What does this mean: "Tis but thy name that is my enemy Thou art thy self, though not a Montague. O be some other name"? act 2 scene 2

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shaketeach's profile pic

shaketeach | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

I totally agree but to fully understand these words, it is necessary to look at the whole speech and the context of that speech.

When she says this, she does not know that Romeo is eavesdropping on her spoken thoughts.

When she woke up that morning, she was a normal nearly fourteen year old girl.  In the afternoon, she is told by her mother that her father has talk to young Paris who wishes to marry her.  She urges Juliet look upon him with favor that night at the mask ball.  She then meets a young man that for some reason she is attracted to only to find out that the young man she is interested in is a Montague, the family's arch enemy.

It is in this speech that she says, "...That which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet:..."

For the first time in her young life, Juliet questions what she has been told her entire life.  She realizes that judging somebody because of their name or by extension religion, color, culture, tribe, etc. is stupid.  When analysed, it doesn't make any sense.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In this line, Juliet is lamenting the fact that she is in love with a man whose family is the enemy of her family.  She is saying that it is only his family, and not he himself, that is her enemy.  She is saying that she wishes that he could just have some other name because then she would be able to love him without being conflicted.

In this play, Romeo's family and Juliet's family are enemies.  This is the cause of all the trouble that the two face.  Juliet, in this line, is simply wishing that this was not the case.  If only Romeo could have some other name, she could love him for himself and not have to worry about the fact that their families are enemies.

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