Siamo nella seconda scena del secondo atto del Romeo e Giulietta
: Romeo, dopo aver lasciato la festa a casa Capuleti durante la quale i due giovani si sono conosciuti e innamorati, torna al palazzo per vedere Giulietta da sola. Entra così di nascosto nel giardino, scavalcano il muro e vede Giulietta con la finestra aperta, affacciata al balcone. La scena del balcone è senza dubbio la più famosa della tragedia, e forse dell’intero teatro moderno.
Questo non solo per la bellezza del linguaggio e la ricercatezza delle immagini poetiche che vengono utilizzate, ma per l’intero artificio retorico sulla quale è costruita.
Si apre infatti con un particolare soliloquio di Romeo, che parla a Giulietta pur sapendo che lei non lo sente, e che verrà interrotto da un altro soliloquio, quello di Giulietta appunto, che invece parla con se stessa credendo di non essere udita. I due soliloqui, in versi sciolti (blank verse per l’esattezza, ovvero pentametro giambico non rimato) si intrecciano quasi a formare un dialogo, fino a quando Romeo non si decide a rispondere davvero a Giulietta trasformando quindi il linguaggio poetico (soliloquio in versi) in linguaggio teatrale (dialogo in prosa). Dal dialogo dei due amanti emergono i loro rispettivi caratteri: più matura e coscienziosa Giulietta, che vede da subito i pericoli legati al loro amore, e più sognante e sventato Romeo, che vive quasi staccato dalla realtà in una dimensione puramente poetica.
Romeo and Juliet
Act 2, Scene 2 – Balcony scene
But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
who is already sick and pale with grief,
that thou her maid art far more fair than she:
be not her maid, since she is envious;
her vestal livery is but sick and green
and none but fools do wear it; cast it off.
It is my lady, O, it is my love!
O, that she knew she were!
She speaks yet she says nothing: what of that?
Her eye discourses; I will answer it.
I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks:
two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
having some business, do entreat her eyes
to twinkle in their spheres till they return.
What if her eyes were there, they in her head?
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,
as daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven
would through the airy region stream so bright
that birds would sing and think it were not night.
See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
that I might touch that cheek!
o, speak again, bright angel! for thou art
as glorious to this night, being o'er my head
as is a winged messenger of heaven
unto the white-upturned wondering eyes
of mortals that fall back to gaze on him
when he bestrides the lazy-pacing clouds
and sails upon the bosom of the air.
O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I'll no longer be a Capulet.
[Aside] Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?
'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
by any other name would smell as sweet;
so Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
retain that dear perfection which he owes
without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
and for that name which is no part of thee
take all myself.
I take thee at thy word:
call me but love, and I'll be new baptized;
henceforth I never will be Romeo.
What man art thou that thus bescreen'd in night
so stumblest on my counsel?
By a name
I know not how to tell thee who I am:
my name, dear saint, is hateful to myself,
because it is an enemy to thee;
had I it written, I would tear the word.
My ears have not yet drunk a hundred words
of that tongue's utterance, yet I know the sound:
art thou not Romeo and a Montague?
Neither, fair saint, if either thee dislike.
How camest thou hither, tell me, and wherefore?
The orchard walls are high and hard to climb,
and the place death, considering who thou art,
if any of my kinsmen find thee here.
With love's light wings did I o'er-perch these walls;
for stony limits cannot hold love out,
and what love can do that dares love attempt;
therefore thy kinsmen are no let to me.
If they do see thee, they will murder thee.
Alack, there lies more peril in thine eye
than twenty of their swords: look thou but sweet,
and I am proof against their enmity.
I would not for the world they saw thee here.
I have night's cloak to hide me from their sight;
and but thou love me, let them find me here:
my life were better ended by their hate,
than death prorogued, wanting of thy love.