Romeo and Juliet
How we cite our quotes:
I will be brief, for my short date of breath
Is not so long as is a tedious tale.
Romeo, there dead, was husband to that Juliet;
And she, there dead, that Romeo's faithful wife:
I married them; and their stol'n marriage-day
Was Tybalt's dooms-day, whose untimely death
Banish'd the new-made bridegroom from the city,
For whom, and not for Tybalt, Juliet pined.
[Speaking to Lord Capulet] You, to remove that siege of grief from her,
Betroth'd and would have married her perforce
To County Paris: then comes she to me,
And, with wild looks, bid me devise some mean
To rid her from this second marriage,
Or in my cell there would she kill herself.
Then gave I her, so tutor'd by my art,
A sleeping potion; which so took effect
As I intended, for it wrought on her
The form of death: (5.3.10)
When the Prince arrives at the Capulet family tomb, where Romeo and Juliet have just taken their lives, he demands that Friar Laurence explain what happened. What, according to the Friar's long speech, is the cause of the young lovers' deaths? What role does Romeo's banishment play in the tragedy?
And for that offence
Immediately we do exile him hence:
I have an interest in your hate's proceeding,
My blood for your rude brawls doth lie a-bleeding;
But I'll amerce you with so strong a fine
That you shall all repent the loss of mine:
I will be deaf to pleading and excuses;
Nor tears nor prayers shall purchase out abuses:
Therefore use none: let Romeo hence in haste,
Else, when he's found, that hour is his last.
Bear hence this body and attend our will:
Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill.
After listening to the Capulets and Montagues bicker about whether or not Romeo should be punished for killing Tybalt in a duel, the Prince decides that Romeo should be "exile[d]" instead of put to death (ostensibly because Tybalt killed Mercutio before Romeo killed Tybalt). We also learn here that, if Romeo is caught within the city walls, he'll be killed. Questions: Do you think the Prince's punishment is fair? Does the Prince's own sense of loss over his dead kinsman (Mercutio is the prince's cousin) influence his judgment?
Some word there was, worser than Tybalt's death,
That murder'd me: I would forget it fain;
But, O, it presses to my memory,
Like damned guilty deeds to sinners' minds:
'Tybalt is dead, and Romeo—banished;'
That 'banished,' that one word 'banished,'
Hath slain ten thousand Tybalts.
Juliet's initial response to the news that Romeo has been banished for killing Tybalt (Juliet's cousin) is pretty intense. Clearly, Juliet is experiencing some mixed emotions—she wonders how the love of her life, the guy she thought was so wonderful, could be a killer. On the one hand, she seems to recoil in disgust at Romeo's heinous act. On the other hand, it's also pretty clear that Juliet still adores Romeo. Her use of oxymoron here gives expression to her turmoil. An "oxymoron" is the combination of two terms ordinarily seen as opposites. As in, Romeo is a "beautiful tyrant," a "fiend angelical," a "dove-feather'd raven," wolvish-ravening lamb," a "damned saint," and an "honourable villain." Want to know more? Check out our discussion in "Symbols."