Romeo and Juliet: key quotes

“It is an honor that I dream not of.” (1.3.70) Speaker: JulietContext: Juliet is responding to her mother’s question of ‘will you marry?’Meaning: Marriage is not something Juliet has thought of.
“Well, in that you miss: she’ll not be hit with Cupid’s arrow” (1.1.194) Speaker: RomeoContext: Romeo is explaining to his cousin, Benvolio, that he is in loveMeaning: Romeo’s love wishes to stay a virgin.
“O she is rich in beauty, only poor, that when she dies with beauty dies her story” (1.1.201). Speaker: RomeoContext: Explaining to his cousin that he is in loveMeaning: When she dies, she will cut off all beauty from future generations.
“Read o’er the volume of young Paris’ face, and find delight writ there with beauty’s pen” (1.3.85). Speaker: Lady CapuletContext: Lady Capulet is trying to explain why Juliet should marry ParisMeaning: Paris is like a book and Juliet will be the cover that holds it together.
“This precious book of love, the unbound lover, to beautify him only lacks a cover” (1.3.91) Speaker: Lady CapuletContext: She is trying to explain why Juliet should marry ParisMeaning: Juliet is a beautiful thing for Juliet to have.
“From ancient grudge to new mutiny, where civil blood makes civil hands unclean” (prologue) Speaker: NarratorContext: Explaining the events of what came before Romeo and Juliet’s deathMeaning: The two households, the Montague’s and the Capulet’s, are in feud that makes them fight and shed civilian blood.
“From forth the fatal loins of these two foes a pair of star- crossed lovers take there life” (prologue) Speaker: NarratorContext: Explaining what caused Romeo and Juliet’s deathsMeaning: Because of all the fighting, a Montague (Romeo) and a Capulet (Juliet) who are lovers, kill themselves.
“Here’s much to do with hate, but more with love. Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate! O anything of nothing first create!” (1.1.176) Speaker: RomeoContext: Romeo is explaining Rosaline to his older brother, BenvolioMeaning: Romeo is heartbroken that Rosaline doesn’t love him and he doesn’t know what to do.
“I’ll look to like if looking liking more: But no more will I endart mine eye than your consent gives strength to make it fly (1.3.101) Speaker: JulietContext: Juliet is trying to explain to her mother in the simplest way possible that she doesn’t want to be involved in the relationshipMeaning: She wants to be an obedient daughter to her mother, but in a way that she never mentions love.
“My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss” (1.5.94) Speaker: RomeoContext: Romeo is explaining to Juliet of how beautiful she isMeaning: Romeo is about to commit the gentle sin of replacing the rough touch of his kiss by kissing her.
“Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hands too much, which mannerly devotion shows in this; for saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch, and palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss” (1.5.105) Speaker: JulietContext: Juliet is explaining to Romeo how saints kissMeaning: Saints pray with their lips, but there lips are not for kissing.
“But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east and Juliet is the sun” (2.2.1) Speaker: RomeoContext: Romeo is trying to tell Juliet how beautiful she isMeaning: Romeo thinks Juliet is more beautiful than the sun.
“O, speak again, bright angel! for thou art as glorious to this night, being o’er my head as is a winged messenger of heaven (2.2.27) Speaker: RomeoContext: Juliet is on the balcony and Romeo wants Juliet to say another thingMeaning: Romeo thinks that Juliet is a beautiful as the sky.
“O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name and refuse thy name; Or, if thou wilt not, be sworn my love, and I’ll no longer be a Capulet” (2.2.38) Speaker: JulietContext: Juliet is on the balcony and wants Romeo to give up his name as a MontagueMeaning: Juliet doesn’t know why Romeo has to be a Montague, instead of a Capulet.
“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet; So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d, retain that dear perfection which he owes without that title” (2.2.48) Speaker: JulietContext: Juliet is talking to herself on the balcony about RomeoMeaning: Romeo’s name does not equal the essence of what it is.
“My ears have not yet drunk a hundred words of that tongue’s utterance, yet I know the sound” (2.2.58) Speaker: JulietContext: Juliet thinks that she heard RomeoMeaning: Juliet hasn’t even heard a hundred words yet from Romeo, and yet she knows it is Romeo.
“The orchard walls are high and hard to climb, And the place death, considering who thou art, if any of my kinsman find thee here” (2.2.63) Speaker: JulietContext: Juliet on the balcony with Romeo is very concerned with what will happen to RomeoMeaning: Juliet is afraid that Romeo will be caught and be killed by her father.
“With love’s light wings did I o’er perch these walls; For stony limits cannot hold love out” (2.2.68) Speaker: RomeoContext: Romeo is trying to comfort Juliet on the balconyMeaning: Nothing can stop Romeo from being with Juliet.
“My life were better ended by their hate, then death prorogued, wanting of thy love” (2.2.78) Speaker: RomeoContext: Romeo is expressing his inner thoughts to JulietMeaning: Romeo would rather die in love, than die not loving anyone.
“I am no pilot; yet, wert thou as far as that vast shore wash’d with the farthest sea, I would adventure for such merchandise” (2.2.82) Speaker: RomeoContext: Romeo explaining to Juliet of what love really isMeaning: Romeo is a pilot of a ship and Juliet is the merchandise.
“…but farewell compliment!” (2.2.89) Speaker: JulietContext: Juliet does a formal act to RomeoMeaning: Juliet shifts a change from being closed up to more open.
