What are Romeo's tragic flaws?

Romeo's tragic flaw is his rashness. He rushes into action without thinking quickly, such as when he marries Juliet after only knowing her for a short time.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Romeo's tragic flaw is his impetuosity, his rashness of action before thinking thoroughly. You would want to look for examples of this behavior. Examples include:

  • Falling in "love" with Juliet within minutes of meeting her, even after finding out that she was a Capulet.
  • Forgetting about Rosaline within minutes of meeting Juliet, though he had been depressed for weeks due to his unrequited love.
  • Leaving his friends after the Capulet ball and climbing back into the Capulet compound, where he would be killed if discovered.
  • Swearing his love for Juliet during the balcony scene, and asking her to marry him.
  • Lying to the friar to get him to marry the couple by implying that he had sex with Juliet the night before. The friar then felt obligated to "erase" that sin by marrying them after the fact (as well as to end the feud).
  • Holding Mercutio back before Benvolio had the chance to do the same with Tybalt, allowing Tybalt to stab Mercutio "under [Romeo's] arm."
  • Killing Tybalt in anger despite knowing the consequences, which should have been execution.
  • Threatening to kill himself with a dagger after the friar informs him that he is banished, not sentenced to death.
  • Buying poison from the apothecary, bullying him into accepting the money though the sale of poison was illegal and punishable by death.
  • Killing Paris without even knowing who he was. Paris had come to the Capulet tomb to innocently place flowers for his 'dead' fiance. He thought that Romeo was there to defile the crypt.
  • Killing himself though he should have realized that Juliet was alive. After two days, Juliet shouold not have still had rosy lips and supple flesh. Romeo notices this, but cannot figure out that she must be alive. He rashly poisons himself though she  awakened within minutes.
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial