Explain the meaning of the quote "Then love-devouring death do what he dare / It is enough I may but call her mine" in Romeo and Juliet.

In the quote "Then love-devouring death do what he dare / It is enough I may but call her mine" in Romeo and Juliet, Romeo is saying that the only thing that is important to him is that he can call Juliet his. No matter what hard times come their way, even death, he is alright as long as he has her. This is evidence of Romeo's love but also his naivety.

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In this line from Shakespeare's tragedy Romeo and Juliet, Romeo is saying that no matter what happens to him and Juliet, even if death comes along and "devours" their love, the only thing that is important to him is that right now, he can call her his. He says this when he is talking to Friar Laurence, right before the Friar marries the couple. This line sums up how Romeo is overwhelmed with love and excitement about his upcoming marriage. All he can think about is how happy he is that he is getting married to this woman, and nothing, not even the thought of death, can cloud that thought.

This line is proof of Romeo's infatuation with and dedication to Juliet, but it is also evidence of his naivety and immaturity. Romeo's devotion is admirable, but it also developed so fast, and he speaks about love like many young adults—as if it is an everlasting thing that can survive anything. This, as we see in the end, is not the case, and Romeo's lack of practical thinking complicates his troubles. Also, recall that before Romeo met Juliet, he thought he could not live without Rosaline. This shows how quickly and impulsively his emotions change, even if they are strong in the moment.

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It's act 2, scene 6 of Romeo and Juliet, and the title characters are on the brink of getting married. Friar Laurence is on hand to perform the honors, to make the two young lovebirds' relationship respectable in the eyes of the Church.

Not long before the ceremony begins, the Friar expresses the heartfelt wish that the heavens will smile upon the forthcoming nuptials and that nothing will happen in the fulness of time to make anyone regret that the marriage took place.

Romeo agrees with a hearty "Amen, amen." But he goes on to say that, whatever misfortunes should befall the young couple, they will never be able to ruin the immense joy that Romeo feels whenever he casts eyes upon his beloved Juliet. Not even death—"love-devouring death," as Romeo calls it, the death that destroys love—matters in the overall scheme of things.

What does matter—indeed, the only thing that matters to Romeo—is that he can say that Juliet belongs to him: that "I may but call her mine." All that Romeo requires of Friar Lawrence, then, is for him to join him and Juliet together in holy matrimony, to "close [their] hands with holy words." After that, whatever will be, will be.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
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