The lady stirs – where’s Romeo? (5.3.144-150)

FRIAR              Romeo! O, pale! Who else? What, Paris too?

                        And steeped in blood? Ah, what an unkind hour

                        Is guilty of this lamentable chance!

                                                [Juliet rises.]

                        The lady stirs.

JULIET                        O comfortable Friar, where is my lord?

                        I do remember well where I should be;

                        And there I am. Where is my Romeo? (5.3.144-150)

In this part of the scene, things are going to happen very fast. The Friar has half a line to see and respond to Romeo’s body, fewer words even than he says about Paris. There may be a pause; he may look closely, check for a pulse even. It is still, of course, dark; he may have a lantern, and pale suggests that he looks closely at Romeo’s face. There is a contrast between Paris’s bloody state and Romeo’s pallor – but he’s not wounded; he looks as if he’s sleeping, like Juliet. Just time to rail, once more, on fortune – this lamentable chance; this is such bad luck, the Friar says – and then the lady stirs. The stage direction Juliet rises seems premature; it’s only found in the first quarto, and rather than getting up, it probably simply means, wakes up, wriggles, even sits up. And this is – another – heart-breaking moment – she thinks that everything is fine, bit groggy, she hasn’t yet seen Romeo’s lifeless body, she’s pleased to see the Friar – O comfortable Friar – it’s good to see you, please reassure me, as you always have before. But, tell me, this isn’t exactly what we planned – where is he? Where is my lord, my husband? My Romeo? Everything else is as I expected, I’m not disoriented, I know where I am. But he was meant to be here when I woke up. Where is my Romeo?

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