Page (1 of 4) Quotes: 1 2 3 4
How we cite the quotes:
Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the 2008 Norton edition of the play.
| Quote #1
Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. (Prologue)
In the Prologue, the Chorus tells us that Romeo and Juliet is a play about domestic conflict. "Two households" (that would be the Montagues and the Capulets), "both alike in dignity" (of the same social standing) are going to be involved in a rather messy, and uncivil family feud. Keep reading…
| Quote #2
[…] From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;
Whole misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents' strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Which, but their children's end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend. (Prologue)
As the Chorus continues the Prologue, we also learn that the children of the feuding families will meet and fall in love. Ironically, the love will turn tragic and their deaths will put an end to their "parents' strife."
| Quote #3
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.
[Aside] Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?
'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 part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
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. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.
I take thee at thy word:
Call me but love, and I'll be new baptized;
Henceforth I never will be Romeo.
What man art thou that thus bescreen'd in night
So stumblest on my counsel?
By a name
I know not how to tell thee who I am:
My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself,
Because it is an enemy to thee;
Had I it written, I would tear the word.
Juliet struggles with the conflict between her feelings for Romeo and her knowledge that he is an enemy of her family. She tries to separate Romeo from his identity as a Montague, and contemplates deserting her family for him. She does not imagine that their love and their families' opposition can be reconciled.
Reading tip: When Juliet asks "wherefore art thou Romeo," she's not wondering about Romeo's physical location. "Wherefore" means "why" so, Juliet is basically asking why the love of her life has to be Romeo Montague, the son of her family's enemy.