Romeo and Juliet Act 2, Scene 3 Full Summary {Step by Step Guide}

Romeo and Juliet Act 2, Scene 3 Full Summary {Step by Step Guide}

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Romeo and Juliet Act 2, Scene 3 Full Summary| Romeo and Juliet Act 2, Scene 3 Summary

It is early in the morning, and Friar Laurence is picking flowers and herbs. Friar Laurence says that the gray-eyed morning is smiling on the frowning night. Darkness, the night, is like a drunk man getting out of the way of Titan’s (the sun god’s) wheels of fire.

Friar Laurence says that he must fill up his Osier basket (a basket made from willow or dogwood tree sticks) with weeds and flowers before the sun gets hot and burns off the morning dew (wetness).

He says that the earth is nature’s mother and tomb. All plants are born from the earth’s womb and return there when they die.

(Shakespeare creates the image of the earth being like the inside of a woman’s body able to produce life, but different from a woman’s body because the life that is produced by the earth returns to the place of its birth.)

Friar Laurence says that the earth has many different types of children and feeds them all, like a mother who feeds her children from her breasts. Everything that Mother Earth creates (plants, rocks, and minerals) has some good, but all may also be used for bad purposes.

Friar Laurence then says some famous lines that have a truth about life which foreshadows (says what will happen at) the end of the story:
“Nor aught so good but, strained from that fair use Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse.

Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied, And vice sometime by action dignified.” This means that good things can be used to create bad results. Bad things can be done to make good things happen. (Romeo and Juliet’s love (a good thing) will cause their deaths (a bad thing).

Their deaths (a bad thing) will stop the fighting between the Montagues and Capulets (a good thing). Romeo enters and listens to Friar Laurence as he speaks his thoughts.

The friar says that inside the covering of the flower he holds, there is both poison and medicine. Smelling the flower makes a person feel good, but eating even little stops a person’s heart permanently.

Friar Laurence says that two enemy kings or leaders camp inside all plants and people. One king is good and the other is evil. If the bad is stronger, cancerous death eats up the plant.

Romeo walks up to the friar and says, “Good morrow (morning), Father.”

Friar Laurence jumps in surprise because he had not known Romeo was there. He asks “what early tongue” (what person) is greeting him. He sees Romeo and says that something must be wrong since Romeo is visiting so early.

Old people worry and don’t sleep well, but young people do sleep well and don’t get up early. The friar says that Romeo is either worried about something or he had not been in bed that night.

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Romeo says that he has not been to bed. The friar says that he hopes Romeo has not been sinning. He asks if Romeo had stayed
all night with Rosaline.

Romeo says he had not been with Rosaline. He says he has forgotten all about her and the sadness he had felt because she did not love him.

Friar Laurence says it is good that Romeo has not been with Rosaline, but he wants to know where Romeo has been. Romeo answers with the truth, but jokingly makes it sound like he has been fighting.

He says he had been with an enemy and had been suddenly wounded, but then Romeo had wounded his enemy, too. Romeo says the friar can help him with “physic” (medicine).

Romeo also says that the friar’s help will help both Romeo and Romeo’s enemy.

Note: It is true that Romeo had been with an enemy because he had been with a Capulet, but he had been with Juliet Capulet whom he loves not hates.

Romeo and Juliet have not been wounded except by Cupid’s arrows (weapons of the god of love) which have made them fall in love.

Friar Laurence tells Romeo to speak plainly and simply. If Romeo does not clearly say how he has sinned, the friar cannot accept Romeo’s confession and clear Romeo’s soul.

Romeo says that the friar should “plainly know” that Romeo has fallen in love with Lord Capulet’s daughter and she loves him back. The friar must marry them to each other.

Romeo promises to tell the friar about how he and Juliet fell in love, but now says Romeo, “.. this I pray That thou consent to marry us today.”

The friar cannot believe what he is hearing. He asks Romeo how Romeo could so suddenly have changed from loving Rosaline to loving Juliet. The friar says that young men love with their eyes, not their hearts.

Friar Laurence says that Romeo washed his face with many tears crying for Rosaline. Romeo wasted salt on a love he never tasted. The friar says the sun has not even had time to evaporate Romeo sighs over Rosaline.

The friar can still hear Romeo’s groans about Rosaline in his ears, and the friar can still see the mark of a tear on Romeo’s unwashed cheek which was made when Romeo was crying over Rosaline.

Friar Laurence says that if Romeo really was himself, all of his tears had been for Rosaline. If Romeo is telling the truth now, then women may fail to be faithful because there is no strength in a man’s love.

Romeo says that the friar had often found fault with Romeo for loving Rosaline. The friar says he found fault with Romeo for thinking of nothing except Rosaline, not for loving her.

Romeo says the friar had told him to bury his love for Rosaline. Friar Laurence says that he never told Romeo to put one love in a grave and then get a new love.

Romeo asks for the friar to stop finding fault. Romeo says he now loves a girl who loves him back. Rosaline had not loved him.

The friar says to Romeo that Rosaline “…knew well Thy love did read by rote and could not spell” (Act 2, Scene 3, lines 87-88). To “read by rote” is to pretend to read by saying something that has been memorized.

To “spell” is to really read. The friar believed that Rosaline knew that Romeo was only in love with the idea of love and that Romeo only pretended sadness because he knew that was what lovers were supposed to do.

The friar tells Romeo that he will help Romeo to secretly marry Juliet, even though Romeo does not seem to know how to truly and faithfully love.

The friar says that he hopes the wedding will turn the hatred between the Montagues and the Capulets into pure love. Romeo wants to leave quickly, but the friar says that they should go wisely and slowly because those who run fast fall.

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