Study Guide

Romeo and Juliet Sex

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Let's talk about sex. No, really: in the hormone-charged atmosphere of Romeo and Juliet, it seems that pretty much everything is about sex. Everything's a dirty joke, violence becomes eroticized, and even asking the time of day acquires a sexual connotation. ("The bawdy hand of the dial is now upon the prick of noon," quips Mercutio [2.4.109-110) In this hyper-sexual atmosphere, it can be tempting to interpret the protagonists' young love as primarily physical. But—call us romantic—we think there's more to love that goes beyond just sex, even if no one else can see it.

Questions About Sex

  1. What is the relationship between love and sex in the play? Are they synonymous or, is there a difference between them?
  2. How do different characters characterize sexuality—as disgusting, funny, or violent? Or some other adjective we failed to mention? 
  3. How does Romeo and Juliet's sexual attraction relate to their emotional attraction? Do they even have an emotional attraction?

Chew on This

Sexuality is an important part of the relationship for both Romeo and Juliet.

Mercutio's characterization of sex as violent or comic shows that he doesn't believe in love.

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