Why is Romeo compelled to admit "I have lost myself; I am not here: This is not Romeo," in Shakespeare's Act 1, Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet?Tut! I have lost myself; I am not here:This is not...

Why is Romeo compelled to admit "I have lost myself; I am not here: This is not Romeo," in Shakespeare's Act 1, Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet?

Tut! I have lost myself; I am not here:
This is not Romeo, he's some otherwhere. (198-199)

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Romeo declares to Benvolio that he has "lost himself" and that he is no longer Romeo immediately after confiding in Benvolio that he is feeling heartbroken over love. Not only that, Romeo proclaims that the kindness Benvolio has shown Romeo through being concerned about his state of mind is making him feel even more depressed. We see this in Romeo's lines,

This love that thou has shown
Doth add more grief to too much of mine own. (189-190)

It is because Romeo is feeling oppressed by Benvolio's concern over him that makes him want to leave Benvolio, saying, "Farewell, my coz" (195). When Benvolio protests, insisting that he stay with Romeo, saying that Romeo is injuring Benvolio by leaving him feeling depressed over Romeo, Romeo responds by saying,

Tut! I have lost myself; I am not here:
This is not Romeo, he's some otherwhere. (198-199)

What Romeo is responding to in these lines is Benvolio's use of the word "you" in his own line, "And if you leave me so, you do me wrong." Romeo's argument is that he cannot hurt Benvolio because he is no longer Romeo; Romeo is no longer there. What he means is that he feels so crushed by his heartbreak over Rosaline that he feels he is no longer the same person he used to be. He is no longer the happy person he was before he fell in love; he may even feel dead. Hence, Romeo is telling Benvolio that he cannot be responsible for hurting Benvolio because he is no longer himself.

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