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Come, civil night… act 3 scene 2 passage-based question.

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1 Come, civil night… act 3 scene 2 passage-based question

2 Approaching the Passage-based Question Read the passage carefully Analyse the questions thoroughly Locate the scene Formulate and Plan responses for both questions – relevant and focused response, with insightful points and convincing evidence Write your response, calmly and confidently Be clear, coherent and convincing

3 key ideas in this passage Soliloquy Dramatic irony Transitions Mood Language Allusion Motif Foreshadowing Epithalamium

4 soliloquy What’s a soliloquy? Why does Shakespeare use soliloquies?

5 soliloquy This soliloquy offers Shakespeare the chance to present to us, the audience, a moving expression of Juliet’s love and longing for Romeo. In Juliet, Shakespeare has created one of the finest portrayals of a pure, unbridled love expressed by a woman, and in this scene, Juliet moves us with a personal, passionate speech where she reveals her innocence and desire at the same time.

6 The fact that she is revealing her innermost thoughts and feelings, which ironically should be ‘untalked of and unseen’, has a powerful effect on the audience. We are moved to empathise with her and rejoice with her for the beauty of her love, yet we grieve for her knowing her serenity and joy will be shortlived. It is perhaps even uncomfortable for us to watch her in such a ‘raw’ or ‘naked’ state, unencumbered by the knowledge that she is being watched.

7 dramatic irony What is dramatic irony? What effect does it have?

8 dramatic irony It is painful for us to watch Juliet deliver her lines here, knowing that her unrestrained joy at the thought of consummating her marriage with Romeo will be shattered soon by tragic news. Her ironic allusion to Phaeton and her unintended prophetic statement on Romeo’s death have greater poignancy for us the audience, knowing that she is blissfully unaware of their later significance.

9 transitions What are transitions? How does a director use transitions? What effects could transitions have?

10 transitions The previous scene, with the provocative confrontations between Mercutio, Tybalt and Romeo, and the later violent duels and deaths, is chaotic, compared to the romantic mood of this scene, with Juliet blissfully fantasizing about her wedding night. The contrast is a bit unnerving and although Juliet may be calm and contented, for now at least, we the audience would still be agitated, and filled with foreboding knowing what just transpired, and the consequences that will follow.

11 mood What is mood? How is mood different from tone? Does it matter?

12 mood The romantic, blissful mood created by Juliet’s impatient longing and wistful dreams seems out of place given the violent and deadly events of the scene before. The dramatic irony creates tension here for the audience, as we anticipate what happens next, in particular Juliet’s reaction to the news of Tybalt’s death and Romeo’s banishment.

13 language How does Shakespeare use language effectively in his plays?

14 language Juliet’s use of words like ‘gallop’, ‘whip’, ‘bring…immediately’ and ‘leap’ highlight the urgency of her desire, and typify the impatience and impetuosity of young love. Her impatience also suggests the strong passion of her love for Romeo, and her intense longing for him, and her eagerness to consummate their marriage.

15 language Her use of metaphor and analogy to describe her situation as that of having bought a mansion of a love and not possessed it, and of being sold and not yet enjoyed, speaks of her impatience and the heady, giddy longing of young lovers and their frustration at being apart. There is a sense of frustration at being ‘incomplete’ without the other or before committing the act that joins them further as one. Ironically, she compares her feelings to that of an impatient child that ‘hath new robes and may not wear them’, not realizing perhaps that her behaviour, may, in a way, be construed as childish, in its impatience and restiveness.

16 language The repetition of ‘Come’ in her beckoning of night and Romeo also helps to build the sense of anticipation and frustration she feels. Her joy and excitement is palpable though, and she calls night ‘civil’ and ‘gentle’, ‘loving’, grateful for its ‘close curtain’. Consider how the day or sun was described earlier by Benvolio and Lord Montague in Act 1: the ‘worshipp’d sun’ and the ‘all- cheering sun’, creating a ‘golden window’, yet now, Juliet describes the sun as ‘garish’, and it is the night, made beautiful by Romeo’s ‘little stars’, that people will fall in love with.

17 allusion What is an allusion? How do they work?

18 allusion to Phaeton: There is an ironic parallel between Phaeton’s story and that of the lovers. Phaeton was a rash, impetuous youth who drove his father’s chariot too fast and lost control. He suffered a fatal punishment for his recklessness, willfulness and disobedience. Can you see the link between his story and that of our young lovers? The fact that Juliet is unaware of the ironic echo of her reference and the fact that she is unknowingly tempting Providence/Fate adds to the poignancy (why it is moving) of the scene.

19 falconry

20 allusion to birds and falconry: Juliet describes herself as an unmanned falcon, that is trained by covering its head with a hood. The fluttering of the falcon’s wings was called baiting. The imagery here emphasises Juliet’s innocence. Juliet is unmanned in the sense that she is a virgin, and she is blushing (the blushes are fluttering in her cheeks like the bating of a falcon’s wings), calling on the night to hide her shyness with its ‘black mantle’. Shakespeare paints us a moving portrait of an innocent girl on the verge of becoming a woman, embracing her natural sensuality and waiting for the means to express her love and longing for her husband.

21 motif What is a motif? How can they contribute to theme and mood?

22 motif Juliet’s speech contains several contrasting images of light and darkness. This motif suggests the lovers are a source of light and hope for each other, and their love itself a shining light against the darkness of their situation, set against the backdrop of violence and hatred between the two families.

23 motif There is also irony as although their love is a source of illumination for each other and in a way, the world of the play, the lovers also shun the light, and find solace in darkness. Is this Shakespeare suggesting that the hatred of the families forces the young lovers to find comfort in secrecy and deception, rather than in the light of wisdom and understanding from their elders?

24 motif Link to this question: Juliet’s embrace of the night, recognizing that love ‘best agrees with night’ and that night will ‘spread thy close curtain’ over the lovers, shows her modesty and shyness, as well as her longing and desire, as ‘love-performing night’ gives them the opportunity to make ‘strange love grow bold’ and ‘think true love acted simple modesty’, to give legitimacy to their union. It is moving to see Juliet express so vividly her innocence and modesty, as well as her passion and natural sensuality.

25 motif We are also touched by Juliet referring to Romeo as her ‘day in night’, as if he illuminates her life, despite all the trouble and uncertainty she is facing.

26 foreshadowing What is foreshadowing? How does this contribute to plot and mood?

27 foreshadowing Link to this question: When Juliet says “Give me my Romeo, and when he shall die…”, this turns out to be a grimly prophetic line. Romeo does indeed die not too long after this utterance, and it is all the more poignant that Juliet makes an unintended causal link between her possession (Give me my Romeo) and his death. The use of the word ‘shall’ here adds to the sense of tragic inevitability, and we may feel frustration and pity as we witness the lovers hurtle further towards their tragic fate.

28 epithalamium What is an epithalamium?

29 epithalamium Juliet’s speech here is a sort of epithalamium. She delivers her soliloquy just before her wedding night, and the physical consummation of her marriage with Romeo.

30 epithalamium Link to this question: The association of her speech with this formal convention should evoke an atmosphere of happiness and cheer. However, because we know that her joy will be short-lived, this makes her joy all the more painful for us to watch.

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