10 Famous Quotations From Romeo And Juliet With Explanation

Romeo and Juliet is among the most popular plays ever written in the English language. Written by the master playwright William Shakespeare, it tells the story of two young lovers whose families have a long history of violence against each other. Like most plays from Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet is laden with many great dialogues. Here are 10 of the most famous quotations from the play with their explanations.


“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.”

Romeo (Act I, Scene 1)


This is a famous definition of love from the master playwright through his character Romeo. It starts by saying that love is a smoke that rises from the fume of sighs, i.e. sighs of a person who is initially attracted to someone raises love just like fumes raise smoke. If the smoke is cleared, it causes a lover’s eyes to sparkle. However if the smoke is stirred up it can create a sea of tears of the lover. In simple words Shakespeare is saying that love can be source of great happiness or great sadness depending on how it is handled.


“This bud of love, by summer’s ripening breath,
May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.”

Juliet (Act II, Scene 2)


While talking to Romeo, Juliet wishes that may their young love flourish by the time they meet again. She compares their love to a bud and hopes that summer, with its ripening effect, converts that bud into a beautiful flower.


“Give me my Romeo, and, when I shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night,
And pay no worship to the garish sun. “

Juliet (Act III, Scene 2)


Juliet says these lines while impatiently waiting for Romeo. She wants to be with Romeo now. When she is dead she can share Romeo’s beauty with the world. For if he is cut into little stars to form a constellation then Romeo’s face will make the sky so beautiful that the whole world will fall in love with night and no one will worship the bright and showy sun. It should be noted that ‘when I shall die’ was changed to ‘when he shall die’ in later editions of the play giving the lines a slightly different meaning.


“O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright.”

Romeo (Act I, Scene 5)


These lines are spoken by Romeo in praise of Juliet when he first notices her dancing with a knight. He considers Juliet’s beauty to be so great that she could teach the torches how to burn bright, i.e. her beauty emits radiance that overpowers the bright light of a torch and hence she can show the torches how to burn bright.


“See how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
O that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek! “

Romeo (Act II, Scene 2)


Romeo says these lines while delivering a soliloquy as he stands in the Capulet’s fruit garden and is viewing Juliet as she stands on her balcony. When he sees her lean her cheek upon her hand, he yearns to be a glove on her hand so that he might touch her cheek. Romeo had just met Juliet earlier in the evening and his wish to get close to her again drives him to her garden.


“But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.”

Romeo (Act II, Scene 2)


Romeo says these lines to himself when he is standing in the Capulet’s fruit garden in a bid to see Juliet and she appears on her balcony. As Juliet appears, Romeo compares her to the sun at dawn through these words. He says: But wait, what is that light that breaks through that window, it is Juliet appearing like the sun from the east.


“Tempt not a desperate man”

Romeo (Act V, Scene 3)


Romeo believes that Juliet is dead and is standing near her grave when Paris finds him, blames him for her death and challenges him. It is then that Romeo says this famous line in which he warns Paris to not mess with a person who is already so desperate that he is likely to act violently. Though Romeo doesn’t want more bloodshed he ends up killing Paris and regrets it.


“Good Night, Good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow,
that I shall say good night till it be morrow.”

Juliet (Act II, Scene 2)


Juliet speaks these lines at the end of a long scene in which they confess their love but now have to part. In what are considered one of the iconic lines of the play, Juliet is saying that parting is such a sweet sorrow that she will say good night till tomorrow. It simply means that parting between lovers is sweet because of the moments you spend while doing it and it is sorrowful because you have to part.


“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.”

Juliet (Act II, Scene 2)


In one of Shakespeare’s best known lines, Juliet is asking why Romeo has to be Romeo in a monologue, not knowing that Romeo is standing below her balcony and listening to her. She says these lines because Romeo is a Montague and she is a Capulet and their families have a long history of violence against each other. She is questioning why Romeo has to be a Montague. She wants Romeo to give up his family name and if he doesn’t, she swears she will give up being a Capulet.


“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”

Juliet (Act II, Scene 2)


One of Shakespeare’s most quoted quotations in which Juliet is saying that name is just a meaningless convention and a rose by any other name would still be a rose, with all its qualities. She says these lines because she has fallen in love with Romeo who belongs to the family of their rivals and his name makes it very difficult for them to be together. Hence she is arguing that name of things is not important, what matters is what things “are”.

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