In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, what qoutes refer to redemption and destruction?

Expert Answers
Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are several good lines in Romeo and Juliet that deal with both redemption and destruction.

One good redemption line takes place at the Capulet ball, when Romeo first flirts with Juliet. He refers to Juliet's hand as something holy, and refers to himself as a pilgrim. Juliet continues the analogy of religion by saying that it is holy to touch palm to palm in "holy palmers' kiss." Romeo takes this one daring step further to say that lips can do what palms do, "Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged" (Act I, Scene 5). In other words, because Juliet is "holy," kissing her will purge his sins, or redeem him.

Another good redemption line takes place when Juliet is about to drink Friar Laurence's potion. In fear, Juliet asks herself, "How if, when I am laid into the tomb, I wake before the time that Romeo comes to redeem me?" (Act IV, Scene 3). The line not only expresses Juliet's fright, but also continues the analogy that makes romantic love seem like religion. Loving Romeo has become Juliet's religion in that it is her ultimate purpose, and Romeo has become her source of redemption.

Lines dealing with destruction are a little harder to find, because the word destruction is not actually found in the play. However, it can be inferred from several lines that destruction has either been created, or is about to take place.

One good destruction line is spoken by Friar Laurence when her family finds Juliet in her state of faked death. He declares, "Heaven and yourself had part in this fair maid! now heaven hath all, and all the better is it for the maid. Your part in her you could not keep from death, but heaven keeps his part in eternal life. The most you sought was her promotion, for 'twas your heaven she should be advanc'd" (Act IV, Scene 5). In other words, Friar Laurence is accusing Juliet's family of being responsible for her death, or destruction. He is further saying that their ambition in desiring her to be married to a rich man early is the ultimate cause of her destruction.

Another good destruction line is spoken by Romeo to the apothecary, after he learns that Juliet has been declared dead: "Let me have a dram of poison, such soon-speeding gear as will disperse itself through all the veins that the life-weary taker may fall dead" (Act V, Scene 1). This line is useful because it describes Romeo's desire for death, or destruction, caused by poison.

Read the study guide:
Romeo and Juliet

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question