In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, what are the similarities and differences between Romeo and Paris?

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In terms of similarities, both Paris and Romeo have good hearts.  They both seem to have genuine feelings for Juliet, and whether or not we believe that they could actually be in love with her, they both feel themselves to be.  The fact that Paris goes to the Juliet's vault to strew flowers and weep over her death shows that his feelings are strong and genuine.  Then, when Romeo arrives at the grave, Paris confronts him in order to protect Juliet's body, and when Romeo mortally wounds him, he begs Romeo to place his body near Juliet's.  Romeo also takes risks for his love of Juliet -- in her garden, in her bedroom -- and his feelings seem sincere as well.  The fact that he returns to Verona to die by her side seems evidence enough of the strength of his feelings.

In terms of differences, Romeo seems to enjoy witty wordplay, clever puns, and jokes that rely on sexual innuendo; in other words, he seems fairly intelligent and he enjoys displaying that cleverness, especially with Mercutio.  However, Paris doesn't have that same sort of cleverness; he seems a little more innocent, perhaps, than Romeo.  The fact that he approaches Lord Capulet for his daughter's hand shows that he tends to play much more according to the rules, while Romeo seems a little less predictable, like he has more of a mischievous side. 

cldbentley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are some obvious similarities between County Paris and Romeo Montague.  They are both young men who come from wealthy families; however, Paris is a relative of Prince Escalus, so their social standing is not equal.  Both young men are certainly passionate and impulsive.  Each of the boys falls in love (or something they believe is love) with Juliet and devotes himself to her without actually knowing her.  I would say that the actions of Paris and Romeo show a lack of common sense and maturity.  Each of the two is ruled by his emotions.

There are definite differences between County Paris and Romeo.  Although Paris does not seem to realize that Juliet is not interested in him, he does take the proper steps necessary to securing her as his wife.  Romeo acts in secret and ignores the rules and conventions of society. 

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Romeo and Juliet

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