Romeo & Juliet - Why Is Cosmic and Celestial Imagery Used in Act 2, Scene 2?

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William Shakespeare’s tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, set in 15th century Verona, tells the story of two star-crossed lovers, who find each other in the midst of violence and rivalry fuelled by an ancient feud between their families. Within the well-known balcony scene in Act 2, Scene 2, both characters use a variety of imagery, including cosmic and celestial, that which relates to objects and scenery outside of our planet, in the sky and universe. These choices of imagery tell us about the ideas and perspectives that Shakespeare is trying to portray about the characters as well as the emotions surrounding their relationship. Despite both Romeo and Juliet using a lot of imagery in their responses to each other, Romeo tends to be the one that uses far more cosmic and celestial imagery, while Juliet tends to have more natural, Earth related imagery – botanical imagery. This in itself shows the reader the difference between the character’s opinions of the relationship at this moment of time as well as their personality. Romeo often choses to compare both his love and Juliet’s beauty to wonders of the universe – the heavens, the sun, stars, etc.. These items would’ve been, at least in Shakespeare’s time, still not completely understood and seen as mysterious and magical; large than life objects, full of beauty and wonder far out of bounds from the mundane Earth life. In addition, in contrary to what we now know, they believed that the sun was the centre of the universe. The fact that Shakespeare choses for Romeo to use these types of comparisons therefore leads the audience to infer that Romeo sees his and Juliet’s love as boundless, “written in the stars” and meant to be. His comparisons to the out of this world objects portrays Romeo’s boldness as well as forwardness and eagerness when it comes to his feeling and love as he has no hesitation in voicing his definite views in his poetic and flamboyant language with the imagery. On the other hand, Juliet has a far more...
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