25 Important Romeo and Juliet Quotes Meaning Explained

Want a deeper understanding of Romeo and Juliet?

Explore the timeless Romeo and Juliet quotes meaning with this comprehensive guide. Learn more about their hidden symbolism and interpretations.

 

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Romeo and Juliet Quotes Meaning Explained

Romeo and Juliet quotes are important because they eloquently capture love’s joys, sorrows, and complexities, making them timeless and universally relevant. Understanding the most important quotes will put you ahead of the crowd.

 

1. “These violent delights have violent ends.” Meaning and Line

“These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triump die, like fire and powder
Which, as they kiss, consume”

~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Act 1.Scene 1. Lines 9-11)

This quote from Romeo and Juliet implies that impulsive, passionate behavior often ends in disaster. The phrase “violent delights” suggests intense pleasure and excitement, while “violent ends” implies swift and inevitable consequences. The line “in their triump die” suggests that passionate moments often quickly end, like fire and powder that consume each other when they come together. Although the pleasure of passionate moments may be intense, they often have a short-lived and destructive outcome.

 

A picture of a scene from Romeo and Juliet starring Leslie Howard and Norma Shearer as_Romeo and Juliet

2. “My bounty is as boundless as the sea. Meaning

“My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.”

~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (2.2 .133-136)

This famous quote from Romeo and Juliet speaks to the limitless capacity of love. In other words, the more one gives away in love, the more they have — both love and bounty, or material wealth, are infinite. The idea suggests we can never exhaust our capacity for giving or receiving love and that there is always more to give and receive. This idea of inexhaustible love is a beautiful sentiment we can all aspire to experience.

 

3. “Go wisely and slowly. Those who rush stumble and fall.” Meaning and Line

“Go wisely and slowly. Those who rush stumble and fall.”

~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Act 2, Scene 3, Line 90)

This quote from Romeo and Juliet conveys an important message about the importance of taking things slow and carefully considering one’s decisions. It warns against the dangers of acting too quickly without considering the consequences and emphasizes that rushing into things often leads to mistakes. The quote is a reminder that caution and consideration can often lead to better outcomes. Furthermore, it also serves as an encouragement to remain patient and trust that things will work out in due course.

 

4. “thus with a kiss I die.” Meaning and Line

“thus with a kiss I die”

~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Act 5. Scene 3. Line 120

This quote from Romeo and Juliet is a powerful expression of the profound love between the two characters. It is spoken by Romeo at the play’s climax when he takes his own life to be reunited with Juliet. The words symbolize their love’s intense and passionate nature – a love that transcends death itself. This quote speaks to the ultimate power of a kiss and how it can be used as an expression of unconditional and eternal love. In Romeo and Juliet, this kiss is a powerful testament to the power of true love. It conveys the idea that no matter the circumstances, love can conquer all and that a single kiss is enough to make one’s mortality meaningless.

An image from Romeo and Juliet the kiss

5. “Good night, good night! parting is such sweet Sorrow.” sorrow.” Meaning and Line

“Good night, good night! parting is such sweet sorrow,
That I shall say good night till it be morrow.”

~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Act 2. Scene 2)

This quote from Romeo and Juliet speaks to the bittersweet feeling of saying goodbye. It expresses that even though parting can bring pain, it can also bring a kind of sweet sorrow. This can reflect the idea that although it is difficult to be apart from loved ones, the experience of loving them is so precious that it is worth the pain of parting.

It also reflects how love can make even sorrowful moments beautiful and worthwhile. The quote’s sentiment of longing for togetherness is shared by many, as it acknowledges that saying goodbye can be a beautiful experience.

 

6. “Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight.” Meaning and Line

“Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.”

~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Act 1. Scene 5. Line 50)

In this iconic quote from Romeo and Juliet, Romeo expresses his feelings for Juliet upon first seeing her. Her beauty so takes him that he questions if he has ever loved before this moment. He tells his eyes to forget what they have seen before her because never before has he seen true beauty. This quote highlights Romeo’s immediate infatuation with Juliet and his strong emotions for her. It also foreshadows their passionate love story and the tragedy that will follow. In a single sentence, Romeo captures his intense feelings of love at first sight.

This quote has become one of the most recognizable and beloved lines from Shakespeare’s famous play. It continues to echo through time with its powerful message of love, passion, and tragedy. It is a reminder of the importance of living life to its fullest and taking risks even in the face of adversity.

