What do these lines from Act 2, Scene 6 of Romeo and Juliet mean? These violent delights have violent endsAnd in their triumph die, like fire and powder,Which as they kiss consume: the sweetest...

What do these lines from Act 2, Scene 6 of Romeo and Juliet mean?

These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume: the sweetest honey
Is loathsome in his own deliciousness
And in the taste confounds the appetite:
Therefore love moderately; long love doth so;
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.

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andrewnightingale's profile pic

Posted on

These words are spoken by friar Laurence in response to Romeo's request that he should hurry up to conduct his and Juliet's marriage. The words are actually advisory in nature and the friar uses metaphors to allude to Romeo and Juliet's rushed conjugation.

Friar Laurence is saying that the couple's fiery and aggressive passion would end just as savagely as it had begun, implying that this great desire for each other would suddenly die at its pinnacle, just as fire and gunpowder do. The one ignites the other, and the burst they create exists for a brief but exhilaratingly profound period and then quickly fizzles out. 

Friar Laurence uses another comparison when he further states that honey which is very sweet ironically becomes abhorrent because it contains too much sweetness. Such honey is distasteful and when one has a taste of it, one is put off. Because of its gross sweetness, the honey's true value cannot be appreciated and its taste cannot be truly savored.

The friar advises Romeo to love in moderation since this is the quality of an enduring love. If he rushes into love, he might never achieve true, meaningful and lasting love (more haste, less speed). It would only be a short, bright flame that would quickly die out. 

Top Answer

robertwilliam's profile pic

Posted on

Here's a rough paraphrase of Friar Laurence's lines, and I've tried to keep it in the same line configuration as Shakespeare does so you can see which line refers to which:

Violently-begun affections end violently,
And, as they come to fruition, they die. Just like fire and gunpowder,
Which, as you put them together ("kiss") blow up. The sweetest honey
Can be sickly in being too sweet,
And tasting it can make you not want to eat it.
Therefore, Romeo, love moderately: long-lasting loves do that.
Too quick, in the end, comes as late as too slow does.

 

These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume: the sweetest honey
Is loathsome in his own deliciousness
And in the taste confounds the appetite:
Therefore love moderately; long love doth so;
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.

Hope it helps!

teachersage's profile pic

Posted on

Both Romeo and Juliet are in a frantic rush to get to the altar after only having known each other for one day. In this scene, Romeo is on fire for Juliet to arrive at Friar Laurence's cell so that they can get married. Friar Laurence counsels Romeo to moderate his passion. He tells Romeo that if he is too on fire, if his love is too passionate ("violent") it will come to a bad end. He compares it to fire meeting gunpowder, which explode ("consume") when they touch ("kiss"). He says, essentially, that if Romeo isn't careful, his love will burn out far too quickly. Friar Laurence then compares too much love to too much honey. If you eat too much of it too fast,  he says, it may taste sweet at first, but you quickly get filled up and then get sick of it and lose your appetite for it. He is telling Romeo to slow down on the passion. A more moderate love will last longer, he says, and a love that arrives too quickly is as bad as one that comes too late.

Saying "violent delights have violent ends" also foreshadows what is to come for these lovers who will soon commit suicide.

Sources:

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