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Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet


by William Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet Foolishness and Folly Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the 2008 Norton edition of the play.

Quote #1

Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?

I do bite my thumb, sir.

Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?

SAMPSON, aside to Gregory 
Is the law of our side, if I
   say 'Ay'?

GREGORY, aside to Sampson

No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, sir,
but I bite my thumb, sir. (1.1.45-52)

This is about the stupidest reason to start a street brawl ever. (Is there ever a good reason to start a street brawl?)

Quote #2

O, then I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
She is the fairies' midwife, and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate stone
On the fore-finger of an alderman,
This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs,
That presses them and learns them first to bear,
Making them women of good carriage.
This is she—

Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace.
Thou talk'st of nothing.

True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain, (1.4.58-61; 97-104)

Fed up with Romeo's lovesick moping for Rosaline and his claim that he had a steamy "dream" the night before, Mercutio taunts his buddy by saying that Queen Mab must have paid him a visit. (Queen Mab is a tiny fairy that brings dreams to lovers like Romeo and you can read more about her in "Symbols.") Mercutio also informs Romeo that dreams "are the children of an idle brain," which is another way of saying that Romeo is an idiot and his dreams about Rosaline are ridiculous (1.4). Given the context of the speech, it seems like Mercutio is suggesting that, like Queen Mab, dreams (especially Romeo's) are small and insignificant.

But Mercutio isn't the only one to point out when his pal is behaving foolishly. Romeo criticizes Mercutio's crazy rant when he yells "Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace! Thou talk'st of nothing."

Quote #3

This, by his voice, should be a Montague.—
Fetch me my rapier, boy.
                                         What dares the slave
Come hither, covered with an antic face
To fleer and scorn at our solemnity?
Now, by the stock and honor of my kin,
To strike him dead I hold it not a sin.

Tybalt's all miffed that Romeo comes in to "scorn at our solemnity," i.e. he's shown up to the Capulet ball. But, um, a masked ball isn't exactly a solemn occasion, is it?

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