Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet


William Shakespeare

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Romeo and Juliet: Act 2, Scene 1 Summary & Analysis

Read our modern English translation of this scene.
As he is leaving the Capulets’ party, Romeo pauses in the house’s courtyard—he doesn’t want to leave when his “heart” is still inside. He hides himself against the orchard wall as Benvolio and Mercutio enter, searching for him. Mercutio calls out for Romeo, begging him to make himself seen, and even tries to tempt him out of hiding with talk of Rosaline. Benvolio warns Mercutio that he’ll anger Romeo by mentioning Rosaline, but Mercutio continues loudly making sexual remarks about her, trying to lure Romeo out. At last, Benvolio urges Mercutio to stop, and tells him it’s time to go—to seek Romeo for any longer would be in vain, because he “means not to be found.” Together, they leave the Capulet grounds. 
In separating from his friends and hiding out on the Capulet grounds, Romeo enacts his first instance of choosing loyalty to Juliet over duty to his kinsmen. As Romeo and Juliet’s sense of duty fluctuates throughout the play, they will, time and time again, choose allegiance to each other over the ties to their friends and family. Romeo and Juliet’s loyalty in the face of the families’ feud suggests that parents’ efforts to limit their children may, in fact, only push them to rebel.
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