Symbols

Light and darkness

In Romeo and Juliet light and darkness are important symbols. Shakespeare reverses the traditional idea of light as something good and hopeful and darkness as something negative and ominous.

Instead, nighttime is the only time the young lovers can be together. As we outline in the Setting section, the lovers meet and fall in love at night and later spend their wedding night together. At daybreak, Romeo exclaims: “More light and light, more dark and dark our woes!” (3.5.36) What he is saying is that during the day, they will be separated because society forces its strict rules on them, so the lighter it gets, the unhappier the lovers will be.

Thus,light and day both become symbols of the rules of society which threaten to separate the lovers. Darkness and nighttime...

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