What are four quotes about impulsiveness in Romeo and Juliet?

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Sampson and Gregory, of the house of Capulet, first enter in Act 1, scene 1, Sampson tells Gregory, "I strike quickly, being moved" (1.1.5).  In other words, when he is made angry, he hits fast and hard.  Further, it isn't difficult for a member of the house of Montague to make him angry; therefore, he is somewhat rash and impulsive as far as the Montagues are concerned.

When first we see Paris speaking with Lord Capulet, he is quite anxious to convince Juliet's father to allow her to marry him right away.  When Capulet suggests that Paris wait another two years for her, Paris says, "Younger than she are happy mothers made" (1.2.13).  However, Juliet's father will not be swayed by Paris's attempts to persuade him, and he retorts that those who become mothers so young are often damaged by the experience.  Paris is disappointed that his impulsive desire to marry Juliet as soon as possible is rejected, for now, by her father.

Despite the fact that Romeo had been so loathe to attend the party at the Capulets' house because he was so upset over Rosaline, as soon as he sees Juliet, he asks, "Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight / For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night" (1.5.59-60).  In other words, he feels himself to be instantly in love with this girl he's never before seen, let alone spoken to. This is surely impulsive.

Then, when he and his friends are leaving, Romeo says to himself, "Can I go forward when my heart is here? / Turn back, dull earth, and find thy center out" (2.1.15-16).  He runs back into the Capulets' property to look for Juliet, scaling the wall around her garden and finding her up on her balcony.  Romeo's impulsivity in darting back into the Capulet estate—where he would be killed if he were found—is really dangerous for him, but it does not stop him, because he feels himself to be in love.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Romeo and Juliet is filled with textual examples of Romeo and Juliet's impulsiveness.

1. "To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss" (I, v, 96). This line, spoken by Romeo, speaks to the impulsive nature of his love for Juliet. The line is spoken at their first true physical meeting and Romeo is already in love, deeply, with Juliet. This impulsiveness is compounded by the fact that Romeo has already forgotten Rosaline.


I have no joy of this contract tonight:
It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden;
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be
Ere one can say "It lightens" (II, ii, 117-120).

Here, while Juliet recognizes the impulsiveness of her love for Romeo ("too rash, too unadvised, too sudden"), it does not deter her from her love for Romeo. Instead, she later asks Romeo to consider marriage.

3. "Thy purpose marriage, send me word tomorrow" (II, ii, 144). Here, Juliet proves to be just as impulsive as Romeo. She is moved by his honorable love and immediately wishes to marry him. Therefore, she does not wish to wait long, or give Romeo time to really consider the proposal, to marry.

4. "Wisely and slow: they stumble that run fast" (II, iii, 94). This line is spoken by Friar Laurence to Romeo. Romeo is telling the friar that he must move, "stand on sudden haste" (which also speaks to impulsive behavior). The friar is warning Romeo that impulsiveness will lead to one's downfall and, therefore, speaks to the tragic nature of both the play and foreshadows the deaths of both Romeo and Juliet.

teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Friar Laurence speaks of his surprise at Romeo's impulsive switch, in the course of a night, from love of Rosaline to Juliet:

Holy St. Francis, what a change is here!/Is Rosaline, that thou didst love so dear/so soon forsaken?

Juliet expresses the impulsiveness of her rush to the altar through her impatience with her nurse, who is acting as a go-between. Juliet says of her: 

O, she is lame! Love's heralds should be thoughts,/ which ten times faster glide than the sun's beams

Shakespeare, enjoying the desperate adolescent desire to act impulsively and have everything now, continues to have fun with Juliet's sense of haste as she waits for her nurse:

But old folks, many feign as they were dead;/Unwieldly, slow, heavy and pale as lead./O God, she comes!

Friar Laurence chides Romeo on his impulsive haste to be married the day after he has just met Juliet:

These violent delights have violent ends

Although this play is a tragedy, Shakespeare wryly treats Romeo and Juliet's panting teenage passion for each other by playing up the comic vein. These two can hardly wait a minute! This is as much a play about adolescence, a time of lust, impulsiveness, impatience, and the agonies of the moment, as about the futility of a feud or the tragic consequences of doomed love.


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Romeo and Juliet

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