A Library of literature InterestingnessSaturday, November 6, 2021

First, the context of Romeo’s words: Romeo is in ~ the Capulets’ masked ball, with his friend Mercutio. Mercutio has actually just called Romeo around a fairy named Queen Mab who enters young men’s minds as they dream, and makes castle dream the love and also romance. In ~ the masking ball, Romeo spies Juliet and also instantly falls in love v her; she likewise falls because that him. ‘O, she doth teach the torches come burn bright’ is Romeo’s first response come clapping eyes on Juliet.

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It’s precious dwelling top top this image for a moment. ‘O, she doth teach the torches come burn bright’: i.e. The torches don’t in reality seem to be all that bright in ~ all, when contrasted with the brightness and radiance that Juliet’s beauty. ‘Teach’ right here is a bit like ‘teaching someone a lesson’ or ‘schooling’ someone: it’s acquired an waiting of competition to it. Romeo is saying that the (poor, dim) torches can learn a thing or 2 from Juliet around how come shine brightly.


The ‘measure’ is the dance that is being performed together Romeo speaks these words: once this run is over, he says, he will go up to her and also touch her hand (as dancing partners might do before dancing together), and also thus make ‘blessed’ his own bad hand by comes into contact with hers. Romeo concludes his speech by questioning rhetorically even if it is his heart really did love anyone before he met Juliet. The answer, of course, is a large ‘No’. He ‘forswears’ or rejects any notion the he truly loved anyone (e.g. Rosaline) that came prior to Juliet. Now, though, he has actually seen true beauty, and its name is Juliet.

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‘O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright’ is obviously rather over-the-top language, and it’s worth bearing in mental the comment of 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 exaggeration language’. He is still susceptible to fall head-over-heels in love: in ~ this phase he’s quiet in love through the idea of being in love, if friend will. This is not to say that his feelings for Juliet will certainly not revolve out come be more than just ‘love because that its very own sake’, the course; but in numerous ways this speech marks the suggest at i m sorry Romeo’s wandering heart finally finds things truly worthy that its admiration and also devotion. But it’s no clear until afterwards – perhaps the minute when he and also Juliet flirt and kiss – the she, unlike Rosaline, is a match for him.