Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare - Analysis of Juliet's Soliloquy Act 4 Scene 3

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William Shakespeare uses many different techniques to show Juliet's fears. The scene starts with Juliet telling the nurse and lady Capulet to leave her alone. Her statement, "God knows when we shall meet again," foreshadows disaster, implying that she may die.

Juliet then starts questioning herself about taking the potion. Her speech takes us through her mixed and passionate emotions that make up her thoughts before drinking the potion.

"I have a faint cold fear thrills through my veins, That almost freezes up the heat of life." Imagery is used here to show her fear of dying, characterised by faintness and cold. This also shows how desperate she is for the mixture to work and the pressure she is under.

She then reveals her fear of marriage to Paris. "What if this mixture do not work at all? Shall I be married then tomorrow morning?" The stage direction "Laying down her knife" shows that she has prepared a knife and that she does not intend to marry Paris.

She worries that the Friar has given her a real poison because he feels dishonoured that he married her to Romeo in secret and does not want anybody to find out. By going through her thoughts about the future, she allows the audience to bond with her and feel compassionate for her because of the immense pressure she is under. The self reflection she displays reveals her thoughts and has the audience guessing wether the Friar really is evil and what actually does happen in the end. However, Juliet rules out this scenario as impossible as she trusts the friar to be kind-hearted person as he has helped them all along and she claims "He ( the friar) hath still been tried a holy man."

Instead she starts worrying about waking up in the vault next to the bloody corpse of Tybalt and the spirits. She is frightened by the thought and fears that she will go mad. The words such as "horrible conceit of death and night, together with the terror ..., festering," are strong and overwhelming. Shakespeare's word choice here creates a cold and hysterical atmosphere.

Accumulation and the structure of her speech contribute to the feeling of stress and fear. The manner, in which she introduces an anxious thought to the audience, considers it and then eventually solves it in some way, makes the audience feel the paranoia she is going though. Each time, her fear becomes greater and more horrific than the previous. her insecurity towards whether or not she should drink the potion gradually builds up to the point where her fears are so intense that she almost goes insane. Her traumatising experience is shared with the audience, whom also undergoes sympathy towards her.

Her emotions continuously conflict each other as you can see in her speech.

In the end, with a final cry to Romeo, she overcomes all her fears and drinks the potion.