Romeo and Juliet


Significant Quotations

Romeo and Juliet may be one of the most frequently quoted (and misquoted) plays in the English language. It is impossible to highlight every quotation that has significance in the play because of Shakespeare’s deft use of complex language, double-meanings, and Elizabethan wordplay. However, the following quotations are well-known, and many of them have a shorthand meaning in modern speech that references some aspect of the play.

Quotation One: A plague o’ both your houses.

Mercutio curses both the Montague and Capulet families as he lies dying from injuries that he received at Tybalt’s hand. He blames their feud for his death, though he directly sought out the fight that killed him. This quotation reinforces one of the plotlines of the play, which is that the feud between the families caused the deaths that occurred throughout the play. However, it also brings to mind questions of personal responsibility, as even the boldest and brashest character in the play refuses to take responsibility for his own actions.

Quotation Two: For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

Prince Escalus says these last two lines at the very end of the play. He is remarking that no other story can match the sadness of the two ill-fated young lovers.

Quotation Three: But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun!

Romeo utters these words as he enters the scene for the famous balcony scene. Up until this point in the play, Romeo has compared Rosaline to the moon. However, if Rosaline was the moon, Juliet is the sun. Her beauty is incomparable.

Quotation Four: O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name, Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.

This quotation, spoken by Juliet as she enters her balcony and before she sees...

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Essays About Romeo and Juliet