In the courtyard of the Capulet manor, Juliet paces nervously—her nurse is not yet back from meeting Romeo, and she is worried about what could have possibly delayed the woman for three long hours. In the midst of her worrying, however, Juliet sees her nurse return. The nurse approaches and greets her, but Juliet notes that the woman looks sad, and asks her what has happened. The nurse says she’s just tired. Juliet says she wishes that the nurse had her bones, and that she had the nurse’s news. She begs the nurse to tell her what Romeo said. The nurse is annoyed by Juliet’s impatience, but Juliet continues demanding the news
Juliet’s impatience is seriously intense—she feels as if her entire future is hinging on this moment. The contrast between Juliet's nervous need to get the news about what happened now and the nurse's tiredness further highlights the intensity of Juliet's young love and, more generally, the difference between the young and the old. For Juliet, this moment is the most important of her entire life. For the nurse, her body aches.
The nurse states that Juliet has made a “simple choice” in Romeo—though he’s handsome and gentle, she says, he’s nothing special. Juliet ignores all of the nurse’s judgements and instead asks only what Romeo said about their marriage. The nurse says she has a headache and a backache, and curses Juliet for sending her out. Juliet quickly says she’s sorry for the nurse’s pain before yet again demanding news.
Though the nurse wants Juliet to be happy, she can’t ignore the part of herself that knows Juliet’s making a mistake. A common woman like the nurse would never be allowed to shirk social dictums and follow her heart blindly—that pragmatism, however, isn’t part of the noble and privileged Juliet’s life.
The nurse begs Juliet to calm down, then asks if she has permission to go to confession later. Juliet says that she does. The nurse tells her to hurry to Friar Laurence’s chambers, where “a husband [waits to make [her] a wife.” The nurse says that she’s headed back out to fetch a ladder from Romeo’s servant so that later, once it is dark, Romeo can climb up to Juliet’s room to “burden” Juliet at night. Juliet, blushing and excited, bids her nurse farewell and hurries off to her “high fortune.”
Juliet believes that fate is lighting her path forward towards a life with Romeo. She doesn’t yet realize that fate has something darker in store for them both—she can’t see beyond the heady joy of the moment.