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Juliet still doesn't want to believe that the night is over. She does see the light playing in the clouds and mountain mists, but finds another explanation for it. She says, "It is some meteor that the sun exhal'd, / To be to thee this night a torch-bearer, / And light thee on thy way to Mantua" (3.5.13-15). Meteors were thought to be vapors drawn from the earth and made luminous by the heat of the sun. Juliet's fanciful idea is that the sun is taking special care of Romeo by providing him with a meteor to light his way to Mantua. So, by her reasoning, it's still night, and Romeo can stay with her.
Romeo knows she's indulging in wishful thinking, but he's willing to play along with it. He says that if Juliet will have it so, it's ok if he is captured and dies; he'll say that the gray light they see is moonlight, not sunlight, and that it's not the lark whose song echoes in the sky above their heads. He says, "I have more care to stay than will to go: / Come, death, and welcome! Juliet wills it so" (3.5.23-24). Then he acts as if it's all been decided, as if it's still night and they have time to chat: "How is't, my soul? let's talk; it is not day" (3.5.25).
Faced with the possibility that Romeo might actually stay and die, Juliet is alarmed and cries, "It is, it is: hie hence, be gone, away!" (3.5.26). Then she mourns the sorrow that is brought by the beautiful song of the lark. She says, "It is the lark that sings so out of tune, / Straining harsh discords and unpleasing sharps. / Some say the lark makes sweet division; / This doth not so, for she divideth us" (3.5.27-30). To Juliet, everything about the lark's song becomes a metaphor for their separation. The easy harmony of the melody, which is like the harmony between the lovers, is now forced discord; the lark's sharps are not thrilling, but painful; the "sweet division" (variations on the melody) only divides them from each other. She goes on, "Some say the lark and loathed toad change eyes, / O, now I would they had changed voices too! / Since arm from arm that voice doth us affray [frighten](3.5.31-33). It was a popular notion that the beautiful lark had ugly eyes, and that the ugly toad had beautiful eyes, so people said that the lark and toad must have traded eyes. Juliet wishes they had traded voices, too, because the toad's ugly voice would be a more fitting one to frighten them out of each other's arms. Not only that, but the song of the lark is "Hunting thee hence with hunt's-up to the day" (3.5.31-34). "Hunt's-up" is horn-blowing, singing, or other noise-making to awaken hunters to the joys of charging over the countryside on their horses. Also, the first morning after the first night, newlyweds were awakened with a "hunts-up" so their friends could cheer and joke about their night of joy. Juliet is saying that the lark is singing a "hunts-up" to the day, but the day, instead of bringing joy, will hunt (chase) Romeo away. Seeing the sky get ever lighter with each passing minute, Romeo sums up the sad irony of the situation: "More light and light; more dark and dark our woes!" (3.5.36). Then the Nurse enters, with bad news.
The Nurse is in a great hurry. She says to Juliet, "Your lady mother is coming to your chamber: / The day is broke; be wary, look about" (3.5.39-40), then she's gone. "Look about" means "watch out"; the Nurse is acting as though Lady Capulet is right on her heels, and of course it would be disastrous if Romeo were still there. Juliet knows Romeo must leave immediately and says, "Then, window, let day in, and let life out" (3.5.41). Of course she means that Romeo, who is about to go out that window, is her life.
[What window? Romeo and Juliet are "aloft," exactly where Juliet was during the "balcony scene," but as a matter of fact the text never mentions a "balcony," only a "window."]Romeo says goodbye, kisses Juliet, and springs through the window to the ground. As he descends, Juliet cries out, "Art thou gone so? love, lord, ay, husband, friend!" (3.5.43). Thus, in the moment he goes out of the window, it's as though their whole relationship passes before her eyes; on the night they met he became her "love"; when they agreed to marry he became her "lord"; when they were married he became her "husband"; in the night that just passed he became her "friend" (lover). Then she tells him that she must hear from him "every day in the hour, / For in a minute there are many days: / O, by this count I shall be much in years / Ere I again behold my Romeo!" (3.5.44-47). Where Juliet says "every day in the hour" people would usually say "every minute in the hour"; the rest of her speech explains why she said what she did. Every minute away from him will seem like a day and she will be old with longing before she sees him again.
