What does this quote illustrate? "These violent delights have violent ends / And in their triumph die, like fire and powder /  Which as they kiss consume. The sweetest honey is loathsome in his own deliciousness / and in the taste confounds the appetite. Therefore love moderately. Long love doth so. Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow."

Even though Friar Laurence has agreed to marry Romeo and Juliet, he thinks it is necessary to give some advice first. The Friar explains that love begins wildly and passionately, but its initial vigor fades. He says this can be overcome and a strong relationship can be built by loving moderately and patiently. Laurence uses imagery such as fire, gun powder, and honey as ways to illustrate varying characterizations of love.

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These lines are spoken by Friar Laurence to Romeo, in act 2, scene 6, just before Romeo and Juliet get married. Friar Laurence is warning Romeo not to be too rash, reckless, or extreme in the way that he loves Juliet.

When he refers to "these violent delights," Friar Laurence is referring to the violent intensity with which Romeo and Juliet love one another. He warns Romeo that unless he and Juliet learn to love one another more moderately, their love shall result in "violent ends." Later in the play, we discover that this warning was prescient, as Romeo and Juliet's love does indeed end in violence.

Friar Laurence also compares Romeo and Juliet's love to "fire and powder." The image evoked here is of a trail of gunpowder which, when set alight, becomes a trail of fire. Often there is an explosion at the end of a gunpowder trail, and in this sense this image too foreshadows Romeo and Juliet's fate. Their love is like a trail of gunpowder running throughout the play which leads, inevitably, to an explosion. Just a few years after the play was first performed, a group of Catholics tried to blow up the House of Lords with barrels of gunpowder. The allusion in the play to "fire and powder" would have thus had a particularly strong resonance for audiences watching the play at this time.

Continuing with the same theme of loving recklessly, Friar Laurence then compares Romeo and Juliet's love to "the sweetest honey," which, when eaten too greedily and too quickly, becomes "loathsome" and can make one feel ill. In other words, Friar Laurence is saying that Romeo and Juliet are feeding upon their love too greedily and too quickly, so it will make them ill and the love "loathsome."

After comparing their love to a trail of gunpowder and too much sweet honey, Friar Laurence tells Romeo to "love moderately"—preserve the love rather than destroy it. Romeo, of course, is too naive and too much overwhelmed by his first experience of reciprocated love to heed Frair Laurence's advice. He continues to love violently and greedily, and his love, accordingly, ends in violence.

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First, Shakespeare uses an oxymoron here: "violent delights." By doing so, he highlights the relationship of the young lovers. While they delight in each other, their love is based in the violent hatred between their families. While they delight in each other, Romeo will commit an act of violence against Tybalt, which will end their delight together. Their relationship is wrapped in duality, borne in intense passions of both love and hatred.

These lines also foreshadow the ending of the play. Romeo and Juliet will meet "violent ends" and will die on the same night, with Juliet using Romeo's dagger to commit suicide and die with her new husband. Rome tries to consume Juliet's poison with a kiss and resorts to consuming his own poison.

The friar warns the couple to "love moderately," as that will bring them "long love." Of course, moderation is not written in the stars for this young couple, who wed within twenty-four hours of meeting each other. Their intense passions and inability to moderate their emotions will end their love and lives quickly.

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Friar Lawrence introduces the motif of violent love and reaffirms the theme of age versus youth with these words.

  • Violent Love

In Act II, Scene 6, the concerned Friar Lawrence hopes that the future will not punish the young lovers with sorrow, and he warns Romeo against his haste in love. He urges Romeo to act in moderation, for that is the key to lasting love and happiness. Impetuousness always is dangerous since a person discards any caution, he tells Romeo. This scene also foreshadows Romeo's haste in interfering with the quarrel of Tybalt and Mercutio in Act III, in which violence is connected to love.

  • The Theme of Age Versus Youth

This passage also illustrates the theme of the wisdom of age against the impetuousness of youth. The wiser and older Friar Lawrence understands the dangers of the two young lovers' marriage in light of the feud between their families. The Friar is worried about the possible repercussions of this marriage.

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These words are uttered by Friar Lawrence just before he performs Romeo and Juliet's marriage ceremony.  References to honey and gunpowder may seem strange for a pre-wedding speech, but the crux of what Friar Lawrence is saying is that Romeo and Juliet need to slow things down a bit.  Like gunpowder and a spark coming together, things that are brought hastily together can sometimes explode.  Friar Lawrence also delivers these lines to help Romeo and Juliet to understand that, in truth, what they are feeling at this point is more lust than love.  If they are to build a long-lasting marriage, they will need to love more "moderately" and pace themselves.  As he says, "Long love doth so."

What this illustrates is that, while the friar has consented to marry the two, he feels the need to warn them that their passion will dissipate as the marriage progresses and that they will need to build their marriage's foundation on more stable footing.  That is the key to a lasting marriage.  Sadly for Romeo and Juliet, they will never have a chance to put Friar Lawrence's advice into action.

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