Those in the audience with a keen eye, and/or a good memory, may notice that the opening of this scene recalls a moment in 1.2. There Capulet had charged a servant to “find those persons out / Whose names are written there.” As a consequence (and not to mention the demands of the plot) the illiterate servant encountered Romeo and Benvolio who read over the list of guests for him, and thus was set in motion the whole action of the play. Now in 4.2 a “servingman” is charged by Capulet “So many guests invite as here are writ” to the wedding. The same illiterate servant???? We never know since he leaves immediately and without comment. However, I rather imagine Shakespeare thinking wryly to himself, “I wonder if they’ll spot that one.” The remainder of the scene is really very straightforward and demonstrates Juliet’s newly found determination to go through with the Friar’s plan (from 4.1). She also does not hesitate to lie (rather than to be ambiguous) to all and sundry. Hence Capulet’s closing line is grossly ironic: “My heart is wondrous light, / Since this same wayward girl is so reclaimed.” We all know that the complete opposite is true, and doubtless some in the audience will think–just you wait and see. Finally, the scene does serve one additional function (Juliet’s lying notwithstanding). Since it is a rather brisk and bustling scene, it provides some change of pace and mood before what will be the final sequence of dire events.

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