In the play Romeo and Juliet, what does Romeo mean when he says, "Then I defy you, stars"?  

Expert Answers info

David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write9,181 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

It means he is defying fate—or attempting to, at any rate, because unfortunately fate will ultimately defeat both Romeo and Juliet.

Romeo has just been wrongly informed of Juliet's death. His immediate reaction to this tragic situation, as well as intense sorrow, is one of angry defiance. Romeo recognizes himself as the plaything of fortune and subject to the whims of fate. But he's not going to take this lying down; he's determined to take his fate into his own hands by heading back to Verona and killing himself in Juliet's tomb.

The irony here is that in his attempts to defy fate, Romeo is actually making it happen. For when Juliet wakes from her drug-induced slumbers and sees Romeo's dead body lying next to her, she stabs herself to death, thus fulfilling the sad fate of the star-cross'd lovers.

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Jennings Williamson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)


calendarEducator since 2016

write6,537 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

Before Romeo and his friends depart for the Capulets' party, Mercutio and Benvolio do their best to get him to go.  Romeo resists for a long time but finally gives in, saying,

My mind misgives
Some...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 666 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now






check Approved by eNotes Editorial

ladyvols1 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write1,485 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Science

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

jennifer-taubenheim eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write107 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial