Romeo and Juliet key quotes

(Prologue SUMMARY) The Chorus, often played by a single narrator, opens Romeo and Juliet with a brief summary of what’s to come on stage. Just as the Chorus in ancient Greek tragedies provided a commentary on events in the play for the audience, so Shakespeare’s Chorus sets the scene for tragedy by presenting his two young protagonists as the victims of fate whose lives are marred from the outset by the feud between their families: “From forth the fatal loins of these two foes / A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life.” Any lack of suspense as to the outcome of the play serves to emphasize the major theme of fate — an omnipresent force looming over Romeo and Juliet’s “death-marked” love.
(Prologue ANALYSIS) The prologue is also a sonnet, a popular form of 16th-century love poem that often explored such themes as love in conflict. Shakespeare chooses this poetic form to outline the play’s main issues of love and feuding and to present another major theme: how true love ultimately triumphs because the deaths of Romeo and Juliet end the feud between their families
Effect of the Prologue (P) Shakespeare has chosen to begin the play with a prologue because it means the audience become more emotionally vested and curious. As the play unfolds, the audience feel a sense of hopelessness due to the dramatic irony. The prologue offers an insight, a window into the two households to reinstate the detached perspective from where the audience are standing. He has used this technique to allow the audience to cast judgements over the character’s decisions
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny (P) A problem that has existed for a long time, implies that the family feud has festered for many years and the log standing hatred erupts into new violence. Romeo and Juliet try to separate themselves from such archaic grudges and foolish fighting, the couple can’t escape the repercussions of the feud, which ultimately deals their love a fatal wound.
A pair of star-crossed lovers (P) They are unlucky and their fate has already been set and predetermined and their relationship is ill-fated and overthrown since the say they met.
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean (P) The use of the word ‘civil’ is ironic as in the course of the play the Montagues and Capulets will be shown to be anything but courteous and dignified in their dealings with each other.
Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife (P) The double meaning when the lovers die, they are buried but also the conflict between the families dies as well, and is buried along with Romeo and Juliet.
(1.1 SUMMARY) The scene opens with a brawl on the streets of Verona between servants from the affluent Montague and Capulet households. While attempting to stop the fight, Benvolio (Romeo’s cousin) is drawn into the fray by Tybalt, kinsman of the Capulets. The fight rapidly escalates as more citizens become involved and soon the heads of both households appear on the scene. At last, Prince Escalus arrives and stops the riot, forbidding any further outbreaks of violence on pain of death. After Escalus dismisses both sides, Montague and his wife discuss Romeo’s recent melancholy behavior with Benvolio and ask him to discover its cause. They exit as Romeo enters in his sad state — a victim of an unrequited love for the cold and unresponsive Rosaline. Benvolio advises him to forget Rosaline by looking for another, but Romeo insists that this would be impossible.
Draw your neck out of collar (1.1) Shows the Vendetta culture based on principles of honor and revenge. This undercurrent of uncertain fortune wrenches the characters into and out of pleasure and pain as fate seemingly preempts each of their hopes with another tragic turn of events.
A dog of the house of Montague moves me (1.1) Derogatory language
Draw thy tool / My naked weapon is out (1.1) A spirited exchange of vulgar jokes between servants opens the play and immediately links sex with conflict. In their bawdy quarrel, the servants’ references to “tool” and “naked weapon,” together with repeated images of striking and thrusting, illustrate how images of love and sex are intertwined with violence and death — and will continue to be throughout the play.
I do bite my thumb sir (1.1) A rude gesture and provocative act. They are only servants but the feud has filtered to everyone
I do but keep the peace (1.1) While Benvolio’s entrance pacifies the scene. Tybalt’s entrance instigated and catalyses the violence.
Benvolio, look upon thy death (1.1) Tybalt’s language reflects the eagerness of the fight, he is always undermining and aggressive.
[They fight] (1.1) The pace at which the fighting breaks out, prepares the audience for the later conflicts and also implies how haste plays a significant factor in leading to tragedy. The sudden switch from the comedic interplay between the servants to a potentially life-threatening situation demonstrates the rapidly changing pace that drives the action of the rest of the play.
A crutch. Why call you for a sword? (1.1) Though Romeo and Juliet try to separate themselves from such archaic grudges and foolish fighting, the couple can’t escape the repercussions of the feud, which ultimately deals their love a fatal wound.
The prince’s speech (1.1) Shakespeare uses the Prince to suggest that there will never be peace. There is a juxtaposition between the love that will blossom and the hate that will fester, their love will not survive in the midst of all this hate and chaos.
Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek a foe (1.1) Shows that conflict is fuelled by men in the Elizabethan era as Montague and Capulet are eager to fight but both women reprimand and restrain them.
Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace (1.1) The entrance of the Prince instantly diffuses the conflict, The key emotions highlighted in this line explores mainly a brutal, violent nature between the households. He is the peacekeeper and delivers with anger and passion.
