What are some examples and quotes in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet that show the theme haste?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the most obvious examples portraying the theme of haste is Romeo and Juliet's own haste to marry. Romeo and Juliet believe that they have fallen in love at first sight, even though their love is really based on physical attraction and merely an infatuation. However, the same night that they see each other for the first time at Capulet's ball, Romeo steals away into the Capulets' garden in hopes of another look at Juliet. In the famous balcony scene, they exchange vows of love, even though Juliet thinks it is much too hasty to do so and much too soon. We see Juliet's hesitation to exchange hasty vows of love in her lines:

Although I joy in thee,
I have no joy of this contract to-night.
It is too rash, too unadvis'd, too sudden. (II.ii.122-24)

However, though Juliet is at first opposed to the idea of hastily exchanging vows of love, she next does vow her love to Romeo. She also tells him to send word to her the next morning if he is serious and proposing marriage. Hence we see that their hasty vows of love and their hasty decision to marry the day after meeting are indeed examples that portrays the theme of hastiness.

Their hastiness to marry is further portrayed in the scene in which we meet Friar Laurence. In this scene, Romeo asks Friar Laurence to marry the couple that day. Though Friar Laurence thinks marrying is foolish because he sees Romeo is far too young to know what real love is, he agrees to marry the couple because he believes the union will help put an end to the feud. Despite being told that he does not know what love is, Romeo is still so eager to marry Juliet right away that he says, "O, let us hence! I stand on sudden haste" (II.iii.96). However, Friar Laurence again shows his disapproval of the couple's hastiness in his reply, "Wisely, and slow. They stumble that run fast" (97). Hence, even this scene gives us an example of the theme of hastiness, as well as takes a stance on the issue of hastiness.

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Romeo and Juliet

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