A Library of literature InterestingnessThursday, December 30, 2021

First, the context of Romeo’s words: Romeo is at the Capulets’ masked ball, with his girlfriend Mercutio. Mercutio has actually just called Romeo about a fairy called Queen Mab who enters young men’s minds as they dream, and makes lock dream of love and romance. At the masked ball, Romeo spies Juliet and instantly drops in love through her; she likewise falls because that him. ‘O, she doth teach the torches come burn bright’ is Romeo’s first response come clapping eye on Juliet.

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It’s precious dwelling ~ above this photo for a moment. ‘O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright’: i.e. The torches don’t in reality seem to be all the bright at all, when compared with the brightness and also radiance of Juliet’s beauty. ‘Teach’ right here is a bit like ‘teaching someone a lesson’ or ‘schooling’ someone: it’s gained an waiting of competition to it. Romeo is saying that the (poor, dim) torches could learn a thing or two from Juliet about how come shine brightly.


The ‘measure’ is the dance the is gift performed as Romeo speaks this words: once this run is over, that says, he will certainly go approximately her and also touch her hand (as dance partners can do before dancing together), and also thus make ‘blessed’ his own negative hand by comes into call with hers. Romeo concludes his speech by asking rhetorically whether his heart yes, really did love anyone before he met Juliet. The answer, that course, is a large ‘No’. The ‘forswears’ or rejects any notion that he truly love anyone (e.g. Rosaline) who came prior to Juliet. Now, though, he has seen true beauty, and also its name is Juliet.

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‘O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright’ is obviously somewhat over-the-top language, and also it’s precious bearing in mind the comment that T. J. B. Spencer, in his note to Romeo and also Juliet (Penguin Shakespeare)

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, that Romeo has not shed his ‘power of exaggerated language’. That is still at risk to loss head-over-heels in love: in ~ this stage he’s quiet in love through the idea of being in love, if girlfriend will. This is no to say the his feelings for Juliet will certainly not turn out come be an ext than simply ‘love because that its very own sake’, of course; yet in countless ways this speech marks the point at which Romeo’s wandering heart finally finds an object truly worthy that its admiration and also devotion. But it’s not clear until after that – possibly the minute when he and also Juliet flirt and kiss – the she, uneven Rosaline, is a enhance for him.