In the play Romeo and Juliet, what circumstances (such as place, time and familial relationships) limit Romeo's freedom? 

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appletrees eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The primary limitation upon Romeo's freedom is based in the feud between his family (the Montagues) and Juliet's family (the Capulets). The feud has existed for a very long time and there is such enmity between the families that Romeo's love for Juliet literally places him in grave danger. When he goes to visit her home (in the famous balcony scene), Juliet speak his name (when she thinks she is alone) and wishes he had any other name, so that they could be together. When she realizes he is there, she asks "Art thou not Romeo, and a Montague?" and he playfully counters with "Neither, fair maid, if either thee dislike."

He clearly does not worry about the dangers of their meeting as much as Juliet does. She questions his foolhardy actions. She asks "How came'st thou hither, and wherefore? The orchard walls are high and hard to climb, and the place death, considering who thou art, if any of my kinsmen find thee here." 

He responds that "stony limits cannot hold love out...and what love can do, that dares love attempt, therefore thy kinsman are no stop to me."

She warns him further: "If they do see thee, they will murder thee." She is not exaggerating, and in a later scene, Mercutio is slain in a brawl where the intended target is Romeo.

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Romeo and Juliet

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