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Quotes

Quote #1

BENVOLIO
[…] What sadness lengthens Romeo's hours?

ROMEO
Not having that, which, having, makes them short.

BENVOLIO
In love?

ROMEO
Out—

BENVOLIO
Of love?

ROMEO
Out of her favour, where I am in love.
(1.1.10)

Way to be totally emo and enigmatic, Romeo. Here's he's completely infatuated with Rosaline. When he's not daydreaming about Rosaline in his room, He's moping around in a grove of "sycamore" trees, where those who are sick amour (sick with love) tend to hang out (1.1.4). The thing is, Rosaline has absolutely no interest in Romeo, but he pursues her anyway. Maybe he's not in love with Rosaline as he is obsessed with the idea of being in love—

Quote #2

ROMEO Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs;
Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes;
Being vex'd a sea nourish'd with lovers' tears:
What is it else? a madness most discreet,
A choking gall and a preserving sweet.
(1.1.7)

These are pretty big words coming from a teenager. All this abstract language—love as "smoke," as "fire," as a "sea," as "madness"—suggest that maybe Romeo knows more about love from books than, you know, actually being in love.

Quote #3

ROMEO Well, in that hit you miss: she'll not be hit
With Cupid's arrow; she hath Dian's wit;
And, in strong proof of chastity well arm'd,
From love's weak childish bow she lives unharm'd.
She will not stay the siege of loving terms,
Nor bide the encounter of assailing eyes,
Nor ope her lap to saint-seducing gold:
[…]
BENVOLIO
Then she hath sworn that she will still live chaste?
(1.1.13)

Romeo admits that Rosaline has vowed to remain "chaste" like "Diana," the goddess of virginity and hunting. In other words, Rosaline has sworn off boys and sex, which means that Romeo has no chance of winning her heart. What's interesting about this passage is that Romeo sounds a whole lot like a typical "Petrarchan lover." Petrarch, by the way, was a fourteenth-century Italian poet whose sonnets were all the rage in Renaissance England. In fact, Shakespeare's own collection of Sonnets are, in part, inspired by Petrarch's love poetry, which was written about "Laura," a figure who was as unavailable and unattainable as Romeo's current crush (Rosaline). Petrarchan poetry happens to contain a lot of metaphors that equate the pursuit of love with hunting and/or battle. In this passage, Romeo says that Rosaline is well "arm'd" against the "siege" of his love and "Cupid's arrow," which is an elaborate way to say that Rosaline is physically and emotionally impenetrable.

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