Comparison of Romeo and Juliet’s Reactions to His Banishment
Likely due to their shared immaturity and impulsivity, Romeo and Juliet both acted in an alike, extreme manner to his expulsion. Juliet is the first of the two to hear of the consequences her new husband will have. Act three, scene two notes her reaction. At first she is enraged; she feels betrayed that her lover has killed her cousin Tybalt. She exclaims: “Was ever book containing such vile matter / So fairly bound? O, that deceit should dwell / In such gorgeous place!” (3.2.83-85). In addition to proving her disappointment, this demonstrates how shallow her love of Romeo is. In an attempt to support her, Nurse wishes for shame to come to Romeo for stabbing the beloved Tybalt. Upon this point, Juliet’s youthful irrationality comes back into play, instantly blindsided by sudden siding with Romeo. “Upon his brow shame is ashamed to sit; / For ‘tis a throne where honor may be crowned / Sole monarch of the universal earth. / O, what a beast was I to chide at him!” (3.2.92-95) is Juliet’s response, further demonstrating her as naïve, foolish and blind of the dangers of her love. Suddenly, her original dismay over Tybalt’s death turns to despair that she may never again be with her husband, as he is to be sent away from Verona. Selfishly, she laments that now she will be a maiden-widowèd, and death will be the one instead to take her maidenhead. This is reminiscent of the opening scene of the play where Sampson and Gregory state that a woman either loses her maidenhead or her head. By the end of the scene, she is depressed, accepting that her marriage is ruined.
Romeo reacts just as irrationally. When he learns that he has been banished from Verona and will not be slain, he is incredibly upset, claiming that death would be better. He is unthankful, as Friar Lawrence notes, that the Prince has been willing to change the law so that he may continue to live. While Friar calls the punishment mercy, Romeo...
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