Romeo promises that he will write to her every chance he gets, but Juliet is suddenly filled with foreboding. She asks, "O think'st thou we shall ever meet again?" (3.5.51). Romeo reassuringly answers, "I doubt it not; and all these woes shall serve / For sweet discourses in our time to come" (3.5.52-53). He means that they surely will get together again, and when they do, it will be sweet to talk about how they suffered for one another. But Juliet, looking down at him, says "Methinks I see thee, now thou art below, / As one dead in the bottom of a tomb. / Either my eyesight fails, or thou look'st pale" (3.5.55-57). Again Romeo tries to reassure her; he tells her that she looks pale, too, and explains that "Dry [thirsty] sorrow drinks our blood" (3.5.59). It was thought that sorrow dried up the blood, and Romeo is saying they are both pale from the lack of blood caused by the sorrow of their parting. He hasn't time for another word besides "Adieu, adieu," and he's gone.
Still looking the way Romeo went, Juliet bewails his bad luck: "O Fortune, Fortune! all men call thee fickle: / If thou art fickle, what dost thou with him. / That is renown'd for faith?" (3.5.60-62). "What dost thou with" means "What do you have to do with?" Juliet's idea is that since Romeo is renowned for his faithfulness, faithless Fortune should leave him alone. Then, as Juliet is hoping that fickle Fortune will send her Romeo back, her thoughts are cut short by her mother's call: "Ho, daughter! are you up?" (3.5.64). This startles Juliet. She wonders if her mother hasn't gone to bed or if she's up very early. In any case, Juliet doesn't have any more time to wonder, because her mother enters.
Enter Lady Capulet:
Juliet is weeping at Romeo's departure, but tells her mother that she's not well. Her mother, however, jumps to the conclusion that Juliet is weeping over the death of Tybalt. Thus begins a dialogue in which Lady Capulet speaks of Tybalt but Juliet's replies--unknown to her mother--are about Romeo.
Lady Capulet asks, "Evermore weeping for your cousin's death? / What, wilt thou wash him from his grave with tears?" (3.5.69-70). These are only rhetorical questions; Lady Capulet has an opinion, which she proceeds to deliver. She says that even if Juliet's tears could wash Tybalt out of his grave, she couldn't bring him back to life. Therefore Juliet should stop crying because, although her grief shows her love, too much grief is not wise. Juliet, thinking of the fact that Romeo has just left, replies, "Yet let me weep for such a feeling loss" (3.5.74). "Feeling," like our "touching," means "emotionally affecting" but can also be used to indicate physical contact. Juliet is weeping because she is feeling the loss of feeling Romeo in her arms, but Lady Capulet again tells her that weeping will only make her "feel the loss, but not the friend / Which you weep for" (3.5.75-76). This is true of both Tybalt and Romeo, and Juliet answers that she can't help herself.
Then Lady Capulet, having assumed that Juliet is weeping for Tybalt, makes another mistaken assumption. She says, "Well, girl, thou weep'st not so much for his death, / As that the villain lives which slaughter'd him" (3.5.78-79). Lady Capulet, as we will see in a minute, is more revengeful than sorrowful, and she assumes that her daughter feels the same way. Of course Juliet doesn't and says to herself, "Villain and he be many miles asunder," then says to her mother, "God pardon him! I do, with all my heart; / And yet no man like he doth grieve my heart" (3.5.81-83). To herself, Juliet has said that Romeo is a very long way from being a villain; to her mother, she says "God pardon him," as though God were the only one who could pardon such a villain, but then almost gives herself away before she says that Romeo grieves her heart. We know that Romeo grieves her heart because he's not there with her, but Lady Capulet thinks that it is "because the traitor murderer lives" (3.5.84). Juiet answers, "Ay, madam, from the reach of these my hands: / Would none but I might venge my cousin's death!" (3.5.85-86). Lady Capulet, thinking that Juliet means she would like to tear Romeo apart with her own hands, says, "I'll send to one in Mantua, / Where that same banish'd runagate [renegade] doth live, / Shall give him such an unaccustom'd dram, / That he shall soon keep Tybalt company" (3.5.88-91). A "dram" is a very small amount of liquid (technically, one-eighth ounce); medicine and strong liquor were measured in drams, so Lady Capulet calls the dram she has in mind "unaccustom'd" because it will kill Romeo, rather than making him feel better.
