Romeo and Juliet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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

When Romeo says "Then I defy you, stars!" after Balthasar tells him that Juliet has died (or appears to have died) in act 5, scene 1 of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Romeo seems to be cursing fate and also deciding to take fate into his own hands.

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When Romeo woke up that morning in act 5 scene 1 of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, he was feeling pretty good. The night before, he had a dream about Juliet.

ROMEO. I dreamt my lady came and found me dead
(Strange dream that gives a dead man leave to think!)
And breath'd such life with kisses in my lips
That I reviv'd and was an emperor. (5.1.6-9)

Romeo remarks that being in love is wonderful, and even his dreams are happy.

ROMEO. Ah me! how sweet is love itself possess'd,
When but love's shadows are so rich in joy! (5.1.10-11)

Romeo's serving man, Balthasar, arrives, and Romeo peppers him with questions for news from Verona.

ROMEO. News from Verona! How now, Balthasar?
Dost thou not bring me letters from the friar?
How doth my lady? Is my father well?
How fares my Juliet? That I ask again,
For nothing can be ill if she be well. (5.1.12-16).

Balthasar tries to delay telling Romeo that Juliet is dead (or appears to be dead), and that she's been laid to rest in the Capulets' tomb.

BALTHASAR. Then she is...

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