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In the play "Romeo and Juliet," what are some quotes about violence, prejudice, and/or...

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jkl2428 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 6, 2009 at 12:18 AM via web

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In the play "Romeo and Juliet," what are some quotes about violence, prejudice, and/or moral decisions?

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troubador | eNoter

Posted June 6, 2009 at 1:26 AM (Answer #1)

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Things that leap out at me whenever I read that play, which I must say I like less and less out of all Shakespeare's very fine work (but he never asks us to like his characters) are these:

At one point, Juliet says of Romeo- after learning he killed Tybalt -"O, serpent heart/hid 'neath a flowering face..." then,even when declaring remaining love for the (in my opinion) immature fellow, she talks of "cutting him up to be little stars" which I find to be a rather violent depiction of love.

And of course there is Mercutio, who like many of the Bard's characters is named as he is, mercurial, at one moment funny and the next enraged. He was wrong to challenge Tybalt over Romeo's protest; too temperamental, and he died for it.

Then again, when Romeo finds Paris swooning over the supposedly dead Juliet at the tomb, Romeo is enraged, and tragically and needlessly kills both Paris (for just being there) and himself, because he thinks Juliet is dead. Hellooo! Can't a man wait and grieve a bit first; be a man?

Then Jule immediately decides she would also rather be "cut up" (though that isn't said here) and kills herself too. What a mess! Friar Laurence and Benevolio (sp. Think it was him, waiting-) are nearly charged with stabbing all three.

Much ado about nothing = the setup of a family feud between Montagues and Capulets, et cetera, but done so that Shakespeare, I learned it right here, could change the normal course of such goings-on and compress the action into about a week; also to let it occur with young 'nobodies' instead of a king and queen over months and even years.

Morality is a slim thing here, from the moment Romeo immediately forgets what was supposed to be undying love for Rosaline, Act One, Scene One. Seems to me no one but the Prince behaves at all, though even he has to say something he couldn't possibly know at the very end- "For never was a love so/like that of Juliet and her Romeo."

I sigh with relief 'til I look for a specific quote again.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 6, 2009 at 4:56 AM (Answer #2)

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Here are some quotes:

MORALITY

  • But Montague is bound as well as I/In penalty alike, and 'tis not hard, I think,/For men so old as we to keep the peace (I,ii,1-3) [obeying the law]
  • Verona brags of him [Romeo]/To be virtuous and well-governed youth (I,v,64-65) [Romeo has a virtuous character]
  • Come, come with me, and we will make short work,/For, by your leves, you shall not stay alone/Till Holy Church incorporate two in one. (II,vi,35-37) [Friar Laurence will not let Romeo and Juliet be alone together unless they are married]
  • Then, since the case so stands as now it doth,/I think it best you married with the County/....I think you are happy in this second match,/For it excels your first...Your first is dead, or 'twere as good he were/As living here and you no use of him. (III,v,219-227) [Lack of morality--The Nurse advises Juliet to marry Paris knowing Juliet is already married.]
  • I'll to the Friar, to know his remedy/If all else fail, myself have power to die. (III,v,241-242) Immoral idea - suicide
  • Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,/Which mannerly devotion shows in this;/For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch,/And palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss. (I,v,92-95)[In her sonnet with Romeo, Juliet displays having been instilled with morals.]

VIOLENCE and PREJUDICE

  • 'Tis all one, I will show myself a tyrant./Draw thy tool.  Here comes two of the house of Montagues./My naked weapon is out.  Quarrel--I will back thee. (I,i,12-14) [The play opens with violence as Sampson and Gregory prepare to fight with Abaraham of the Montagues.]
  • Rebellious subject...Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace. (I,i,70) [Prince threatens death to offenders of the peace]
  • Aye, madam, from the reach of these my hands./Would none but I might vernge my sousin's death!....We will haave vengeance for it, fear thou not.(III,v,86-93) [Lady Capulet vows revenge against Romeo for the death of Tybalt.]
  • This, by his voice, should be a Montague/Fetch me my rapier, boy....To strike him dead I hold it not a sin. (I,v, 54-55)[Tybalt wants to kill Romeo--violence, prejudice, immoral behavior
  • What, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds?/...What, drawn, and talk of peace!  I hate the word/As I hat Hell, all Montagues, and thee./Have at thee, coward! (I,i,39-45) {Tybalt displays both violence and prejudice against the Montagues]

 

 

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troubador | eNoter

Posted June 6, 2009 at 6:05 AM (Answer #3)

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Teacher, I like your quotes. However, most of them seem to me like quotes from people who are to die and/or pay too dearly to live peacefully and happily.

Do you forget the fit Romeo had in Juliet's tomb on catching sight of Paris? Paris was an innocent, a duped innocent, just mourning. Romeo first had to rake him with threats and invectives (hardly the Christians you seem to be wanting to represent, none of them) and kill him before killing himself. Tybalt was also a dupe of the not-well-described family feud, and thought he was protecting Juliet and his extended family as well.

Fiar Laurence is hardly a holy man just because he suggests unconsummated marriage, then offers to be the go-between to get some death-like inducing poison to trick people, then be late; everything important in that play happens too late.

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