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What does Romeo and Juliet teach us about identity?

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user21 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted November 25, 2007 at 7:29 PM via web

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What does Romeo and Juliet teach us about identity?

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sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 25, 2007 at 9:53 PM (Answer #1)

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In Romeo and Juliet, the characters are judged on account of their names.  The Montagues hate the Capulets, and vice versa.  It doesn't matter what a person is really like, only what their name is.

However, the characters of Romeo and Juliet challenge this.  Their love shows that they do not connect identity with name.  In one of Shakespeare's most famous quotes, Juliet says the following:

"What's in a name?/a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

This demonstrates that identity is a result of define charactersitics about the person himself, and not tied into the name - or even the background - of that person.

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