Friar Laurence: These violent delights have violent ends,And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,Which, as they kiss consume: the sweetest honeyIs loathsome in his own...

Friar Laurence: 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.

Which is an example of a paradox within the excerpt?

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huntress | College Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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Friar Lawrence's comments are loaded with paradoxes--absurd, self-contradictory ideas. 

Friar Lawrence is referring to the "violent delights" of Romeo's hormone-driven passion for Juliet (as they are about to be wed). He realizes that Romeo's passion, like that of most young men, will pass with time and leave him with the woman he married who he doesn't even really know at this point. 

When he says "These violent delights have violent ends," he means that the overwhelming passion the two feel now will die as quickly as it rose. He adds that they will "in their triumph die"--a paradox, as those who triumph as usually the ones left living. He compares youthful passion to "fire and powder, / Which, as they kiss consume," which is somewhat paradoxical in the sense that kisses normally fuel passion--not consume it. 

Consider also that "the sweetest honey / Is loathsome in his own deliciousness / And in the taste confounds the appetite." More paradox: How can something sweet be "loathsome" because it is so delicious? How can it be so delicious that you don't want any of it? 

He ends his speech by warning them to "love moderately" because "long love doth so"--that is, those who have loved for many years and made their passion last have not spent it too quickly. Then ends with this odd paradox: "Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow." The meaning of this line is unclear, but it seems to suggest that it's important for the lovers to choose the right "pace" for their passion, as too fast or too slow can destroy it. He states it in a way that makes no rational sense, though: how can something that is too fast be as "tardy" as something that's too slow?  

 

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