Romeo and Juliet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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In Romeo and Juliet, Juliet insults Romeo multiple times. Could you give me three instances in which Juliet does insult Romeo?

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Noelle Matteson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Juliet does insult her beloved a few times, once directly before her death. When she wakes to discover Romeo’s body next to her, she attempts to drink poison from the cup he still holds. She cries, “O churl! drunk all, and left no friendly drop / To help me after?” Juliet uses the insulting term “churl” in a way that is affectionate and desperate. According to her, if he had been truly kind, he would have let her drink the rest of his poison and follow him into death.

Many of Juliet’s insults towards Romeo are in a single speech, in which she both criticizes and compliments him. It is when she learns that Romeo is banished for killing her cousin Tybalt. Juliet emphasizes his deceptive beauty:

O serpent heart, hid with a flowering face!
Did ever dragon keep so fair a cave?
Beautiful tyrant! fiend angelical!
Dove-feather'd raven! wolvish-ravening lamb!
Despised substance of divinest show!
Just opposite to what thou justly seem'st,
A damned saint, an honourable villain!

She goes on to say that he is vile and deceitful fiend. However, she immediately condemns herself for speaking so harshly of her husband, rationalizing that she should be happy that he is alive.

There are other instances when Juliet teases Romeo. She says, “swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon, / … Lest that thy love prove likewise variable” and gently mocks him when he kisses her, yet there are only several instances when she truly seems angry at him.

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