 

7. “For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.” Meaning and Line

“For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”

~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Act 5, Scene 3, Line 325)

This quote from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is a poignant reflection on the tragedy of two star-crossed lovers. In the play, Romeo and Juliet come from rival families, the Montagues and Capulets, and their love for each other is a source of conflict. Yet, despite their best efforts, their tragic fates are sealed, and they both come to a heartbreaking end. The quote captures the immense sorrow of their story, reminding us of the power of love and its ability to transcend even the greatest of obstacles. It serves as a reminder that although sometimes it is impossible for us to realize our dreams, we should never give up hope.

 

8. “Do not swear by the moon, for she changes constantly.”
Meaning and Line

“Don’t swear by the moon, for she changes constantly. then your love would also change.”

~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Act 2, Scene 2, Line 110)

This quote from Romeo and Juliet warns against making rash promises or vows that rely on external forces for their stability. The “moon” is used as a metaphor for external factors that are constantly changing, such as time and circumstance. By cautioning against swearing by the moon, Romeo implies that the dependability of one’s love should not be based on such variables. Rather, it must come from within and remain unwavering through changes in life and love. This quote is a reminder that true love should be able to withstand any challenge, provided it is coming from the right place.

 

9. “Love is heavy and light, bright and dark,” Meaning and Line

“Love is heavy and light, bright and dark, hot and cold, sick and healthy, asleep and awake- its everything except what it is!

~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Act 1, Scene 1, Line 170)

This quote from Romeo and Juliet speaks to the complexity of love. It is heavy and light, bright and dark, hot and cold, sick and healthy, asleep and awake. Love is a powerful force that cannot be confined to one emotion or feeling. Instead, it encompasses many opposites to create a complex and beautiful emotion.

Love is not what it appears to be, rather it is something that cannot fully be described or understood – it is something that must be experienced and felt. This quote from Romeo and Juliet serves as a reminder of the mysterious nature of love and its ability to bring out both the best and worst of people.

A cartoon of Romeo and Juliet

10. “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose” Meaning and Line

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Act 2, Scene 2, Line 40)

This quote from Romeo and Juliet reminds us that the labels we attach to things do not ultimately define them. What matters is what lies beneath the surface – the essence of something. In this case, the quote refers to a rose, but it could be applied to any situation in life. By suggesting that a rose would still smell as sweet regardless of what it is called, Romeo and Juliet are drawing attention to the idea that the name of a thing does not matter, but what truly matters is the substance that lies beneath. Ultimately, this quote encourages us to look beyond labels and focus on deeper values. 

This quote also serves as a reminder that love is not limited by language or labels and instead has its language that transcends words. Love is a complex emotion, and it can come in many forms- each beautiful and unique.

 

11. “Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?” Meaning and Line

“Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?”

~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Act 1, Scene 1, Line 35)

The quote from Romeo and Juliet comes at the beginning of a scene when two opposing families – the Capulets and Montagues – are clashing in the streets of Verona. The question, “Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?” is a taunt from one of the Montagues, asking if the Capulet is deliberately insulting them by making a rude gesture. In this context, “biting your thumb” signifies disrespect and hostility. This quote signals the start of the feud between the two families and serves as an introduction to their long-standing rivalry. The exchange of insults between the two sets up the animosity that will eventually lead to Romeo and Juliet’s tragic love affair.

 

12. “Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.” Meaning and Line

“Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.”

~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Act 2, Scene 3, Line 90)

This quote from Romeo and Juliet has a powerful message of caution. It reminds us to take our time in life and not rush into things because often, those who act rashly and quickly are more likely to make a mistake or misstep—the quote is also a reminder of the importance of wisdom and taking time to think through decisions. Haste can lead to bad outcomes, whereas prudence and patience often bring more successful results. Ultimately, this quote warns us to slow down and think before we act.

 

13. “O teach me how I should forget to think,” Meaning and Line

“O teach me how I should forget to think”

~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Act 1. Scene 1. Lines 216-219)

This quote from Romeo and Juliet expresses the emotional struggle that both characters are experiencing as they attempt to deny their feelings for one another. Romeo is asking Juliet to teach him how to forget his thoughts and feelings for her, although he knows it is impossible. The quote speaks to the deeply passionate and nearly uncontrollable love that Romeo and Juliet feel for one another, as they cannot ignore their feelings despite the knowledge that their love is forbidden. 

 

14. “Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs.” Meaning and Line

“Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs.”

