Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

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Act One, Scene Two

8 ‘a stranger in the world’ – Juliet is only thirteen and she has been kept secluded in the Capulet household until now. The idea is similar to that of debutantes ‘coming out’ in public.

14 ‘Earth has swallow’d all my hopes but she;’ – Capulet’s other children all, presumably, died young. Romeo, apparently, does not have siblings either, and this makes the loss of these two young people all the harder to bear when they die.

15 ‘She is the hopeful lady of my earth.’ – Assuming the text is not corrupted here (and other readings have been suggested), this would mean that Capulet in pinning all his hopes of posterity on Juliet, in the days when he is dead and in the ‘earth’. It is interesting that Romeo and Benvolio have been talking about something similar with respect to Rosaline.

16 ‘But woo her gentle Paris’ – Capulet is presumably not contradicting himself here, but simply planning on Juliet and Paris having a two-year-long period of betrothal prior to marriage, which given Juliet’s age would not be unreasonable.

22 ‘among the store.’ – i.e. ‘among the store of those I love.’ It appears that Capulet’s invitation has already gone out to Paris unbeknownst to him; the line ‘One more, most welcome, makes my number more’ refers to Paris responding positively to this invitation, not being hastily added to the guest-list. From what follows, the invitations are apparently being sent out on the day of the feast.

23 ‘makes my number more.’ – understand: ‘makes my group of guests (‘my number’) more convivial.’

25 ‘Earth-treading stars that make dark heaven light.’ – A rather odd example of Shakespeare’s imagery of darkness and light in this play: the idea seems to be that these ‘stars’ (the eyes of the female guests, especially those of Juliet) have come down from heaven and left the skies darkened. They are so bright, however, that they light the heavens up from below.

27 ‘When well-apparelled April on the heel/ Of limping winter treads’ – Just as the movement in terms of imagery is from darkness to light in the early part of Romeo and Juliet, here there is an analogous movement from winter to spring. Winter limps because he is old; April is ‘well-apparelled’ with spring flowers.

30 ‘Inherit’ – ‘receive’.

30 ‘Hear all, see all,’ – similar to the advice Benvolio has just given Romeo.

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William Shakespeare
the Unkindness of Ravens If you have found our critical notes helpful, why not try the first Tower Notes novel, a historical fantasy set in the time of the Anglo-Saxon invasions.

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The Unkindness of Ravens by Anthony Paul