Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet Exile Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the 2008 Norton edition of the play.
'Romeo is banished,' to speak that word,
Is father, mother, Tybalt, Romeo, Juliet,
All slain, all dead. 'Romeo is banished!'
There is no end, no limit, measure, bound,
In that word's death; no words can that woe sound.
Where is my father, and my mother, nurse? (3.2.122-127)
Juliet's anger at Romeo and horror over Tybalt's death (see previous passage) quickly turns to horror over Romeo's banishment. Juliet feels guilty about "mangl[ing]" Romeo's name (nope, she's not a serial killer—she's talking about speaking ill of him) and she's also not too pleased with the Nurse, who criticizes her new husband. What interests us most about this passage, however, is the way Juliet says that Romeo's exile from Verona is "ten thousand" times worse than her cousin's death. She also suggests that, if she had heard "some word" that Romeo had been killed, it would have "murder'd" her. Teenage melodrama? Or just an accurate representation of her intense emotions?
What less than dooms-day is the prince's doom?
A gentler judgment vanish'd from his lips,
Not body's death, but body's banishment.
Ha, banishment! be merciful, say 'death;'
For exile hath more terror in his look,
Much more than death: do not say 'banishment.'
Hence from Verona art thou banished:
Be patient, for the world is broad and wide.
There is no world without Verona walls,
But purgatory, torture, hell itself.
Hence-banished is banish'd from the world,
And world's exile is death: then banished,
Is death mis-term'd: calling death banishment,
Thou cutt'st my head off with a golden axe,
And smilest upon the stroke that murders me.
Romeo's reaction to the news that he's been exiled (per the Prince's orders) from Verona is similar to Juliet's response (see passage above). Romeo says "there is no world without [outside] Verona's walls" because Juliet, his entire world, is inside the walls of Verona. While the Friar sees Romeo's exile as a good thing (he's glad Romeo hasn't been sentenced to be executed), banishment, for Romeo, is tantamount to death.
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.
'Tis torture, and not mercy: heaven is here,
Where Juliet lives; and every cat and dog
And little mouse, every unworthy thing,
Live here in heaven and may look on her;
But Romeo may not: more validity,
More honourable state, more courtship lives
In carrion-flies than Romeo: they my seize
On the white wonder of dear Juliet's hand
And steal immortal blessing from her lips,
Who even in pure and vestal modesty,
Still blush, as thinking their own kisses sin;
But Romeo may not; he is banished:
Flies may do this, but I from this must fly:
They are free men, but I am banished.
And say'st thou yet that exile is not death?
Hadst thou no poison mix'd, no sharp-ground knife,
No sudden mean of death, though ne'er so mean,
But 'banished' to kill me?--'banished'?
O friar, the damned use that word in hell;
Howlings attend it: how hast thou the heart,
Being a divine, a ghostly confessor,
A sin-absolver, and my friend profess'd,
To mangle me with that word 'banished'?
Friar Laurence says that Romeo is an ingrate for not appreciating the fact that he's been exiled, not executed. But, as we know, Romeo and Juliet equate Romeo's banishment with death. Romeo accuses the old Friar of not being able to understand the implications of his forced separation from Juliet. Like Juliet's old Nurse (see 3.5.24 below) the Friar can't see things from the younger generation's perspective. (Psst. Check out the theme of "Youth" if you want to think about this generation gap some more.)