Please paraphrase this quote from Romeo and Juliet: I, measuring his affections by my own,That most are busied when they're most alone,Pursued my humour not pursuing his,And gladly shunned who...

Please paraphrase this quote from Romeo and Juliet:

I, measuring his affections by my own,
That most are busied when they're most alone,
Pursued my humour not pursuing his,
And gladly shunned who gladly fled from me.

2 Answers

andrewnightingale's profile pic

andrewnightingale | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

These words are found in Act 1, Scene 1 and are a portion of Benvolio's reply to Lady Montague's inquiry about whether he had seen her son, Romeo. The lady is concerned about Romeo's whereabouts since she has just witnessed a brawl between members of her house and those belonging or loyal to the Capulet family. She may assume that he has been hurt or that he has fled. Her worry also stems from the fact that her son has been displaying unusual behavior of late and has been morose and withdrawn.

In his response, Benvolio states that he has seen Romeo earlier in the day but that the young Montague slipped away into the woods when he saw him approaching. 

The quote provides the reasons why Benvolio decided not to follow his friend.

I, measuring his affections by my own,
That most are busied when they're most alone,
Pursued my humour not pursuing his,
And gladly shunned who gladly fled from me.

Benvolio states that he believed that Romeo felt much the same as he did, which was to be by himself and be occupied by his thoughts. He contends that one is at one's busiest when involved in such deep thinking. He tells Lady Capulet that he decided to pursue his own pleasure and that he was happy to keep to himself by avoiding Romeo who had run away from him.

allyson's profile pic

allyson | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted on

\"I, measuring his affections by my own,--
That most are busied when they\'re most alone,--
Pursu\'d my humour, not pursuing his,
And gladly shunn\'d who gladly fled from me.\"

Benvolio speaks these words to Lady Montague in Act 1 scene i. She asked him if he had seen Romeo that day. Benvolio replies that he had seen Romeo walking this morning, but when Romeo saw him, he went towards the woods. In the lines you included, Benvolio is saying that he thought Romeo looked sad, and that he too is sad, and so decided not to go after him, since often when people are alone they are at their busiest (thinking/worrying about something). Instead Benvolio gladly let Romeo be alone.