Lady Capulet says she hopes that her idea of poisoning Romeo satisfies Juliet, and Juliet replies, "Indeed, I never shall be satisfied / With Romeo, till I behold him--dead-- / Is my poor heart so for a kinsman vex'd" (3.5.93-95). The idea of Juliet seeing Romeo dead of poison foreshadows what actually happens, but at the moment what she really means is that her heart is so troubled for her closest kinsman (her husband) that she will never be satisfied until he is with her again. She goes on to say that if Lady Capulet could find someone to take poison to Romeo, she "would temper it, / That Romeo should, upon receipt thereof, / Soon sleep in quiet." (3.5.97-99). To "temper" a liquid is to mix it with something else; Lady Capulet is supposed to think that Juliet would make the poison more poisonous, but Juliet means the opposite. Then Juliet says she hates to hear Romeo's name when she "cannot come to him / To wreak [revenge] the love I bore my cousin / Upon his body that slaughter'd him!" (3.5.100-102).
We know Juliet would "wreak the love . . . upon his body" with hugs and kisses, but Lady Capulet is fooled. She promises that if Juliet finds the poison, she'll find someone to take it to Romeo. Then Lady Capulet, still making assumptions about her daughter, says, "But now I'll tell thee joyful tidings, girl" (3.5.104). Her news will be that Juliet's father has arranged for her to be married to Paris, and Lady Capulet is so sure this will make Juliet happy that she teases her a little, as the Nurse earlier teased Juliet when she brought the news from Romeo.
Lady Capulet says, "Well, well, thou hast a careful father, child; / One who, to put thee from thy heaviness, / Hath sorted out a sudden day of joy, / That thou expect'st not nor I look'd not for" (3.5.107-110). Juliet's father is "careful" in the sense that he is full of care and concern for Juliet's welfare and happiness. Because he is "careful," Juliet's father has come up with a way to lift Juliet out of her sadness ("heaviness") and "sorted out" (carefully chosen) a day of joy which is "sudden" because it's both surprising and near at hand. Lady Capulet is quite sure Juliet will like daddy's surprise, but when she delivers the news, she gets a shock.
Juliet asks what the day of joy is. Lady Capulet tells her it's that early on Thursday Paris will make her a joyful bride at St. Peter's Church, but Juliet exclaims, "Now, by Saint Peter's Church and Peter too, / He shall not make me there a joyful bride" (3.5.116-117). She complains that she's going to be married off before the man has even wooed her, and she tells her mother to tell her father that she will not marry. To show just how much she is opposed to the whole idea she declares that when she does marry, "It shall be Romeo, whom you know I hate, / Rather than Paris" (3.5.122-123). Lady Capulet is not about to deliver any such message for her daughter. Besides that, it's too late, because Lady Capulet sees her husband approaching. She tells Juliet, "Here comes your father; tell him so yourself, / And see how he will take it at your hands" (3.5.124-125). We know, from seeing him chew out Tybalt, that Capulet is not someone for a young person to mess with, and Lady Capulet is reminding Juliet of that.
