Heartbreak? (3.2.57-60)

JULIET                        O break, my heart, poor bankrout, break at once!

                        To prison, eyes, ne’er look on liberty!

                        Vile earth, to earth resign, end motion here,

                        And thou and Romeo press one heavy bier! (3.2.57-60)

Juliet is not going to faint – she’s going to die, if Romeo’s dead. (And, actually, she is far too practical, too steely.) Her heart will break; it will be bankrupt, having lost everything of value. She’ll never look at anything (anyone?) else, she’ll seclude herself, perhaps in a grave. And, again, she will die, resigning the earth of her body to a grave – earth to earth– ending all motion, especially the motion of her heart. Her speech is neatly patterned on the Nurse’s description of Tybalt’s body: whereas the Nurse has emphasised seeing, Juliet says she will never look on anything again (eyes, look your last…) Her earth to earth picks up the Nurse’s ashes; her imagining of her dead body, as well as Romeo’s, literalises the Nurse’s earlier doubling of a piteous corse, a bloody piteous corse, two bodies, not the same one invoked twice. The bier that she imagines carrying both their bodies will be physically heavy, but also weighed down with grief. And there’s an inevitable latent eroticism, as well as a sad irony, in the imagining of their bodies lying together in death, her body pressedby Romeo’s, both of them pressing the bier like a bed, the bed that she has so ecstatically imagined (but never named) only a few lines before.


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