Juliet: The Clock struck Nine

Monologues for teens.

Monologues and Advice Menu

Shakespearean monologues for teens.

Act II, Scene V

The clock struck nine when I did send the nurse;
In half an hour she promised to return.
Perchance she cannot meet him: that's not so.
O, she is lame! love's heralds should be thoughts,
Which ten times faster glide than the sun's beams,
Driving back shadows over louring hills:
Therefore do nimble-pinion'd doves draw love,
And therefore hath the wind-swift Cupid wings.
Now is the sun upon the highmost hill
Of this day's journey, and from nine till twelve
Is three long hours, yet she is not come.
Had she affections and warm youthful blood,
She would be as swift in motion as a ball;
My words would bandy her to my sweet love,
And his to me:
But old folks, many feign as they were dead;
Unwieldy, slow, heavy and pale as lead.
O God, she comes!

Below is a video of a seventeen year old girl rehearsing the Clock struck nine monologue. This is a nice little classical audition piece. It is funny. It reveals something about Juliet's impatient and spoiled nature. She loves the nurse far more than she does her own mother but can easily be exasperrated by her. The nurse is not a nurse in today's sense. She is more like a secondary mother.

In the beginning of the monologue, Juliet comes out into the garden to see where the nurse is. Juliet had sent her to meet with Romeo three hours ago. Romeo and Juliet are to be secretly married and the nurse is the go-between. Juliet complains that she sent the nurse to Romeo at nine in the morning and now it is twelve o'clock noon, and still no sign of the nurse. She wonders if the nurse couldn't find him, and then discounts that thought with a more likely thought, that she is lame. To Juliet the nurse is ancient and slow moving. Juliet then tells us, the audience, what her ideas of love are. She tells us that a messenger of love(the nurse) should quickly deliver her message, because the symbols of love are fast such as the doves pulling Venus' carriage and the wings on Cupid.

We can surmise Juliet is spoiled because of her telling us what love should be. She is on the verge of turning 14 and her views on love seem highly simplistic and idealistic. Juliet is called headstrong and stubborn in other scenes which suggest she is determined to get her own way. When the nurse is not deemed to be fast enough in returning, Juliet attacks her age and physical state. Juliet has to have some spark. She can't be played as just romantic. It would bore the audience. The clock struck nine is a good monologue to show the girl's immaturity.

Juliet goes on to say that if the nurse was young and passionate, Juliet's words of love would cause the nurse to quickly seek out Romeo and return with his own words of love, 'My words would bandy her to my sweet love and his to me:"

When she speaks about old folks toward the end she should be mocking the nurse and playing up her feeblesness. This is a conventional way of playing the end of the monologue because of what follows. The nurse decides to string Juliet along and make the impatient girl even more impatient and frustrated. So as the nurse has entered at the end of Juliet's monologue, it makes sense that the nurse has observed Juliet mocking her and decides to tease Juliet in the scene that follows.

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