Enter Capulet and Nurse:
When her father appears, Juliet is still weeping. Like his wife, Capulet assumes that Tybalt's death is the cause of Juliet's tears, and he says so in a rather elaborate way: "When the sun sets, the air doth drizzle dew; / But for the sunset of my brother's son / It rains downright. / How now! a conduit, girl? what, still in tears?" (3.5.126-129). A "conduit" is a pipe from which water always flows; by comparing Juliet's tears to rain and her to a conduit, Capulet may be suggesting--as her mother did before--that Juliet is crying too much. However, he seems to be sympathetic in what he says next. Creating an extended metaphor (which seems a little out of character for him), Capulet compares Juliet to a boat, a sea, and a wind. Her eyes are the sea, because they ebb and flow in tears. Her body is the boat, because she's floating in her own tears. Her sighs are the winds, "Who, raging with thy tears, and they with them, / Without a sudden calm, will overset / Thy tempest-tossed body" (3.5.135-137). In short, Juliet will quickly drown in the storm of her own grief, unless there is a "sudden calm," and Capulet believes the calm will come with her marriage to the man he has chosen for her.
Come to think of it--it suddenly occurs to Capulet--Juliet's calm should have already come, with the news of the wedding. Turning to Lady Capulet, he demands, "How now, wife! / Have you deliver'd to her our decree?" (3.5.137-138), but his wife replies bitterly, "Ay, sir; but she will none, she gives you thanks. / I would the fool were married to her grave!" (3.5.139-140). Stunned, Capulet says, "Soft! take me with you, take me with you, wife. / How! will she none? doth she not give us thanks? / Is she not proud?" (3.5.141-143). Where he says "soft" we would say, "wait a minute," or "hold on," and "take me with you" means "please explain because I can't believe my ears." He had expected Juliet to thank him profusely, and he had expected her to be proud to be the wife of Paris.
Capulet thinks his daughter should count her blessings, but instead she tries to explain her feelings: "Not proud, you have; but thankful, that you have: / Proud can I never be of what I hate; / But thankful even for hate, that is meant love" (3.5.146-148). Juliet means that she cannot be proud to be Paris' wife because she hates the very idea, but she is thankful to her father for arranging the wedding because she knows he did it because he loves her. Capulet, however, is not a man who can listen to explanations; first he stutters, then flies into a rage: "How, how, how, how, chopp'd logic! What is this? / "Proud," and "I thank you," and "I thank you not"; / And yet "not proud." Mistress minion, you, / Thank me no thankings, nor, proud me no prouds" (3.5.149-152). "Chopp'd logic" is an argument that is obviously stupid, an argument that would only be used by a child spoiled rotten--a "minion." Capulet orders this minion to "fettle your fine joints 'gainst Thursday next, / To go with Paris to Saint Peter's Church, / Or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither" (3.5.153-155). "Fettle" means "prepare," but it's a word used of a horse. Capulet follows this sarcasm with a threat to drag her to the wedding on a "hurdle," which is a kind of sledge on which prisoners took a very rough ride to the gallows while people jeered at them. Capulet follows this threat with name-calling: "Out, you green-sickness carrion! Out, you baggage! / You tallow-face!" (3.5.156-157). "Out" is an expression of rage, like "Get out of my face" or "Go to hell." "Green-sickness carrion" is a double insult; it means she looks as green as something that's been dead a long time, and it means she is afflicted with the disgusting sickness that comes from being a girl, and not a married woman. A "baggage" is a good-for-nothing, someone who's just a burden, and "tallow" is animal fat used to make cheap candles. Poor Juliet, pale as a candle from weeping, gets no sympathy from her father.
Lady Capulet, though she shares her husband's attitude towards Juliet, thinks he's lost control of himself and asks if he's gone mad. Her intervention gives Juliet a chance to fall to her knees and beg for a chance to say just one word, but her father is not about to listen. He picks up right where he left off, saying, "Hang thee, young baggage! disobedient wretch! / I tell thee what: get thee to church o' Thursday, / Or never after look me in the face" (3.5.160-162). This threat, because it is more realistic, is probably more frightening to Juliet than the earlier threat to drag her to church. A father could bring enormous pressure on his daughter to marry the man he had chosen for her, but she did have to give her consent, so Capulet could have dragged her to church, but he could not have forced her to say "I do." On the other hand, he could easily make her life miserable by shunning her and making her an outcast in his house.