You beasts! (1.1) He dehumanises them.
That quench the fire of your pernicious rage With purple fountains issuing from your veins (1.1) The Prince usually restored authority and peace while the others try and solve their problems by fighting.
Airy word (1.1) An excuse to break into a fight which suggests that the battle is futile and meaningless.
On pain of death, all men depart (1.1) The restoring of peace by issuing a verbal edict of execution for civil disorder.
Romeo’s first impression (1.1) The second half of the scene switches its focus from the theme of feuding and violence to the play’s other key theme, love. Romeo woefully bemoans his plight as an unrequited, Petrarchan lover. We get an impression that Romeo is blinded by his apparent love for Rosaline. He is suffering from emotional conflict and has a vain and superficial attitude towards Rosaline’s aesthetic beauty. He is young, impressionable and naive, unlike the other patriarchal figures of the Montague clan. Romeo’s feelings of love have not been reciprocated by Rosaline, and this predicament causes him to dwell on his emotional torment. Romeo’s use of traditional, hackneyed poetry in the early stages of the play show him as a young, inexperienced lover who is more interested in the concept of being in love, than actually loving another human being. As the play progresses, Romeo’s use of language shifts as he begins to speak in blank verse as well as rhyme. Through this development, his expressions sound more genuine rather than like a poem learned by rote. Shakespeare elevates Romeo’s language as he elevates Romeo’s love for Juliet.
O me! What fray was here? (1.1) Tone of exasperation shows he is feeling despairs of the feud, Romeo is unlike the other patriarchal figures of the Montague clan.
O brawling love, O loving hate (1.1) Shakespeare chooses language that reflects youthful, idealized notions of romance. Romeo describes his state of mind through a series of oxymorons — setting contradictory words together — blending the joys of love with the emotional desolation of unrequited love. That he can express such extreme emotions for a woman he barely knows demonstrates both his immaturity and his potential for deeper love.
Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs, a fire sparkling in lovers eyes (1.1) Full of oxymorons to convey his emotional character when the ‘fire’ imagery portrays that love is destructive.
Discreet…sweet (1.1) Romeo’s use of rhyming couplets mirrors language of an Elizabethan poet as he speaks in verse.
I have lost myself. This is not Romeo (1.1) Romeo is young, impressionable and naive when it comes to love.
In sadness cousin, I do love a woman (1.1) Romeo is love-sick and there is a melancholic atmosphere
She will not stay the siege of loving terms / Nor bide th’ encounter of assailing eyes (1.1) Romeo’s emotional turmoil also reflects the chaos of Verona, a city divided by the feud between the Montagues and the Capulets. Just as the city is embattled by the feud between the families, Romeo is embattled by his unrequited love for Rosaline. Romeo illustrates his idea of love as a battlefield by using military terms to describe the ways in which he has used his eyes and words of love in a combined attack to win the lady over, but without success. Shakespeare repeatedly demonstrates how closely intertwined battles of love and hate can be. These conflicting images of love and violence ominously anticipate the play’s conclusion when the deaths of Romeo and Juliet “win” the end of the feud.
O, she is rich in beauty (1.1) Romeo has vain and superficial attitudes towards Rosaline’s aesthetic beauty.
Do I live dead, that i live to tell it now (1.1) Shakespeare establishes a link between love and death which is foreboding in this scene.
(1.2 SUMMARY) Paris, a relative of the prince, asks Capulet for his daughter Juliet’s hand in marriage. Capulet is initially reluctant to give his consent because Juliet is so young. Finally, however, he agrees to the match if Paris can gain Juliet’s consent. Capulet invites Paris to a feast to be held that night. Capulet sends off the guest list with a servant, who is, unfortunately, illiterate and cannot read the names. He meets Romeo and Benvolio whom he asks for help. The guest list includes Rosaline, the object of Romeo’s affections, so Romeo resolves to go to the feast despite the danger involved. Benvolio hopes that Romeo will see another lady there to help him forget about Rosaline. Romeo again denies that this could happen.
Younger than she are happy mothers made (1.2) Paris is eager to marry Juliet and have a baby, he equates love to motherhood and has a conservative, traditional attitude of the patriarchal society in the Elizabethan era. Paris and Capulet’s discussion of Juliet’s age in the beginning of this scene continues another of the play’s resounding themes: youth versus old age. In the world of the feud, the older generation’s conflicts and bids for power control the destinies of their children without much apparent thought for their children’s ultimate welfare. Thus the flaws in this patriarchal system make Romeo and Juliet’s waywardness in love seem all the more innocent.
What do you say to my suit? (1.2) The question here suggests that they have indeed had this conversation before without Juliet in his pursuit – he wants to secure the marital bond between the households.
My will to her consent is but a part, within her scope of choice (1.2) Capulet gives Juliet independence and liberty but it is conditional.
