Use the meanings below to re-write the Prince's speech from Romeo and Juliet in plain Modern English.  Act 5, Sc. iii, lines 302- 306 Word:       New meanings scourge  -   punishment winking...

Use the meanings below to re-write the Prince's speech from Romeo and Juliet in plain Modern English.


Act 5, Sc. iii, lines 302- 306

Word:       New meanings

scourge  -   punishment

winking   -   ignoring

discords  -  fighting

brace     -    two

kinsmen  -  family members

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Naturally, with any rewriting of Shakespearean text into modern language, there can be different approaches.  The basic speech is below:

Where be these enemies? Capulet, Montage,
See what a scourge is laid upon your hate,
That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love!
And I, for winking at you, discords too,(305)
Have lost a brace of kinsmen. All are punish'd.

I highlighted the words specified in the subtext of the question.  The rewrite of this speech should involve the Prince speaking to both heads of the households, with the corpses of the children in front of him.  It is almost as if the Prince, who has been fairly useless in stopping the violence, is surveying the damage of both the families' animosity and his own ineffectiveness in front of him.  The rewriting of this speech could be in the following context:

Where are these two rivals?  Capulet, Montague,

Do you see the punishment for your hatred?

I can only hope that some divine force kills your hate, replacing it with love.

I am also to blame as I ignored your fighting.

I have lost two family members, also.  All of us suffer as a result of this hatred.

Two things jump out about the Prince here.  The reference to the "brace" reflects a potential identification with Romeo and Juliet.  Another point is that it's interesting that the Prince argues that he "ignored" the fighting.  This is not the case, as the Prince has paid attention to the fighting throughout the play.  Yet, rather than admit to his own ineffectiveness, he suggests that his ignoring it was to blame.  I think that this is an interesting character move on the part of the Prince.

ewoodward eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are many interpretations of Shakespeare's words, so here is another to consider:

Where are the enemies, Capulet and Montague?

See the punishment for your feud?

Heaven (God or fate) has found a way to kill your children with love!

And because I ignored your fighting, I am punished too.

I have lost two family members as well.

Everyone is punished!


Romeo and Juliet commit suicide because they love each other, yet the feud and Romeo's banishment for killing Tybalt, prevents them from being together.  Romeo and Juliet are the only surviving children in both families, so when they take their lives, fate (or God) takes all their parents have left.  Prince Escalus assumes responsibility as well.  Although he did work to end the feud by threatening death to anyone caught fighting in Verona, his punishment was clearly ineffective, and in the end he lost his cousin Mercutio and family member Count Paris.  By the end of the play, Mercutio, Tybalt, Paris, Lady Montague, Romeo and Juliet are all dead.  There are few people in Verona who have not suffered a loss as a result of the feud; therefore, everyone in the town is punished.

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Romeo and Juliet

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