romeo and juliet identify two puns in lines 11-22

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sciftw's profile pic

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

Posted on

I agree with the above answer. Without knowing exactly which act and scene you are talking about, it's tough to narrow down exactly which 11 line sequence you are talking about. Act 3 scene one has some possibilities because Benvolio and Mercutio are taking quite a few verbal jabs at each other, but they don't start coming until after line 22.  

So act 1 scene 4 it is. Romeo has shown up at the Capulet party, but he is still in a major down mood because Rosaline has turned down his affections in favor of a life of celibacy. Ouch. Mercutio, bless his heart, is still trying to cheer Romeo up. Romeo responds to his encouragement by telling Mercutio that he has "dancing shoes with nimble soles." Meaning he's a good dancer and is feeling good, but Romeo has a "soul of lead." The pun is on soul/sole and Romeo turns the word to further talk about his depression. Sheesh, get over it already. 

The second pun is on the words "soar/sore." Mercutio, in Shakespearean language, tells Romeo to get over it because Romeo is a "lover. Borrow Cupid's wings and soar . . ."  Romeo responds by saying that he is "too sore . . . to soar . . . "  In other words, Romeo tell Mercutio that he is not even willing to try and woo some other beautiful girl.  

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iamkaori | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 2) Salutatorian

Posted on

Assuming you are mentioning lines 11-22 in Act 1 Scene 4, there are a few pun in these lines. I would go ahead and mention two of them.

Now I, Believe me. You have dancing shoes
With nimble soles. I have a soul of lead
So stakes me to the ground I cannot move. (I.iv.14-16)

Here they play on the words 'sole' and 'soul' for they both have similar sounds. Romeo states that he has a soul of lead, a heavy soul, and that Mercutio has a pair of dancing shoes with nimble shoe soles.

You are a lover. Borrow Cupid's wings 
And soar with them above a common bound.

I am too sore enpiereced with his shaft 
To soar with his light feathers, and so bound (I.iv.19-20)

Here Mecutio talks about 'soar' through the air, while Romeo talks about 'sore' being actual pain. They are, once again, puns.

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