“Or if thou think’st I am too quickly won, I’ll frown and be perverse an say thee nay” (2.2.95) Speaker: JulietContext: Juliet explaining to Romeo about what has to be done in order to win her over.Meaning: If she is won over too quickly, she will not accept it.
“O, swear not by the inconstant moon, that monthly changes in her circled orb, lest that thy love prove likewise variable” (2.2.110) Speaker: JulietContext: Juliet is telling Romeo on the balcony why not to make a promise of love to the moonMeaning: Juliet doesn’t want Romeo to swear to the moon because it rotates.
“I have no joy in this contract to-night: it is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden; too like the lightning, which does cease to be ere one can say ‘it lightens'” (2.2.118) Speaker: JulietContext: Explaining to Romeo why she doesn’t want to many tonightMeaning: Juliet is afraid that the love is not going to be for real.
“Tybalt, the reason that I have to love thee Doth much excuse the appertaining rage To such a greeting: villain I am none; Therefore farewell; I see thou know’st me not” Speaker: RomeoContext: Romeo is at the beach and doesn’t want to fight TybaltMeaning: Romeo is trying to say that Tybalt is now family.
“O sweet Juliet, thy beauty hath made me effeminate and in my temper soften’d valour’s steel!” Speaker: RomeoContext: Telling himself what Juliet has made himMeaning: Juliet’s love has made him have less of a temper and not challenge Mercutio.
“A plague o’ both your houses!” Speaker: MercutioContext: What he says when he gets stabbed by TybaltMeaning: Both houses will have something bad happen to them.
“No, ’tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church-door; but ’tis enough, ’twill serve: ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man. A plague o’ both your houses! Why the devil came you between us? I was hurt under your arm?” Speaker: MercutioContext: Explaining how he was stabbedMeaning: Romeo is to blame for him being stabbed.
“This day’s black fate on more days doth depend:/ This but begins the woe others must end.” Speaker: RomeoContext: Is deciding who to blame for the events that happenedMeaning: Romeo is blaming fate for the consequences.
“O, I am fortune’s fool!” Speaker: RomeoContext: After Romeo kills Tybalt, Romeo is deciding what to think of itMeaning: Romeo is bound for bad things and has a “doom” prophecy.
“Gallop apace you fiery-footed steeds, Towards Phoebus’ lodging: such a wagonerAs Phaeton would whip you to the west, And bring in cloudy night immediately.” Speaker: JulietContext: Juliet is at home and doesn’t know that her cousin has just been killed by RomeoMeaning: She really wants to see Romeo.
“…so tedious is this day as is the night before a festival to an impatient child that hath new robes and may not weat them.” Speaker: JulietContext: Juliet is waiting for Romeo to comeMeaning: She is like an anticipated child.
“Ha, banishment! Be merciful, say ‘death;’ for exile hath more terror in his look, much more than death: do not say ‘banishment.'” Speaker: RomeoContext: Romeo is talking to Friar Laurence about how he’s been banishedMeaning: Romeo thinks that he is to blame and he is not focusing on the impact that his actions will have an effect on other people.
“O deadly sin! O rude unthankfulness!Thy fault our law calls death; but the kind prince,Taking thy part, hath rush’d aside the law, And turn’d that black word death to banishment:This is dear mercy, and thou seest it not.” Speaker: Friar LaurenceContext: Friar Laurence wants Romeo to feel betterMeaning: Friar Laurence wants Romeo to get past the moment and think about what will come later.
“…where thou shalt live, till we can find a time To blaze your marriage, reconcile your friends, Beg pardon of the prince, and call thee backWith twenty hundred thousand times more joy…” Speaker: Friar LaurenceContext: Explaining Romeo and Juliet’s marriageMeaning: Friar Laurence wants Romeo and Juliet’s marriage to be good and wants them to come to a compromise with other people/ know who there true friends are.
“Give me some present counsel, or, behold, ‘twixt my extremes and me this bloody knife shall play the umpire, arbitrating that which the commission of thy years art could to no issue of true honor bring.” Speaker: JulietContext: Explaining to Friar Laurence what she wants to doMeaning: She wants to kill herself in order to make things better.
“O, bid me leap, rather than marry Paris, from off the battlements of yonder tower; or walk in thievish ways; or bid me lurk where serpents are; chain me with roaring bears..” Speaker: JulietContext: Explaining to Friar Laurence about what she would rather do than marry ParisMeaning: Juliet is so comitted to Romeo, that she well do anything to not betray Romeo.
“O my love, my wife!/ Death, that hath suck’d the honey of thy breath/ Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty.” Speaker: RomeoContext: Romeo is looking at Juliet, who he thinks is deadMeaning: Romeo thinks that Juliet doesn’t look dead.
“Thy drugs are quick. Thus, with a kiss I die.” Speaker: RomeoContext: Romeo knows what to do to in order to end the situationMeaning: Romeo takes drugs to kill himself.
“Lady, come from that nest of death, contagion, and unnatural sleep.” Speaker: Friar LaurenceContext: Juliet has just woken up and Friar Laurence wants her to leaveMeaning: Friar Laurence wants Juliet to leave because the police are coming.
“O happy dagger! This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die.” Speaker: JulietContext: Juliet decides that she will kill herselfMeaning: Her body (the sheath) will cover Romeo (the dagger).