Romeo and Juliet | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Course Hero, "Romeo and Juliet Study Guide," July 28, 2016, accessed September 25, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Romeo-and-Juliet/.

Act 2, Scene 1

Professor Regina Buccola of Roosevelt University provides in-depth summary and analysis of Act 2, Scene 1 of William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet.

Romeo and Juliet | Act 2, Scene 1 | Summary

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Summary

The chorus begins Act 2's first scene, stating that Romeo's love has shifted from Rosaline to Juliet, who loves him back. The chorus declares the obstacles to their love—their families' strife, Juliet's gender—but concludes that "passion lends them power."

Romeo has remained on the Capulets' property, unwilling to leave Juliet entirely, and Benvolio and Mercutio are looking for him. They call out to Romeo, teasing him about the intensity of the feelings they suppose he still has for Rosaline, but Romeo refuses to show himself, so they leave.

Analysis

As the chorus clarifies, Romeo and Juliet are "alike bewitched by the charm of looks." The chorus suggests that the power of Romeo and Juliet's passion will compel them, like magic, to overcome all the obstacles set before them.

Mercutio reinforces the central idea of love and beauty as a magical power when he attempts to conjure the presence of Romeo. When that fails, he invokes the spirit of Rosaline by talking about her looks. As if such magic were truly possible, Benvolio warns Mercutio that Romeo, if he can hear them, will be angered by its use.

Night is again personified, described as moody by Benvolio, who says Romeo is hiding "to be consorted" with it, implying a friendship or union between Romeo and the dark. He makes an apt companion for the night, Mercutio believes, because Romeo's love is blind.

The concept of magic in the scene is also used as a double entendre (double meaning) for sex. A "magic circle" indicates both a circle for magical practice and female genitalia. When Mercutio says to Benvolio, "I conjure only but to raise up him [Romeo]," he is again speaking with double meaning.

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