Romeo and Juliet By William Shakespeare Summary and Analysis Act IV: Scene 4

Summary

The time is 3 a.m., and Lord Capulet has not been to bed. The Capulet household has been alive throughout the night with frenetic wedding preparation activities. The day begins to break, and Capulet hears music signaling that Paris is approaching the house. He orders the Nurse to awaken Juliet.

Analysis

The Capulet house bustles with activity as the family feverishly prepares for the wedding ceremony. Banter with the servants is frenetic and excited. The atmosphere is electrified with the joyful expectation of the upcoming marriage. The commotion on the lower floors provides a striking contrast with the scene upstairs, where the bride lies in bed, apparently dead. Capulet's final line is ironic when he notes the arrival of Paris, "make haste! The bridegroom is come already."

Capulet is unaware that Juliet is already a bride and that her bridegroom is Romeo, not Paris. The appearance of the bridegroom also foreshadows Capulet's speech of lamentation in the next scene, when he describes death as a rival suitor for Juliet.

Glossary

pastry place where pastry is made.

curfew bell the bell used especially in the medieval and renaissance periods, which rang in the morning and evening to signal curfew.

cot-quean a man who usurped the place of the housewife. The Nurse teases Capulet for the pride and concern he takes in household affairs.

lesser cause that is, a woman, an amorous liaison.

you have been a mouse-hunt in your time you have chased after women in your youth. "Mouse" was an amorous term for a woman and here suggests the image of a cat prowling after a mouse.

jealous hood jealous wife. Capulet is humorously responding to his wife's remarks about his past.

loggerhead a stupid fellow; blockhead. Capulet puns on the second servant's ability to find logs for the fire.

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