Let two more summers wither in their pride / Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride (1.2) Capulet worries that Juliet, at 13, is too young to be married. He cautiously advises Paris. Shakespeare’s emphasis on Juliet as a teenage girl poised between childhood and adulthood highlights that Juliet is a very young tragic heroine who is forced to mature extremely quickly during the course of the play.
I will make thee think thy swan a crow (1.2) Shows that love is fickle and affections can be easily changed as lust can be chosen over love.
And I might live to see thee married once, I have my wish (1.3) As he very close maternal figure she is desperate to see Juliet happily married
Go girl, seek happy nights to happy days (1.3) Suggests that marriage will bring happiness and satisfaction with the sexual innuendo by the bawdy character of the Nurse.
It is an honor, I dream not (1.3) Juliet is very reluctant to be married to Paris
Can you love the gentleman? (1.3) Lady Capulet believes you can force love like it is formal transaction
By having him, making yourself no less (1.3) Shows the patriarchal society beliefs about the dominance of men.
Rich Jewel (1.4) The precious imagery to elevate Juliet’s status and worth.
Beauty too rich for use (1.4) This indicates that Romeo is overwhelmed by her natural beauty through the hyperbole.
Torches to burn bright (1.4) This ‘light imagery’ suggests that she is a beacon
Snowy dove…trooping with crows (1.4) The juxtaposition in the metaphors of bird imagery suggests that Juliet is special and the white color semiotics indicates purity.
Now seeming sweet, convert to bitterest gall (1.5) Tybalt vows vengeance over Romeo’s intrusion
Now old desire doth in his death-bed lie (C1.5) His love for Rosaline is no dead
With tender Juliet matched is now not fair (C1.5) Juliet surpasses her in aesthetical beauty
Alike bewitched by the charm of looks (C1.5) Romeo is being charmed by looks and is being superficial
To meet her new-beloved anywhere (C1.5) The path for their love is turbulent
But passion lends them power, time means, to meet (C1.5) They are going to fight for their love, breaking any boundaries and because they are enemies they can’t declare their love. She is confined in the household as a young woman in the Elizabethan era.
Tempering extremities with extreme sweet (C1.5) Ends on a foreboding tone.
To raise a spirit inches mistress’ circle (2.1) Mercutio’s sexually explicit language in the way he talks about Rosaline in this scene suggests he only longs for physical lust and gratification.
O Romeo, O that she were An open arse! (2.1) Shakespeare makes Mercutio’s views as very sexually explicit to juxtapose with Romeo’s innocent views on love.
Juliet is the sun (2.2) Romeo places Juliet in this light metaphor as the centre of his universe. This elevates her status as the source of all light and life. However, like the sun – Romeo will be burned.
Her eyes in heaven…O speak again, bright angel (2.2) The heavenly, celestial imagery raises Juliet above the mortal realm and she is metaphorically elevated.
And I’ll no longer be a Capulet (2.2) Like Romeo, Juliet is willing to severe all familial ties to pursue Romeo.
Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptised: Henceforth I never will be Romeo (2.2) In this moment, he is abjectly rejecting his heritage, family and his identity in this shocking declarative. There is an indication that Romeo is sacrificing everything for her love and he is reborn in her eyes.
With love’s light wings… For stony limits cannot hold love out (2.2) Romeo personifies love as having the power to liberate, also there are no obstacles that he won’t overcome to be with Juliet.
There lies more peril in thine eye Than twenty of their swords (2.2) Hyperbole to express that he is willing to risk death to be with Juliet.
Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek (2.2) Juliet exposes her naivety and innocence when it comes to love, she is embarrassed by his honest vows of love towards her.
Dost thou love me? (2.2) Juliet’s interrogative establishes her insecurities.
Swear by thy gracious self, Which is the god of my idolatry (2.2) This shocking, controversial declaration for an Elizabethan era audience would have been religiously conservative and she is defying God as well as her fate when she takes Romeo as her God.
It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden, Too like the lighting (2.2) At this point, Juliet is still restrained and the ‘lightning’ simile of natural elements are destructive like their love.
The exchange of this love’s faithful vow for mine (2.2) Romeo’s word have become more meaningful and sentimental in tone. The ‘vow’ hints at marriage – a union sanctified before God.
And follow thee my lord throughout the world (2.2) She calls him ‘Lord’, elevating his status and is submissive towards the female gender roles.
Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing (2.2) This line alludes to the dramatic irony of the play as the audience know that Romeo will die due to Juliet’s love – a foreboding hint.
End of Scene note (2.2) At the end of this scene, the audience perceive their love as a sacrifice that they are both willing to make. Juliet is willing to sever familial ties to pursue Romeo. Likewise, Romeo abjectly rejects his heritage, family and identity. Here the audience understand that they believe they will over come any obstacles that obstruct their path to a long, successful relationship. The audience acknowledge the forbidden love between the two with potentially treacherous consequences as the play unfolds onstage. Shakespeare’s aim here is clearly presented through the dramatic irony of the destructive and doomed love between the ‘star-crossed lovers.’

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