Hailed as one of the popular tragedies in classical literature, “Romeo and Juliet” is replete with memorable and timeless quotes that defy the confines of time and space. Due to its immense popularity, some of the riveting dialogues have been repeatedly referenced in various mainstream movies.
Although every act of the play features engaging quotes, the most thought-provoking and heart-rending dialogues have been delivered by the two passionate lovers — Romeo and Juliet. Some of the most intriguing quotes of these two young, star-crossed lovers are discussed below with a short analysis.
Famous Quotes from Romeo and Juliet
Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs;
Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers’ eyes;
Being vexed, a sea nourished with loving tears.
(I. i. 195-197)
The aforementioned lines pertaining to the grief of unrequited love have been delivered by Romeo in the midst of his conversation with Benvolio. Using the imagery of fire and smoke, Romeo regards his one-sided love for Rosaline a fiery madness fueled by a lover’s sighs. The depth of despair experienced by a lover who feels forsaken is conveyed through aquatic imagery. For Romeo, love is an unfathomable sea sustained by the tears of an abandoned lover.
One fairer than my love? the all-seeing sun
Ne’er saw her match since first the world begun.
This dialogue has been uttered by Romeo in response to Benvolio’s insistence that Romeo may find a more endearing and more beautiful lover than Rosaline. Highlighting the unprecedented beauty of his beloved Rosaline, Romeo exclaims that no other woman in this world can possibly compete with Rosaline’s irresistible charm. The ironic thing, however, is that the moment Romeo lays his eyes on Juliet, the mere thought of Rosaline disappears from his mind.
My only love sprung from my only hate!
Too early seen unknown, and known too late!
Prodigious birth of love it is to me,
That I must love a loathed enemy.
(I. v. 152-155)
This poignant dialogue has been delivered by Juliet after she realizes that the young gentleman she has fallen in love with is none other than Romeo Montague — a member of the family despised by Juliet’s parents.
These lines signify the cruel workings of fate and reinforce the idea that one can neither anticipate nor choose the person one falls in love with. On a metaphorical level, these lines imply that the matters of the heart lie beyond the realm of rationality, and that prudence is rarely exercised when choosing one’s lover.
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.
These timeless lines have been delivered by Juliet in the much-acclaimed balcony scene. Juliet identifies Romeo’s surname, Montague, as the point of contention between their respective families. On the sub-text level, these lines reinforce the idea that a person’s essence is not solely defined by their names and that it transcends family lineage.
The aforementioned, often-quoted lines have been delivered by Juliet while bidding farewell to Romeo. These heart-touching lines brilliantly capture the essence of the bittersweet sorrow experienced by passionate the lovers who are forced to face the agony of estrangement on account of familial pressure.
It is noteworthy that the oxymoron “sweet sorrow” in these lines refers to the fact that in Romeo and Juliet’s case, the pain of parting is made bearable by the hopeful idea that they will reunite next morning.
I take thee at thy word:
Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptiz’d;
Henceforth I never will be Romeo.
These passionate lines have been delivered by Romeo during the classic balcony scene. Aside from highlighting Shakespeare’s impeccable mastery of religious imagery, these evocative lines emphasize Romeo’s abiding love for Juliet. Moreover, this quote signifies that any term of endearment reserved by Juliet solely for Romeo will be as invigorating for him as a religious rebirth.
O, swear not by the moon, th’ inconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circle orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.
(II. ii. 114-116)
These verses serve as another memorable addition to the widely anticipated balcony scene. Delivered by Juliet, these lines are meant a warning for Romeo. Juliet uses different phases of the moon as an analogy for inconsistent love that is subject to change.
Refusing to settle for anything other than an everlasting commitment, Juliet firmly informs Romeo that any love governed by changing conditions or fluctuating emotions is not an option for her.
And yet I wish but for the thing I have;
My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.
(II. ii. 139-142)
These verses have been delivered by Juliet while conversing with Romeo. In these verses, she professes the authenticity of her deep love for Romeo by equating it with the unfathomable sea. Similar to the vast, unimaginable expanse of the sea, Juliet’s true feelings for Romeo cannot be quantified. In effect, similar to the boundless sea, Juliet pledges that her unconditional love for Romeo will never diminish or falter.
Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.
(II. iii. 101)
The aforementioned succinct advice has been delivered by Friar Lawrence to the two star-crossed lovers. By urging Romeo and Juliet to exercise a degree of caution and moderation in their love, Friar Lawrence is emphasizing the significance of mature wisdom in relation to impulsive actions.
Although the aforesaid advice is specifically addressed to the young lovers, it holds universal appeal since it highlights the tragic consequences of hasty decisions taken in the heat of passion.
Good gentle youth, tempt not a desperate man.
Romeo makes the above assertion in response to Paris’ accusation that Romeo is responsible for Juliet’s apparent suicide. Romeo warns Paris that he better not tests Romeo’s patience since a man caught in the midst of desperate situation is likely to resort to violence. Unfortunately, however, Paris does not heed Romeo’s advice and inadvertently ends up being killed.