Juliet opens her mouth, but her father shouts her down before she has a chance to say a word: "Speak not, reply not, do not answer me; / My fingers itch" (3.5.163-164). His fingers itch because he'd like to slap her, and he's telling her that she'd better not give him an excuse. Then he says to his wife, "we scarce thought us blest / That God had lent us but this only child; / But now I see this one is one too much, / And that we have a curse in having her" (3.5.164-167). Capulet's terrible denial of his love for his daughter makes the Nurse protest, "God in heaven bless her! / You are to blame, my lord, to rate [berate] her so" (3.5.168-169). Telling the master of the house--especially such a master as Capulet--that he's wrong is a bold thing to do, but the Nurse's courage earns her nothing but insults. Sarcastically, Capulet calls her "Lady Wisdom" and "Good Prudence" and tells her to "smatter [chatter] with your gossips" (3.5.171) A "gossip" is a friend, especially a gossipy old woman. When the Nurse again tries to say something, he tells her to shut up: "Peace, you mumbling fool! / Utter your gravity o'er a gossip's bowl; / For here we need it not" (3.5.173-175).
The Nurse does shut up, but then Lady Capulet says, "You are too hot" (3.5.175), which only makes him hotter. He exclaims, "God's bread! it makes me mad! / Day, night, hour, tide, time, work, play, / Alone, in company, still my care hath been / To have her match'd" (3.5.176-179) "God's bread" is the sacramental bread, but the phrase has the force of "Goddammit!" Capulet is angry because his daughter doesn't appreciate all that he has done for her. He has worked so hard to find a husband for her; he has been at it every day and night, at all hours, at work and play. (We know, from seeing Paris pester Capulet about marrying Juliet, that Capulet is more than exaggerating about how hard he's had to work to find Juliet a husband, but when did self-righteous fury ever care about facts?)
Capulet has found Juliet the perfect husband, a gentleman of a noble family, "Of fair demesnes, youthful, and nobly lien'd" (3.5.180). "Fair demesnes" are large and productive land-holdings, and a person who is "nobly lien'd" is well-connected, a friend or kinsman to many important people. What more could Juliet want? Of course it drives Capulet crazy "to have a wretched puling [whimpering] fool, / A whining mammet [baby doll], in her fortune's tender, / To answer 'I'll not wed; I cannot love, / I am too young; I pray you, pardon me'" (3.5.183-186). As Capulet sees it, Juliet is "in her fortune's tender" because right now is the moment when good fortune is offering everything to her. And for her to refuse her good fortune because she is too young is (ironically enough) just childish.
As a matter of fact, Juliet has never said she was "too young." (It was Capulet who said that in a conversation with Paris. See Act 1, Scene 2.). Nevertheless, Capulet rushes on, mocking and threatening his daughter. She, according to him, has said "pardon me" (in the sense of "excuse me"), so he threatens to pardon her in a way that she won't like--from his house and from his life. And if she thinks he's joking, she'd better think again. He says, "Look to't, think on't, I do not use to jest" (3.5.189). Then he says, "Thursday is near; lay hand on heart, advise" (3.5.190). "Advise" means "think it over," and "lay hand on heart" means that she should think it over very seriously, although he doesn't mean to give her any real choice: "An [if] "you be mine, I'll give you to my friend; / And you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets" (3.5.191-192). In other words, if she is his daughter, he can give her hand in marriage; if she refuses, she's not his daughter and he won't care what happens to her. He says he won't acknowledge her as his daughter, and he won't give her any support. And she better believe it, he says, because "I'll not be forsworn" (3.5.195). Then he storms out.
Juliet, turning to her mother, asks for pity. She pleads, "O, sweet my mother, cast me not away! / Delay this marriage for a month, a week / Or, if you do not, make the bridal bed / In that dim monument where Tybalt lies" (3.5.198-201). Juliet is saying she'd rather die than marry Paris, but her mother doesn't believe it or doesn't care. She says, "Talk not to me, for I'll not speak a word. / Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee" (3.5.203). Then she leaves, too. Lady Capulet is certainly not going to speak up on Juliet's behalf, and she seems to be disgusted with her daughter. Thus, Juliet is left alone with no one to turn to except the Nurse.
