What are some quotes from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet that show Romeo was not in love with Juliet, he was just immature?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There is definitely a sense that Romeo is immature and infatuated rather than ready for a long-term relationship. The first issue is that he is fickle. The ease with which he abandons Rosaline on first seeing Juliet is evidence that he is impulsive rather than mature in his decisions. A quotation to support this is:

Is Rosaline, whom thou didst love so dear,

So soon forsaken? young men's love then lies

Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes (Act I, Scene 3, lines 66-69).

Since Romeo has spent most of the first act expressing a deep passion for another woman, it's hard to believe that we should take his instant switch in his affections at the sight of Juliet very seriously. 

This quotation also supports the theory that Romeo seems to be mistaking lust for love. He is attracted mainly by outward appearances, as can be seen in his praise of Juliet's beauty:

The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars.

This does not seem like a solid basis for a lasting relationship. 

Romeo's romantic gesture of climbing over the wall is actually another sign of his immaturity. He risks his own death and dishonoring Juliet by doing this, but rather than thinking about the effect of his actions on Juliet or their families, he says,

And what love can do that dares love attempt;
Therefore thy kinsmen are no let to me.

This shows he is very self-centered, thinking only of immediate gratification of lust rather than about how his actions will affect the people around him.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

One good quote that can be used to question the depth of Romeo's love can be found in Friar Laurence's reaction to Romeo's sudden change of heart. Friar Laurence accuses him of being fickle, saying,

Is Rosaline, whom thou didst love so dear,
So soon forsaken? young men's love then lies
Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes. (I.iii.66-69)

In other words, Friar Laurence is saying that because of his youth, Romeo does not truly know what love is but instead mistakes love for lust.

Another good passage portraying that Romeo mistakes love for lust is spoken by Romeo himself. When Romeo first beholds Juliet at Capulet's feast, Romeo asks himself,

Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight!
For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night. (I.v.54-55)

In this passage, when Romeo asks if his "heart" loved, he replies by referring to his eyes, telling his eyes to "renounce," or give up, the idea that he knew love. Furthermore, Romeo's reference to beauty shows that he correlates love with only the acknowledgement of beauty. It can also be said that he is confusing love for lust. Hence, we see even through this passage that it is Romeo's youth that leads him to mistake love for lust, and prevents him from fully understanding the depth of love.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial