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In "Romeo and Juliet", Juliet is 13, but how old is Romeo?

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jazlyn | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted December 3, 2008 at 6:11 AM via web

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In "Romeo and Juliet", Juliet is 13, but how old is Romeo?

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robertwilliam | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted December 3, 2008 at 7:13 AM (Answer #1)

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Good question. Juliet's age is, you're quite right, specified by the Nurse and Lady Capulet in Juliet's first scene as not-quite-fourteen.

As for Romeo's age, Shakespeare never tells us! We know - from what Friar Laurence and the Nurse comment on various occasions - that he is a "young" man (2.4.119) but we don't know precisely how young. A stage tradition has grown up of playing him as older than Juliet.

Shakespeare's sources don't really help either. Arthur Brooke's poem about Romeo and Juliet has Romeo's "tender chin" without a beard - suggesting, perhaps, anything from 12 - 18? And Bandello - whose novella Giulietta e Romeo was the source for Brooke's poem -  gives his age as 20 or 21.

So the answer is - we just don't know.

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claudia-stylesxoxo | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 2, 2012 at 3:39 AM (Answer #3)

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That's a good question, Romeo is supposedly to be around 18 or 19 years old.

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