In Romeo and Juliet, act 2 scene 2 lines 35-65, what is the significance of Juliet's play upon the meaninglessness of one's name?William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Certainly, there is dramatic irony in the words of Juliet,

O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name!
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I'll no longer be a Capulet. (2.2.35-38)

For, it is virtually impossible for either Romeo or Juliet to remove from themselves their familial identities. Further, their names ironically become the most meaningful part of their lives, as Juliet subconsciously recognizes,

yet I know the sound.
Art thou not Romeo, and a Montague

 For, the names Montague and Capulet act as the catalysts for the embittered dual between Tybalt and Mercutio which ends tragically with Mercutio's sacrifice of his life to the Montague/Capulet feud; their names generate the violence that erupts in Romeo, causing him to slay Tybalt in retaliation for the death of his dear friend; their names effect his banishment; their names force the secretiveness of Juliet's escape from the betrothal to Paris and her eventual death; their names bring Friar Laurence to his desperate situation, and Romeo to his tragic end.  

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Romeo and Juliet

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