This soliloquy tells of what might have been. Romeo notes that his sleep may be “flattering,” as in all too hopeful. Since this is a tragedy, he is correct on this matter. That his “dreams presage some joyful news at hand” sounds deeply ironic considering news of Juliet’s death soon reaches him. However, his dream is not entirely misleading. Perhaps this “truth of sleep” presaged the good news that the friar attempted to send him. The letter would have put Romeo in “cheerful thoughts,” for he would have been able to reunite with his love and possibly even unite the families with the friar’s help. The audience is warned from the beginning that this is a tragedy, so this spark of hope only creates dramatic irony and tension.
In the dream, Juliet finds and kisses Romeo. This actually does happen. After Romeo dies, Juliet kisses him in order to draw poison from his lips. His lips are still warm. One almost wonders if Romeo experiences something akin to his fantasy. Perhaps Juliet’s love was so powerful that Romeo—who for some strange reason could “think”—felt the kiss of life and awoke with her in the afterlife, as “an emperor.” Whatever the case, Romeo’s thoughts about love are almost as wonderful as love itself: “how sweet is love itself possess'd, / When but love's shadows are so rich in joy!”
Of course, this does not happen in the play, as far as the audience witnesses. Romeo dies “with a kiss,” drinking poison immediately before kissing Juliet, and Juliet promptly stabs herself after kissing him. They are kisses of death rather than life. However, in a metaphysical sense, perhaps these kisses give life to their legendary love. They certainly create peace between their families.