In Romeo and Juliet I identified, what I think are three main clusters of imagery in the play. These are Nature images, such as morning and night, Love images and Death images. This is a play that is full of imagery and it can be powerful to help the reader or audience feel part of the play.In Shakespeare’s day they had to use imagery because unlike today they didn’t have artificial lighting to show the audience whether it is night or day. So instead of this the characters are always using comments or imagery to tell the audience what time of day it is. Also with wounds, today we can use hi-tech ways to show wounds and blood, back then they had to get the character to use imagery to give the audience a picture in their head of the wound.
Our first cluster of images is nature. In Act 3 Scene 2, line 5 there is our first nature image that we’re going to look at, this is a night image. ‘Spread thy close curtain, love performing night’.
Juliet speaks this line after her and Romeo have got married. She is getting impatient because she wants Romeo to arrive so that they can consummate the marriage. This image tells the audience that it is night. She uses the image to say that the night brings privacy so they can consummate the marriage. This makes the story more dramatic because, they are running out of time to save their marriage.
Which makes you unsure of whether their marriage is going to survive. Another Nature image is on Act 2 Scene 2 lines 3-4. ‘It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon’.Romeo speaks this line after the party where he first sees and meets Juliet, and has climbed over the wall in to the garden below Juliet’s window. He is trying to describe Juliet.
What he says sounds as though he thinks as Juliet as the sun as she lights up his whole life. This image tries to make you see Juliet as Romeo does. This makes it more exiting because Romeo could get caught in the garden and get in serious trouble. Our last nature image is in Act 3 Scene 2 line 10. This is another night image with Juliet wanting the night to come faster. ‘Come civil night’, Juliet speaks this line standing on her balcony. She is now even more impatient for the night to arrive.
Where she says ‘civil’ I think she may mean come pleasant night. Or she wants to do the right thing tonight and consummate the marriage. This again makes it more dramatic because they are running out of time to consummate the marriageOur second imagery cluster is the feeling of Love. The first one is in, Act 1 Scene 4 lines 43-53.
‘O she doth teach the torches to burn bright! It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night as a rich jewel in an Ethiop’s ear’. In this tiny little moment in the play Romeo forgets all about his love for Rosolin, who he has been infatuated with for quite a while. In this he is also describing to us, the audience, what he thinks of Juliet. He is also talking in rhyming couplets.This makes the story line more exciting because Romeo has fallen in love with the enemy.
Another love image is in Act 2 Scene 2 lines 24-25. ‘O that I were a glove upon that hand, That I might touch that cheek!’ When Romeo speaks this line Juliet is touching her cheek with her hand. Romeo, who is hiding in the bushes, wants to be a glove upon her hand, so that he may touch her cheek.This makes it more exciting because he is really starting to fall in love with her, and he wants to be able to touch her. The last love image is in Act 3 Scene 5 line 6-7. ‘ It was the lark, the herald of the morn, No nightingale.’ Romeo says this to Juliet after she refuses to believe that it is the morning and her love must leave her and Verona. She doesn’t want to believe it is the morning because she doesn’t want to live without Romeo and she can’t bear to be without him, as her mother is trying to get Juliet to marry a very respected boy from a very respected family.
This makes it a bit dramatic because Juliet doesn’t want him to leave but if he doesn’t he could face severe penalties. So it is a will he won’t he situation.Our last image cluster is of Death.
The first image is in Act 3 Scene 1 line 91-95. ‘no,’tis so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church-door, but ’tis enough,’twill serve. Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man. I am peppered, I warrant, for this world. A plague a’both your houses!’ In this quote Tybalt has stabbed Mercutio. He is trying to still amuse people by using puns in his dying moments. Using similes such as describing his injury as ‘nor so wide as a church-door’.
He is in this position because of the fight between the two houses, The Capulets and The Montagues, in his last words he says ‘a plague on both your houses’, as Romeo and Tybalt are in the two families and he wants to get revenge on them, as a plague is a disease that can kill you. This makes the scene more dramatic because Tybalt has inadvertently killed Mercutio. Another death image is in Act3 scene 1 Line 89.
‘Ay,ay, a scratch, a scratch’. This is just after Tybalt has stabbed Mercutio. He is describing his stab wound as a little scratch. This image tells us that Mercutio is a joking character as it is clearly not a wound; he likes to entertain people even at his own expense. This makes it more dramatic because there has just been the first killing. Our last Death image is in Act 5 Scene 3 Line 88-120.In this part of the Scene Romeo believes that Juliet is dead and goes to the tomb where her body is laid to rest.
As it is Juliet is only under the influence of a drug, which doesn’t kill, you just get put into a coma for 48 hours. Not knowing this Romeo drinks his poison and dies next to her. When she comes to Friar Lawrence is there and tries to get her out the tomb before she sees Romeo. When she does she will not leave, the Friar can hear guards arriving so he leaves. Juliet tries to kill her self with the poison but there’s none left so with Romeo’s dagger kills her self. This is a case of dramatic irony because we know that Juliet will soon wake and they shall be together again.This terrible tragedy could have been avoided if it hadn’t been for the petty feud between the two families, which led two the youngest member of each dying for their love for each other.