What are the 3 major traits of Romeo during acts 4 and 5 of "Romeo and Juliet"?thanks for your help..

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Romeo is really not in Act IV of "Romeo and Juliet"; the only mention of him is in scene 1 in which Friar Laurence tells Juliet that while she will appear dead and be put into the family vault, a letter will be sent to Romeo in Mantua informing him of Juliet's feigned death; Romeo will hasten to the vault and be there waiting when Juliet awakens and

Shall Romeo bear thee hence to Mantua./And this shall free thee from this present shame; (IV,i,117-118)

But, in Act V, Romeo displays his major traits of impetuosity, rash judgment, and despair.

  1. Impatience/Impetuosity - Romeo has a dream that Juliet comes and finds him dead, but she is able to breathe life into him with her kisses and make him an emperor.  When Balthasar arrives, Romeo learns from him that Juliet is in the Capulet vault.  Instantly, Romeo declares, "Then I defy you stars!" and hastily plans to ride to Verona, sending Balthasar to procure horses after Balthasar reports that he has no letter from the friar.  Even though Balthasar begs to "have patience," Romeo continues with his impetuous plan. Hastily, Romeo decides to buy poison.  Despite the apothecary's argument that it is against the law for him to sell "such mortal drugs," Romeo insists and plays upon the man's "need and oppression," bribing him with money.  Then, he rushes to Verona, where he has been forbidden to be.  At the tomb, he forbids Balthasar to "not interrupt me in my course" (V,iii,   )
  2. Defiance - Just as he has defied fate with his declaration, Romeo defies the grave he attempts to enter:


Thou detestable maw, thou womb of death,/Gorged with the dearest morself of the earth,/Thus I enforce thy rotten jaws to open,/And,in despite,/I'll cram thee with more food! (V,iii,44-48)

Another trait is demonstrated in this final act as well:  Romeo's utter despair, a trait he demonstrated to some extent in the first act and he bemoaned his loss of Rosaline.  As he contemplates his death, Romeo states that he will again defy the stars:

A dateless bargain to engrossing death!/Come, bitter conduct, come, unsavoury guide!/Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on/The dashing rocks thy seasick wary bark!/Here's to my love!...Thus with a kiss I die. (V,iii, 115-120)

3. Despair - In Act One, with apprehension, Romeo contemplated his "fearful date" with the "night's revels" in which he feared some "vile forfeit of untimely death."  Yet, he concedes to fate, saying said, "But he, that hath the steerage of my course,/Direct my sail!  On, lusty gentlemen. (I,iv,83-89)

Again at the end of Act I, Romeo expresses his fear/despair that he is a victim of fate.  When Benvolio tells him to hurry away from Juliet because "the sport is at the best," Romeo replies, "Ay, so I fear; the more is my unrest.../That I must love a loathed enemy" (I,v,125-136)  Then, later, in Act III Romeo calls out "O, I am fortune's fool!" so his despair has been present throughout the play.