The scene opens with Romeo’s glorifying monologue to Juliet’s beauty. Romeo’s many comparisons of Juliet to the sun, stars and heavens, suggest that he is looking upwards, and that Juliet appears at an upstairs window. The images of bright light that he uses to describe her: ” But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east and Juliet is the sun! ” or ” Two of The fairest stars in all the heaven, having some business, do entreat her eyes to twinkle in their spheres till they return.
“, show Romeo’s unqualified love for Juliet. The images of bright light are represented differently in the many versions in which the film has been shot. Meanwhile in the older versions of the shakespearean tragedy the only really bright light is represented by the moon, that alone shines omnipotent over the scene, giving it a unique touch, in the newer versions this characteristic is represented in a more modern and extravagant way.
The small lights attached to the orchard, that Romeo climbs to reach Juliet’s balcony, and the underwater lightning when the two lovers fall into the swimming pool manage to give a similiar effect of romance to the one that characterised the scene in the past versions. The underwater camera view creates a surrealistic and exremely romantic effect. The wetness is another determining factor in the scene. After falling into the pool the two caracters are obviously soaked.
Wetness has always symbolized sexuality and wildness, this image is probably connected to the fact, that when hair is wet it loses its original shape and becomes uncontrollable, also the feature that Juliet is wearing a see through dress increases the sense of sexual tension. Romeo as well as comparing her to images of light, describes her as a source of light itself. When she first speaks, he uses religious images of adoration, comparing her to an angel, a ” winged messenger of heaven”, upon whom mortals fall back to gaze in wonder.
Romeo had previously described Juilet with religious imagery; when they met at the ball, he describes her as a ” holy shrine”. This, once more, indicates the deepness of Romeo’s love for Juliet, a love that is gradually turning into idolatry. Romeo is so caught up in his feelings that he doesn’t care anymore for his security. The religious imagery is primarily represented by the clothes Juliet is wearing: the white dress and the silk wings give us a picture of Juliet being no longer a human being but more of a godess descended on earth.
Also her standing on a balcony, a level above Romeo, reinforces this image. There is a big contrast between the two characters: Romeo dressed up as a knight and having risked his life to come and see Juliet, just as a knight would risk his life for his king, and Juliet being so innocent and angelic, delighted by Romeo’s visit. Juliet’s admission of love prompts Romeo to reveal himself, and to declare the hate for his name: ” Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptised: Henceforth I never will be Romeo.
” Romeo is prepared to forget his past as a Montague, and betray his family’ s name and therefore his family too. In those times when the family honour was a very important part of one’s personality, a statement such as this one could only signify true dedication and worship towards his love for Juliet. As she discovers him hiding in the orchard, her first excalamtion is one of fear for his safety;: ” How cam’st thou hither, tell me, and wherefore? The orchard walls are high and hard to climb, and the place death, considering who thou art, If any of my kinsmen find thee here. ” But Romeo dismisses the danger.
Neither stone walls nor Capulet kinsmen can prevent his love: ” With love’s light wings did I o’erperch these walls, for stony limits cannot hold love out, And what love can do, that dares love attempt: Therefore thy kinsmen are no stop to me. ” Juliet’s love and the cover of the night protect him. In an image which will recur dramatically in his final speech in the play, Romeo compares himself to a sea-voyager driven to seek Juliet’s love, even if it were at the very ends of earth: ” I am no pilot, yet wert thou as far as that vast shore washed with the farthest sea, I should adventure for such merchandise. ”
We can clearly see the difference in language use, between the two characters; on one hand there is Romeo’s insatiable romance which always seems to have the answer to Juliet enquiries, on the the other hand there is Juilet’s simple and direct speech. Juliet, unlike Romeo, is incapable of fully enjoying these brief moments with her lover, continuously worrying about being caught in the wrong. Romeo in this scene demonstrates that he possesses an immense courage, supported from his blind love for Juliet, he doesnt seem to care about the kinsmen that are patroling the building, and he’s living these moments to the full.
Once more we see how Romeo idolizes Juliet. He possesses the courage that only one who is protected by his god would have. In the video the contrast between the two characters’ attitude and language, is represented rather more by their actions than by their speech. Meanwhile, Juliet is terrorized by the idea of him been caught, Romeo doesnt care about his security. In fact when he and Juliet fall into the swimmimg pool, he jumps up shouting his love for her, at which point a guard gets suspicious and comes to check, and Romeo is close to getting discovered.
Even though this moment in which Romeo is close to being caught, he is still unworried towards the situation, and completely focused on Juliet. Her questions and enquiries are suffocated by Romeo’s kisses and romantic attitude. Romeo’s mind is like flying towards other planets and dimensions, and does not understand Juliet’s reluctance and timidity towards his attitude. When Juliet manages to separate herself from Romeo, he explicitly claims not to be satisfied enough: ” O wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied? “, referring in a double sense to Juliet’s lack of sensuality.
Juliet admits embarassement at being overheard telling of her love. She rejects formal ways of speaking and behaving : ” farewell compliment”, and asks Romeo directly if he loves her. She pleads for him to answer truthfully: ” pronounce faithfully”, admitting she declared her own love for him unaware of his presence. She begs him not to swear by the moon, which is changeable and inconstant, but only by himself. This is a metaphor comparing Romeo’s love changes to the changes of the moon; before Romeo fell in love Juliet, he was already in love with another woman, Rosaline, which was immediately.
forgetten at the first sight of Juliet. She is afraid that Romeo would forget her just asquickly as he fell in love with her. Suddenly fearful, she sees their instant falling in love as” too rash, too unadvised”. It may prove as brief as a lightining flash, over as quickly as it began. In reply to Romeo’s anxious questions why she wishes to withdraw her vow of love and offer it again, Juliet uses simple but profoundly eloquent language to express the never-ending quality of her love for him: ” My bounty is as a boundless sea, My love as deep; the more I give to thee The more I have, for both are infinite . ”
Juliet is the one to make the practical arrangements for the marriage, since Romeo is still dreaming about the time spent together. Before the two lovers separate themselves, Juliet uses a peculiar and very contradictory type of imagery to describe her feelings for Romeo, comparing herself to a playful girl and Romeo to her bird, which she lets free for a bit but then takes back because she cant live without him: ” I would have thee gone; And yet no farther than a wanton’s bird, that lets it hop a little from her hand, like a poor prisoner in his twisted gyves, and with a silk thread plucks it back again, so loving jealous of his liberty.
” This reflects the relationship between the two lovers; Juliet does not have the freedom that the bird, Romeo, has and has to let him go, but only for a bit, until they can meet again. And she is jealous of the freedom that a bird has, in fact Romeo wishes she was a bird so that she could have the freedom, and the possibility to live to the full her love with Romeo: ” I would I were thy bird”. Juliet has played the dominant role in this scene ( she speaks twice as many lines as Romeo), it is her farewell that often remains in the audience’s mind as the memorable expression of lovers’s leave taking.
She leaves with an oxymoron that encapsulates the conflicts of the play and its joys and heartaches: ” Parting is such a sweet sorrow”. Juliet on her first appearence appears submissive, modest, almost tongue-tied. She has little to say, and seems to respect her mother’s authority. But this 13 year-old girl, superficially conventional and demure, rapidly matures in her meetings with Romeo. She allowes him to kiss her only moments after their first meeting, and in this scene she seems to take the lead, speaking twice as many times as Romeo.
She’s the one who proposes the marriage, and does so the very next day. Critics tende to idealise Juliet and her love for Romeo. They describe her as charmingly innocent, but frank and courageous. Romeo appears first as a stock figure of romance: the moody young lover who is rejected by an unattainable woman. He is seen as the abject slave of a sadistic godess, he seems more in love with love than with an actual person. This scene is very important for the understanding of the whole play, as in it there are contained images and metaphors that encapsulate essential meanings of the play.
Already from the beginning of the tragedy, expressions such as: ” star-crossed lovers”, referring to the realtionship between Romeo and Juliet, give an idea on the course of the play. In the video version, directed by Baz Lurhman, an important metaphor is represented: when the two lovers fall into the swimming pool, their state of being is a comparison to their relationship: gradually their love is gettin uncontrolled and soon it will become impossible to manage, just like a person is not able to completely manage their movements in a swimming pool, where they don’t touch.
How the scene was adapted in the modern version, is probably more significative for us, as the type of atmosphere approaches more our ideal of love and romance, also it highlights meanings and images that would be difficult to interpretate in the older versions of the play.