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Romeo & Juliet - the balcony scene

Romeo and Juliet has been immortalised in ballets, paintings and operas. Why does Shakespeare's play still captivate audiences? Is it because it is about the age-old idea that love conquers all?

Romeo and Juliet

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Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet
(Read the text and then go to: Romeo and Juliet - Tasks)

The most famous scene in Romeo and Juliet is Act 2, Scene 2, which is commonly referred to as the balcony scene, even if Shakespeare did not mention any balcony in his play. Romeo has just met Juliet at the ball arranged by her family and instantly falls in love with the young girl. Because of a feud Romeo's family, the Montagues, have with Juliet's family, the Capulets, Romeo is in disguise. In this scene, we meet Romeo after he has climbed the wall into the Capulets' garden. Candlelight appears in Juliet's bedroom window and this enthralls him.

Search for Romeo, Juliet, balcony scene, 1968 on YouTube. In the 1968 version of the movie the seventeen year old Olivia Hussey is starring in the role as Juliet. Watch the scene.

What is referred to as the Balcony Scene, is Act II, Scene II. Read the full script here. Use the vocabulary list and Romeo and Juliet - explanatory notes when necessary.

Vocabulary
yonder over there
that because
thou her maid art you her maid is
vestal livery virginal costume worn by the ancient Roman goddesses
discourse narrate, tell
entreat beg
doth does
thou art you are
wherefore why
bestride step across
thy your
thou wilt not you will not
thyself yourself
owes owns
doff get rid of
and for thy name and in exchange of
thus bescreened concealed that way
stumblest on my counsel talk
if either thee dislike if you don’t like any of the names
how camest thou hither how did you come here
kinsmen relatives
henceforth from now on
o’erpertch climb over
no stop no obstacle
alack alas
enmity hostility
and but thou love me unless you love me
prorogued postponed
wanting lacking
prompt me to inquire made me ask
wert thou were you
else otherwise
bepaint paint with colour
fain willingly
dwell on form do things correctly
dost thou do you
Jove Jove, or Jupiter, was the king of Gods, he was repeatedly unfaithful
nay no
too fond too foolish
havior behaviour
strange distant
but that thou overheard'st except that you overheard it
ere I was ware before I was aware of it
impute relate to
discovered revealed
yonder the distant
orb the elliptical path the moon has around the Earth
lest for fear that
idolatry worship of idols
beauteous flow'r beautiful flower
frank generous
anon right now
afeard afraid
procure manage
beseech beg
falc'ner's voice a person that hunts with falcons calling for his falcon
to lure this tassel gentle back again the falcon is lured back by his master's call
Echo a nymph in Greek mythology who loved her own voice
attending listening
wanton a person that is playful or immoral
gyves fetters

Romeo and Juliet – plain text

Further Activities

Compare Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story

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