Alas that love… (1.1.160-164)

BENVOLIO      Alas that Love, so gentle in his view,

Should be so tyrannous and rough in proof!

ROMEO           Alas that Love, whose view is muffled still,

Should, without eyes, see pathways to his will!

Where shall we dine? (1.1.160-164)


Benvolio is gently mocking of both his friend and the kind of love, its language and conceits, that Romeo will go on to invoke: who would have thought that Love, personified as the child Cupid, could be so violent? and Romeo picks up on Benvolio’s slight mockery (yes, who would have thought it, even though Cupid’s blind he’s still able to push people around and make them do what he wants), but the patness of the rhyme (still / will) suggests he’s losing interest in this game; it’s automatic, and what he’s really thinking about is food. There should be a laugh on where shall we dine? it’s another expression of Romeo’s self-absorption, but also a nicely realistic reminder of his youth (I’m starving, this melancholy lover business really works up an appetite – except, of course, the lover should be off his food), his changeability, and the superficiality of his performance of being in love with Rosaline. He keeps forgetting to keep it up…

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