughts on the top of Juliet’s head that were spur of the moment. They were also probably slightly embellished from what they actually were. The young love and the excitement of the party probably exaggerate their feelings. Juliet would never have said what she did if she knew Romeo was there.

Hearing this would have thrilled Romeo especially after he had a crush on Rosaline for so long with it unreturned. To hear his feelings returned would only have heightened them. This is Juliet’s first kiss, so naturally she would be feeling excited and worked up.

I think this would have died down, if fate hadn’t played its part and in effect sped up their love. Now I want both of you acting Romeo and Juliet to understand how your characters would be feeling in this scene.

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Romeo- you have just escaped from your friends who are jesting “at scars that have never felt a wound”. To stop having to hear them teasing you, you have jumped over this wall, and you suddenly see your love – Juliet. Romeo when you say “what light through yonder window breaks? ” it can be interpreted in two ways. One, that you quite literally; see a candle light in the window.

Or, which is how I would prefer you to act it, is that you see Juliet, and she is the light. Shakespeare used a lot of light imagery. Such as ‘a diamond in an Ethiopians ear. ‘ I would like you to act it this way, not only because it gives more feeling to the audience, but also because Romeo has used light imagery through out the play. In this speech Romeo you carry on using light imagery, for example when you say “Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,” Your saying how Juliet is your sun and you want to see her but also that she is so perfect, she makes the moon jealous.

Now Juliet you will be feeling all wrapped up in you emotions right now. Imagine you’re about 13 and you have just had your first kiss, you’re excited and in love at first sight with someone you barely know. Romeo when Juliet appears in the window, you have to show deep emotion. The audience needs to be able to see just how big your feelings are, to shows its actual love not just an infatuation like with Rosaline. Your first line “it is my lady, O it is my love:” needs to be said with love and compassion.

It is so vital in this scene that you make sure that it is portrayed to the audience that your love for Juliet is so much more, than for Rosaline and that Rosaline was just a courtly lover. If it is not shown in this scene, one of the main love scene’s then the whole play is not nearly as tragic. The play is all about the power of love. So if the audience don’t understand the extent of Romeo and Juliet’s love; then the play is not nearly as strong. Shakespeare tried to show the difference in Romeo’s love for Rosaline and Juliet in the language.

When Romeo was in love with Rosaline, his flamboyant language was all about himself and his feelings; not about Rosaline. Compared to when he loves Juliet, his language becomes more simple and all about Juliet. For example after you see Juliet in this speech you say “Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven, Having some business, do entreat her eyes, To twinkle in their spheres till they return. ” This means that when the two brightest stars in the sky, have to go, they would ask Juliet’s eyes to replace them.

This is also more light imagery that Shakespeare uses to define the relationship of the lovers. The whole scene is suffused with the glow and light of their love. At this point Juliet when you say “Ay me! ” although it’s a very short line, it is not at all insignificant. This needs to be said in a heart felt sigh, showing to the audience how all you can think about is Romeo. Juliet, as you can see this is when you say the most famous line in the play, and possibly even literature. “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? ” But there is a common misconception about this line.

What it actually means is ‘O Romeo why are you a Montague’ Juliet is expressing her pains that Romeo is a Montague, her families arch-enemies. Or if he will not “deny thy father and refuse thy name” but swear is love then she will “no longer be a Capulet” This speech shows the sincerity of her love for Romeo, that she would disown her family. This needs to be said with feeling for the audience to understand the deepness of her love. This is a crucial speech in the play. At hearing this Romeo you need to be elated by the fact that she is returning the deepness of your love.

Now you are in two minds, on wether to “hear more” or to “speak at this” so Juliet knows that you are there. This needs to be said slowly to show your conundrum to the audience. In the next speech Juliet, you are deliberating about the importance of names. “What’s Montague? It is nor hand nor foot,” it isn’t anything but a name, its nothing. Juliet you go on contemplating the concept of why names mean nothing. Juliet is saying just because he is a Montague it doesn’t’ make him a bad person. She compares this to a rose. “That which we call a rose

By any other word would smell as sweet;” So Romeo is just as sweet as he would be if he wasn’t a Montague. Juliet goes on to say that if Romeo casts aside his name then for doing that he can take all of Juliet. Now Romeo, you would be so euphoric at hearing this you would jump out of your hiding place and stand below Juliet’s balcony shouting up to her, to swiftly say but with deep passion how you will take Juliet’s word and “never will be Romeo. ” From here Romeo you will go on to say how your name is hateful to you because it’s an “enemy to thee

Then Juliet you show the first sign of the connection between you and Romeo, that its true love not just a quick romance. It’s the first time that you have shown a sign of being in love with Romeo. Romeo has already shown his love for Juliet, with out saying it by his change in language. So Juliet what it actually means when you say “My ears have yet not drunk a hundred words” is showing how she hasn’t understood what Romeo has been saying, however it is significant when you say “yet I know the sound. ” Because it shows how you still know it’s him even though you have spent such little time with him prior to this meeting.

Then Juliet (when you later go on talking) you show how practical you are, so when you say the passage concerned about how Romeo got on to the wall, and if any of her “kinsmen find” him there; he will be killed. It needs to be said with great concern, to show to the audience the contrast, between Juliet and her practical concerns and Romeo’s unreasonable attitude. As he replies that he got on to the wall “With love’s light wings,” and that nothing can “hold love out. ” All this Romeo needs to be said with a care free, foolish way, to underline to the audience the difference in attitudes at this point.

