Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

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89 ‘The fish lives in the sea’ – implying that if a man or woman choose not to wed they would be ‘a fish out of water’.

90 ‘For fair without the fair within to hide.’ – Essentially the same point as that glossed in the note to 87-88 above. It is possible that Lady Capulet is implying that Paris is ‘fair within’ but not ‘fair without’, although this would contradict the Nurse’s earlier statement that he is a ‘man of wax’.

91-92 ‘That book in many’s eyes doth share the glory/ That in gold clasps locks in the golden story.’ – A slight variation on what Lady Capulet has already expressed twice before. Here, Paris is the ‘golden story’ and Juliet the external ‘book’ that binds it in ‘gold clasps’. The subliminal message that Paris is a wealthy man will not be lost on the audience; indeed in the next line Lady Capulet adds: ‘So shall you share all that he doth possess’. This, deeply rational, view of marriage – that a man and women complement each other in union and are enabled to share their material goods – will soon be contrasted with the all-or-nothing abandon of Romeo and Juliet’s passionate attachment.

95 ‘Women grow by men.’ – by becoming pregnant. The Nurse is perhaps speaking inappropriately again, but it could be argued that marrying to have children is a better motivation that Lady Capulet’s argument that derives essentially from social conformity and acquiring wealth.

97 ‘I’ll look to like, if looking liking move,’ – Although obedient to her mother’s wishes, this slightly quibbling answer indicates that Juliet is not a girl who is prepared to have her mind made up for her. Her meaning is: ‘I will look upon Paris with the intention of liking him, but only if I am moved to like him by what I see.’ In other words, she is keeping all her options open, including disobedience to her parents.

98-99 ‘But no more deep will I endart mine eye,/ Than your consent gives strength to make it fly.’ – This is often taken as an indication of Juliet’s willingness to obey her parents. It is nothing of the kind. The Capulets’ ‘consent’ has already (effectively) been given for her to look lovingly on Paris, so saying that she will obey their will sounds submissive, but is, in fact, irrelevant. The word ‘endart’ refers to the idea that Juliet’s eyes can be used flirtatiously to shoot arrows into Paris, stirring up his desire. She is essentially saying, ‘I’ll happily flirt with him if I like what I see.’ The ‘if’ still stands.

101 ‘the Nurse cursed in the pantry’ – perhaps because the kitchen servants need more help. Whatever the reason, she is apparently required.

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William Shakespeare
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