Act I Scene 5 from Romeo and Juliet

Act I Scene 5 from Romeo and Juliet

By William Shakespeare

Romeo. [To JULIET] If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.

Juliet. Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this;
For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch,
And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.

Romeo. Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?

Juliet. Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.

Romeo. O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;
They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.

Juliet. Saints do not move, though grant for prayers’ sake.

Romeo. Then move not, while my prayer’s effect I take.

Summary of Act I Scene 5 from Romeo and Juliet

  • Popularity of “Act I Scene 5” from Romeo and Juliet: Written by William Shakespeare, “Act I Scene 5” of Romeo and Juliet, his masterpiece love play, first appeared in his First Quarto in 1597. It was also in the play that appeared quite later in First Folio in 1623. The scene presents a passionate and tragic portrayal of the love between Romeo and Juliet, the duo of the play, and shows how they feel about each other. This portrayal has made this scene an iconic piece of blank verse. That is why the scene has witnessed countless adaptations.
  • “Act I Scene 5” from Romeo and Juliet As a Love: Although the scene “Act I Scene 5” shows Shakespearean dramatic art at work, specifically his skill in creating complex characters and weaving universal themes of love, fate, and the consequences of impulsive actions, it is also a representative of intense love. The audience has a chance to throw glance at the central conflict of the play, the feud between the Capulet and Montague families, and the first meeting between the two star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet. Besides this, the poet/dramatist also demonstrates his skill in using language and literary devices to increase the emotional impact of the poetic piece, making it one of the most sought-after extracts used for showing the intensity of love.
  • Major Themes in “Act I Scene 5” from Romeo and Juliet: “Act I Scene 5” shows several major themes such as the power of love, the role of fate, and the consequences of impulsive actions explored. Romeo’s passionate declaration of love for Juliet conveys the transformative nature of love and its ability to transcend social boundaries. The scene indicates that the role of fate in the play determines the love of the lovers. The scene also explores the consequences of impulsive actions when Romeo and Juliet pursue their love despite knowing the risks involved in it. It foreshadows the tragic events that follow their actions. These themes work together to create a complex and emotionally arresting scene, setting the stage for the rest of the play to unfold the event.

Analysis of Literary Devices Used in Act I Scene 5 from Romeo and Juliet

literary devices are strategies poets and writers consciously use to enhance the intended impacts of their poems. Some of the major literary devices are as follows.

  1. Alliteration: It is the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words in close proximity to each other, as the /h/ sound in “have hands” in the seventh verse shows this repetition, adding to the music of the poem.
  2. Allusion: It is a reference to another literary work, historical event, or cultural icon. The scene shows the use of different allusions to religion, such as pilgrims and prayers, making the love scene akin to a worship ritual.
  3. Hyperbole: It is the use of exaggerated language for emphasis or effect. For example, “My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand” shows Romeo using hyperbole to describe his desire to kiss Juliet’s lips, demonstrating that it is akin to worship or prayer.
  4. Imagery: It is the use of language to create sensory impressions or mental pictures. For example, “This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:” and “And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss” show sensory images of sight and touch.
  5. Irony: It is a situation or statement in which the actual outcome or meaning is opposite to what was expected or intended. The first line “If I profane with my unworthiest hand” shows the use of irony as Romeo refers to Juliet as a “holy shrine,” indicating his reverence for her and also acknowledging his unworthiness.
  6. Metaphor: It is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable. This whole extract is an extended metaphor for kissing a pilgrim.
  7. Personification: It is the attribution of human characteristics or qualities to non-human entities. Shakespeare uses a personification of hands, showing how they are akin to pilgrims having their own life and soul, as in “My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand.”
  8. Pun: It is a play on words that have similar sounds but different meanings. Shakespeare shows the use of pun in line 8, which shows palmer that plays with palms. It refers to physical touch, alluding to the pilgrims as well as the owner of the palm.
  9. Repetition: It is the use of the same word, phrase, or sound multiple times for emphasis or effect. Shakespeare uses the phrase “move not” in lines 13 and 14 to emphasize the stillness of their action.
  10. Symbolism: The poem shows the use of symbols that signify different things, such as pilgrims, palms, and palmers, highlighting the sacredness of the act of love.

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in Act I Scene 5 from Romeo and Juliet

Although poetic devices are part of literary devices, some differ in nature. With the help of poetic devices, the writers set the tone of their texts as Shakespeare has done with this extract in his play, Romeo and Juliet.

  1. Diction: Diction encompasses the vocabulary, phrasing, and overall style of language. The diction used by Shakespeare here is romantic, formal, and poetic.
  2. End Rhyme: End rhyme occurs when the final words in a line of poetry share the same sound. For example, lines 2 and 4 show the use of end rhyme as “this” and “kiss” rhyme with each other.
  3. Meter: Meter refers to the rhythmic structure of a poem, determined by the arrangement of stressed and unstressed syllables. In this extract, Shakespeare employs iambic pentameter, a common meter in his plays. Each line typically consists of five pairs of unstressed and stressed syllables, such as in line 1, “If I pro-FANE with my UN-wor-THI-est HAND.”
  4. Rhyme Scheme: Rhyme scheme refers to the pattern of rhyming words at the end of each line. This extract shows a typical Shakespearean rhyme used in sonnets such as ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.
  5. Stanza: Stanzas refer to groups of lines in a poem separated by a space. This extract shows that the lines are not divided into stanzas, but they show a sonnet division of quatrains and final couplets rhyming with each other.
  6. Tone: Tone refers to the attitude or emotion conveyed by the author or characters in a literary work. The tone of this extract fluctuates between romantic and reverent as well as passionate and playful.

Quotes to be Used

This quote is suitable to be used when discussing the power of physical touch and its significance in expressing love or reverence.

For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch,
And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.