Can you please explain this quote from Act V of Romeo and Juliet?“Capulet, Montague, See what a scourge is laid upon your hate, that heaven finds means to kill your joys with love! And I, for...

Can you please explain this quote from Act V of Romeo and Juliet?

“Capulet, Montague, See what a scourge is laid upon your hate, that heaven finds means to kill your joys with love! And I, for winking at you, discords too, have lost a brace of kinsmen. All are punish'd”.

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the Act Five, Scene 3 of "Romeo and Juliet," the Prince has been informed that Romeo and Juliet, who have secretly been married, are dead.  When he arrives at the Capulet tombs, Friar Laurence, who has been detained as a suspect, tells him the details of the marriage, Romeo's staying in Mantua until he is told that he can return, the missed message to Romeo that Juliet is still alive because Balthasar has been kept from entering the quarantined city, and Romeo's desperate suicide and murder of Paris.

After he reads Romeo's letter to his father that he has given to Balthasar, the Prince states, "This letter doth make good the friar's words" (V,iii,297), and then he calls upon Lord Montague and Lord and Lady Capulet, telling them that their feud has been the cause of the tragic deaths of their children.  They receive punishment (scourge) from their hatred.  The Prince's line,"That Heaven finds means to kill your joys with love!" (V,iii,304) is ironic, for the love shared by Romeo and Juliet ultimately ends their lives because they have been afraid to reveal this love. Blaming himself, the Prince says that he shut his eyes to the enmity between the families by "winking at your discords,too" (V,iii,305).  As a result he, also, has lost a pair of kinsmen (relatives).  Consequently, the Prince declares, they all have suffered:  "All are punished" (V,iii,306).

Here, at the conclusion of Shakespeare's play, nearly all the characters are on stage to bring to fulfillment what has been told to the audience by the Prologue.  The "star-crossed lovers" have reached their fateful deaths because of their impetuousness--what some term the villain of the play--and these deaths are the only occurrence that has had the power to bring together the two families as they finally reconcile.  Still, they all suffer from the tragedy.


coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In this quotation from the play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, the word "winking" can be better understood in this context by replacing it with another word - perhaps "condoning" or "ignoring." The general gist of it is that the Prince feels he has turned a blind eye to the quarreling in the past, not given it enough attention, not looking forward into the future of where it all could lead - and not punishing or deterring the perpetrators. And so now, something/someone else (Fate/God) must do the punishing. "All are punish'ed" is a quote in which the Prince includes himself for his negligence - "a brace of kinsmen" refers to the bereavement he too has suffered through the loss of members of his family. Hatred,negligence,the impulsiveness of youth and meddlesome religious interference all had a part to play in the tragedy.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This quote comes from the last scene of the play, where the Prince is scolding Capulet and Montague for the way in which their feud has caused problems and grief for everyone.

He is saying to them that they are being punished (scourged) for their hate.  God has punished them for it by allowing those they love to be killed.

He then goes on to say that he, too, is at fault.  He says that he ignored the feud (winked at it) and that because of that he has lost relatives as well.  So everyone has been punished for their mistakes.

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Romeo and Juliet

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