Romeo and Juliet: Act 2, Scenes 4-5

Act 2, Scene 4

Benvolio and Mercutio are on the street discussing the fact that Tybalt has sent a letter, seeking to duel with Romeo as he seeks vengeance for Romeo turning up at a Capulet party.

Benvolio is adamant that Romeo will answer his request to fight be Mercutio is not convinced. “Alas poor Romeo, he is already dead,” he is talking about his love sickness for Rosaline, which has made him weak. This is again dramatic irony as Romeo is in fact in love with Juliet.

Mercutio talks about Tybalt and praises his fighting ability and says that in Romeo’s current state, there is no way he could defeat Tybalt. This builds up Tybalt’s reputation in the eyes of the audience as he is someone to be feared.

Romeo enters and the two men criticise him for leaving them the previous night after the party. Mercutio and Romeo engage in some pointless banter, which Benvolio puts a stop to.

The nurse enters and Mercutio fires insults at her about her looks but she carries on asking if Romeo is here. Romeo steps forward and when they are alone, they discuss the plan for the marriage. The nurse warns him not to break Juliet’s heart.

Romeo tells her that Juliet is to find a way to Friar Laurence’s cell that evening, where they will be married.

Questions:

  1. Write the letter you imagine Tybalt sent to Romeo, seeking a duel. (Write it in your own words, but reflect the thoughts and feelings of Tybalt.)
  2. How does Mercutio describe Tybalt in this scene?
  3. Why does Mercutio think that Romeo won’t answer the call to fight with Tybalt?
  4. Why will Romeo not want to fight with Tybalt?
  5. What plan does Romeo give the nurse?

Act 2, Scene 5

In the Capulet orchard, Juliet awaits impatiently for the nurse to return with news from Romeo. When the Nurse does return, she claims that she is too tired to tell Juliet the news that she carries. This little bit of playacting heightens the suspense as Juliet presses her for news.

Eventually, the Nurse tells Juliet that Romeo is awaiting her in Friar Lawrence’s cell, where they will be married. The Nurse disappears to meet up with a Montague servant who has a rope ladder, which will allow Romeo to climb up to Juliet’s room so that he can consummate the marriage.

Question:

  1. Imagine you are Juliet, write the diary entry you would write after the nurse comes back with news of your impending wedding.

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