Romeo you take an irrational, unrealistic response to Juliet’s worries of his death. Then as you carry on this irrational charade, you say a very ironic speech which to the audience knowing how the story ends, from the prologue is very sad. Romeo you need to make sure that when you say this it is said to draw the attention of the audience and in such a haphazard, light-hearted way, to make the audience feel sad, due to the hindsight they will have. The passage says how you, Romeo would prefer to die with Juliets love then “death prorogued, wanting of they love” This indeed is finally how the play ends.

In this next passage you Juliet, are saying some things that are embarrassing, so you need to act this with a bashful air, by looking down and doing occasional glances at Romeo, with a slight hush and pauses as you speak. Here you say how embarrassed you are, and that you are glad “the mask of night” is on your face, because otherwise Romeo would see you blushing. You wish that Romeo hadn’t heard what you had said, so she could play harder to get, then laying all her cards down straight away.

Then suddenly you need to look Romeo, straight in the eye to show your sincerity to the audience, and say directly “Dost thou love me? ” leave a slight pause and say in a more rushed tone that you know he will say ‘Ay’ and it’s a silly question because you “will take thy word” and believe him. Juliet you ask Romeo, which must be said truly heart felt, that Romeo must either “pronounce it faithfully,” his love for her or; if he thinks that you are “too quickly won,” If he said this you will frown but “be preserve” and pretend to refuse you, Romeo.

Then Juliet you say how in truth, you are “too fond” of Romeo. But you tell Romeo to trust you. At this point you reach over the balcony and hold Romeo’s hand, look straight at him, to show the audience the sincerity. You tell Romeo that you will “prove more true” than those who were ‘harder to get. ‘ You admit that you should have “played more strange,” but Romeo over heard you so you had not chance to do so. After this to prove your sincerity of love to Juliet; you Romeo swear by the moon, but Juliet tells you not to swear by the moon because it is inconsistent, meaning that his love was inconsistent.

While you have been saying this you have climbed up and leaning over the balcony to Juliet. To also physically show to the audience, your efforts to prove to Juliet you love for her is true. So Romeo, after Juliet tells you not to swear at all; but if he must “swear by the gracious self,” you say readily and eagerly to her about your love until she cuts you off. When she does this you must look slightly disappointed but wrapped up in her all the same. Juliet this is where you show more of your practical personality in the audience, and of your maturity that has clearly developed since the beginning of the play.

You are in sudden fear that this is all happening so fast. So that it will end so fast. This is all so sadly ironic, which the audience needs to pick up on, because they will as before, know from the prologue the fate of the young couple’s lives and love. Here the speeches are needed to be said with more urgency, because they are running out of time together. But because of this they are more genuine and truthful, as there is no time for poetic imagery, of light, flowers and so forth. Here Romeo you say to Juliet “O wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied.

” Which at first both the audience and Juliet take to be a very forward comment, jumping to the conclusion that he wants to make love. Which is why Juliet asks slightly shocked and a bit worried, “What satisfaction canst thou have tonight? ” Romeo here you must act completely unaware of what Juliet thought he meant, so that the audience understands that this is not what he meant. That what he wanted was “loves faithful vow” for his. Which Juliet you reply to with complete truth that she gave her vow of love “before thou didst request it. ” And she wishes she could give it again.

But clearly she can’t because there is not enough time. But this does give the valid point of the sincerity of what Juliet’s love is, because she did say it before Romeo declared his. So when Romeo asks you to declaire it again you use imagery of water. “My bounty is as boundless as the sea. ” Your love for Romeo gets deeper the more she gives to him. Her love is everlasting and endless; it’s “infinite. ” Here Romeo and Juliet I want you to be holding on to both of each others hands. Romeo you must me completely stretched over the top of the balcony to Juliet.

To emphasise how much you want to be with her, not just in the literal sense. Then as the nurse calls for Juliet within and Juliet desperately says how she will come back out, you pull apart, so unwillingly. As Juliet has left the balcony, Romeo you climb over the top and sit on the edge. Leave a slight pause once you have got into position and just look in to the night, to show the audience how you are in deep thought. Then sigh as you talk to the night. You say how afraid that because it is night you are worried it is all just a dream. After all that is what Juliet is to you, she is the girl of your dreams.

(Juliet Speech to finish off – need help! ) Here we will call it a day, but we will carry on from here tomorrow. As you go I want to leave you with one last thought to think about. I want each of you to think about just how much both of you have changed in the little time you have known each other. Romeo you have gone from being self wallowing and wrapped up of the idea in love, that all he was chasing was a dream, the infatuation with Rosaline was nothing. This Shakespeare tried to emphasise in different ways. But mainly in the flamboyant language and imagery to someone who understand.

Then after you met Juliet you changed and realised that it wasn’t all about you. As well as how wonderful Juliet was, and how you wanted to be with her not just superficially, because of her looks. Now Juliet you have changed greatly as well. Before you met Romeo you were nai?? ve, and juvenile. Where as now, you are proving to be the practical, and mature one. Worrying about safety and pushing your relationship forward. If it wasn’t for you Romeo would probably still be at your balcony trying to prove how much he loved you at the end of the play!

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Romeo and Juliet: Act 2 Scene 2. (2017, Aug 30). Retrieved from

Romeo and Juliet: Act 2 Scene 2
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