Exit Capulet, then Lady Capulet:
Today, a girl in Juliet's situation would probably run away to find her husband, but we must accept Shakespeare's assumption that Juliet doesn't have that option. Desperately, Juliet asks the Nurse for advice about what to do. She says, "My husband is on earth, my faith in heaven; / How shall that faith return again to earth, / Unless that husband send it me from heaven / By leaving earth?" (3.5.205-208). In saying that her "faith" is "in heaven" Juliet means that her marriage vow is holy. A marriage vow is--as it is today--"until death do us part," so the only way she can ever make that vow again is if Romeo dies and goes to heaven. Again she asks the Nurse for comfort and advice, and her desperation increases. She says, "Alack, alack, that heaven should practise stratagems / Upon so soft a subject as myself!" (3.5.209-210). "Practise stratagems upon" means "play dirty tricks on"; Juliet doesn't deserve to be the victim of cruel fate, but she is, and can't think of what she should do. For the third time she asks the Nurse for help: "What say'st thou? Hast thou not a word of joy? / Some comfort, nurse" (3.5.211-212).
Apparently the Nurse didn't respond to Juliet's earlier pleas for help because she was mulling the problem over. Now she thinks she's found the solution, and she presents it with a little prologue. She says, "Faith, here it is. / Romeo is banish'd; and all the world to nothing, / That he dares ne'er come back to challenge [claim] you / Or, if he do, it needs must be by stealth" (3.5.212-215). The phrase "all the world to nothing" expresses the same idea as our "the odds are a million to one." The Nurse is quite sure that Romeo and Juliet will never be able to live in Verona as husband and wife. That being so, her advice to Juliet is to go ahead and marry Paris. Having come up with what she considers to be a sensible idea, the Nurse tries to sell it to Juliet. She says that Paris is "a lovely gentleman" and that "Romeo's a dishclout [dishrag] to him" (3.5.218-219). Paying no mind to anything but appearances, the Nurse praises Paris because "An eagle, madam / Hath not so green [fresh], so quick, so fair an eye / As Paris hath" (3.5.219-221). In the Nurse's opinion Paris is actually a better match than Romeo, who is dead, or as good as.
Deeply shocked, Juliet asks if the Nurse is serious: "Speakest thou from thy heart?" (3.5.226). The Nurse answers, "And from my soul too, else beshrew them both" (3.5.227). It suddenly dawns on Juliet that the Nurse doesn't understand and doesn't care anything about Juliet's holy love for Romeo. With this realization comes a profound change in attitude to her old friend and second mother. To the Nurse's "beshrew them both" Juliet answers, "Amen!" (3.5.228) The literal mean of "beshrew" is "a curse upon"; it's a phrase that the Nurse uses often in the sense of "Dang me!" Now the Nurse, in order to show her sincerity, has said that her advice has come from both her heart and soul, "else beshrew them both." Juliet's "Amen" means "may both your heart and soul be cursed indeed!"
The Nurse is a bit puzzled by Juliet's "Amen," but Juliet changes the subject. With a bit of hidden sarcasm, Juliet tells the Nurse that she has been a great comfort. She also tells her to go tell Juliet's mother that "I am gone, / Having displeased my father, to Laurence' cell, / To make confession and to be absolved" (3.5.233). This implies that Juliet has changed her mind about marrying Paris, so the Nurse is pleased with Juliet and hurries away to deliver the message.
As soon as the Nurse has turned her back, Juliet reveals her true attitude towards her, exclaiming, "Ancient damnation! O most wicked fiend!" (3.5.235). She asks herself which is the greater sin in the Nurse, to advise her to break her marriage vows, or to dispraise Romeo. Either way, Juliet will never again trust her, never again share with her the secrets of her heart. She says, "Go, counsellor; / Thou and my bosom henceforth shall be twain" (3.5.239-240). Now Juliet must think and act without the help of all who have been closest to her--mother, father, and Nurse. She says, "I'll to the friar, to know his remedy; / If all else fail, myself have power to die" (3.5.241-242) . She trusts Friar Laurence, but she also trusts herself; if he can't help her, she has the strength to kill herself.
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