Romeo and Juliet Quotes Explained

“But all so soon as the all-cheering sunShould in the farthest east begin to drawThe shady curtains from Aurora’s bed, Away from light steals home my heavy son,And private in his chamber pens himself,Shuts up his windows, locks fair daylight out,And makes himself an artificial night.Black and portentous must this humor proveUnless good counsel may the cause remove” Speaker: Lord Montague speaking to Benvolio about Romeo. Context: This scene takes place in the Montague household. Lord Montague explains to Benvolio about Romeo situation and how he stays locked inside his room in isolation . It is the first time Romeo is introduced in the play and the readers can develop an idea about Romeo’s characteristics. (we get to learn early on how Romeo is an emotional character.)
“Oh, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!It seems she hangs upon the cheek of nightLike a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear,Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear.So shows a snowy dove trooping with crowsAs yonder lady o’er her fellows shows.The measure done, I’ll watch her place of stand,And, touching hers, make blessèd my rude hand.Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight!For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.” Speaker: Romeo talking to himself about Juliet.Context: During this scene, Romeo is dazzled by Juliet, having seen her for the first time, and begins rambling about how beautiful Juliet really is. He says that she teaches the torches to burn bright which portrays that Juliet’s beauty is bright and extravagant. He also says “like a rich jewel in an ethiope’s ear” which creates imagery of Juliet’s beauty. He compares her to a bright white and shiny jewel against a dark background which is the ethiope’s ear. In doing so, Romeo is suggesting the Juliet’s beauty stands out from the rest and how these contrasting colors make her beauty noticeable( other people who are the ethiop’s ear in comparison to Juliet) At this point, Romeo also begins questioning his love for Rosaline saying “did my heart love till now?…for i ne’er saw true beauty till this night.”
But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,Who is already sick and pale with grief,That thou, her maid, art far more fair than she.Be not her maid since she is envious.Her vestal livery is but sick and greenAnd none but fools do wear it. Cast it off!It is my lady. Oh, it is my love.Oh, that she knew she were! Speaker: Romeo talking to himself about JulietContext: This is the famous balcony scene. At this point, Romeo hides beneath Juliet’s balcony and Juliet is unaware of Romeo’s presence. Romeo compares Juliet to the sun because her beauty is so strong and vibrant that it makes the moon jealous of her. He tells her that such beauty shall not go to waste and that she should cast away her virginity to him(LOL!).
O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?Deny thy father and refuse thy name.Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,And I’ll no longer be a Capulet….’Tis but thy name that is my enemy.Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.What’s Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot,Nor arm, nor face, nor any other partBelonging to a man. O, be some other name!What’s in a name? That which we call a roseBy any other word would smell as sweet.So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called,Retain that dear perfection which he owesWithout that title. Romeo, doff thy name,And for that name, which is no part of theeTake all myself. Speaker: Juliet talking to herself about Romeo (unaware of Romeo’s presences)Context: This is the balcony scene. This time, Juliet admits that she admires Romeo. She questions why Romeo HAD to be Montague’s son and then she addresses the fact that names don’t mean anything. Romeo would be just as nice, handsome etc. if he had a different name and she uses a rose as an example for comparison. She also tells Romeo that he should lose his name in exchange to her love.
At lovers’ perjuries,They say, Jove laughs. O gentle Romeo, If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully.Or if thou think’st I am too quickly won,I’ll frown and be perverse and say thee nay,So thou wilt woo. But else, not for the world.In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond,And therefore thou mayst think my ‘havior light.But trust me, gentleman, I’ll prove more trueThan those that have more coying to be strange.I should have been more strange, I must confess, Speaker: Juliet talking to RomeoContext: Balcony scene. Juliet confesses to liking Romeo very much and that she would’ve played hard to get if he hadn’t heard what she said earlier. She says she is a faithful lover and begins to question to Romeo if he truly love her or not.
O, swear not by the moon, th’ inconstant moon,That monthly changes in her circle orb,Lest that thy love prove likewise variable. Speaker:Juliet talking to RomeoContext: Balcony scene. When Romeo swears upon his love for Juliet to the moon, Juliet reacts negatively. She says that the moon is inconstant, changing month by month (full moon, half moon, crescent moon, new moon) and that indicates that Romeo’s love will change like the moon.
the gray-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night,Checkering the eastern clouds with streaks of light,And fleckled darkness like a drunkard reelsFrom forth day’s path and Titan’s fiery wheels.Now, ere the sun advance his burning eye,The day to cheer and night’s dank dew to dry,I must upfill this osier cage of oursWith baleful weeds and precious-juicèd flowers.The earth, that’s nature’s mother, is her tomb.What is her burying, grave that is her womb.And from her womb children of divers kindWe sucking on her natural bosom find,Many for many virtues excellent,None but for some and yet all different.Oh, mickle is the powerful grace that liesIn herbs, plants, stones, and their true qualities.For naught so vile that on the earth doth liveBut to the earth some special good doth give.Nor aught so good but, strained from that fair useRevolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse.Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied,And vice sometime by action dignified. Speaker: Friar Lawrence talking to himself.Context: This is just after the balcony scene where we met the Friar for the first time. He’s a plant and herb specialist and he rambles about how mother nature creates all types of flowers and even the poisonous ones are important. It’s a extended metaphor of how good and bad can coexist in people like it does in plants.
These violent delights have violent endsAnd in their triumph die, like fire and powder,Which, as they kiss, consume. The sweetest honeyIs loathsome in his own deliciousnessAnd in the taste confounds the appetite.Therefore love moderately. Long love doth so.Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow. Speaker: frair lawrence talking to RomeoContext: When Romeo confesses that he no longer loves Rosaline and is deeply in love with Juliet, the Friar tells him that one should love slowly comparing their love to fire and gunpowder that explode in contact. he also says that honey can be delicious like love but eating honey too fast can make you sick just like loving too fast have bad consequences.

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