What reason does Paris give for not having spent much time courting Juliet?

Expert Answers
samcestmoi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The answer to this question comes at the beginning of Act IV, Scene 1, when Paris is speaking to Friar Laurence in his cell. After the Friar speaks of his distaste for Paris’s hasty marriage to Juliet, concerned because Paris does “not know the lady’s mind,” Paris gives as reason:

Immoderately she weeps for Tybalt's death,
And therefore have I little talk'd of love;
For Venus smiles not in a house of tears.
Now, sir, her father... 
...hastes our marriage,
To stop the inundation of her tears

He has not spoken to Juliet of his love because she has been in mourning after Tybalt’s death (although she secretly weeps as much for Romeo’s banishment as for the death of her cousin), and it would be improper to bring up the subject during such a time. Despite this lack of communication, Juliet’s father has scheduled their marriage for that very same week, in order to, by a union of love, stem the flow of his daughter’s tears. Thus they will be married despite Paris’s lack of courtship, in order to lessen the pain of the tragedy that has fallen upon the family. Of course, little could they know that a greater tragedy is yet to come, stemming from these very same actions.

kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act IV, Scene I, Paris reveals his reason for not spending much time courting Juliet. Specifically, he says that she is too sad about what happened to Tybalt:

Immoderately she weeps for Tybalt’s death.

Paris therefore does not spend time courting Juliet because he knows that she is not in the right frame of mind for romance. In his opinion, it is pointless to talk about love when somebody is in the depths of a bitter grief:

For Venus smiles not in a house of tears.

In Roman mythology, Venus is the goddess of love. By referencing her, Paris implies that he knows Juliet will not reciprocate his amorous feelings when her mind is dominated by Tybalt's death.

Juliet's sadness, however, does not ultimately stand in the way of their marriage plans. Juliet's father, Lord Capulet, believes that marrying Paris will expedite his daughter's recovery, and so he insists that the two are wed as soon as possible.

Read the study guide:
Romeo and Juliet

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question