~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Act 1. Scene 1, Lines 185-187)

This quote from Romeo and Juliet captures the ephemeral nature of love, full of emotion yet fleeting. Shakespeare uses a metaphor to depict love as smoke made with the fume of sighs to emphasize that it evaporates quickly. The phrase “fume of sighs” speaks of the intensity of emotions and heartache associated with love. The metaphor highlights that although love can bring pleasure, it can also cause great pain.

Furthermore, the idea that love is “smoke” suggests that it is fleeting and difficult to contain, as smoke dissipates quickly. Thus, the quote implies that love can be both beautiful and painful but is ultimately short-lived.

 

15. “O serpent heart hid with a flowering face!” Meaning and Line

“O serpent heart hid with a flowering face!
Did ever a dragon keep so fair a cave?
Beautiful tyrant, feind angelical, dove feather raven, wolvish-ravening lamb! Despised substance of devinest show, just opposite to what thou justly seemest – A dammed saint, an honourable villain!”

~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet  (Act 3, Scene 2, Lines 70-75)

This quote from Romeo and Juliet reflects the complexity of love. In one sentence, Romeo encapsulates all his contradictory feelings towards Juliet. He simultaneously views her as beautiful yet cruel, angelic but dangerous, a dove and a raven.

Furthermore, he acknowledges that she does not seem as virtuous and honorable as she appears. This reflects that love is complex and can bring about conflicting emotions. Ultimately, Romeo is in awe of Juliet and her paradoxical nature. He finds beauty in the complexity of their relationship and sees it as something to be admired.

 

16. “A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life.” Meaning and Line

“Two households, both alike in dignity
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents’ strife.”

~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Prologue)

This well-known quote from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet conveys a powerful message. It speaks of two similar households in their social standing and the city where their tale takes place, Verona. It speaks of a long-standing grudge passed down through the generations and led to a new wave of conflict, with civil unrest and bloodshed.

The quote continues to describe two ill-fated lovers, Romeo and Juliet, who have been caught up in the feud and decide to take their own lives to end the dispute between their families. The tragedy of their deaths is said to finally be able to bury the strife between their two households. This quote emphasizes the great cost of ongoing feuds between people and the tragedy that can result from them.

 

17. Come, gentle night; come, loving, black-browed night” Meaning and Line

“Come, gentle night; come, loving, black-browed night;
Give me my Romeo; and, when I shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night…”

~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Act 3, Scene 2)

This quote from Romeo and Juliet speaks to the power of love, expressing how much Romeo means to Juliet. It implies that even after death, she will still love and want him close to her. By comparing Romeo’s beauty to the stars, she implies that his beauty is eternal and even brighter than the stars in the sky. The quote speaks to Juliet’s strong feelings for Romeo and conveys her willingness to accept death if it means she can keep Romeo with her forever. It is a powerful expression of true love and demonstrates the depth of Juliet’s devotion to Romeo.

 

18. “But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?” Meaning and Line

“But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.”

~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet  (Act 2, Scene 2)

This quote from Romeo and Juliet speaks to when Romeo catches a glimpse of Juliet in her window. His heart filled with admiration. The imagery of the sun rising in the east is used to portray Juliet’s beauty and brilliance, with her radiating an inner light that transcends the physical world. This quote reflects the intensity of Romeo’s feelings for Juliet and how she has become a central part of his life in such a short time.

The quote also serves as a reminder that love can be found in unexpected places and to keep an open heart. Romeo’s words illustrate the power of love and how it can transform our lives in profound, life-altering ways.

 

19. “O, that I were a glove upon that hand.” Meaning and Line

“See how she leans her cheek upon her hand.
O, that I were a glove upon that hand
That I might touch that cheek!”

~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Act 2, Scene 2)

This quote from Romeo and Juliet highlights the emotional intensity of their love for one another. It expresses Romeo’s longing to be close to Juliet, wishing to feel her skin on his own. Through Romeo’s passionate words, we can feel the power of their love and its ability to transcend physical boundaries.

The line conveys Romeo’s deep admiration for Juliet and his intense desire for her, a desire that even the vast physical distance between them cannot contain. The quote serves as a reminder of the unbreakable bond between Romeo and Juliet, allowing them to express their emotions for each other even when they are far apart.

 

20. “If love be rough with you, be rough with love.” Meaning and Line

“If love be rough with you, be rough with love. Prick love for pricking and you beat love down.”

~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Act 1, Scene 4, Line 25)

This quote from Romeo and Juliet suggests that love can be rewarding and painful. It is important to recognize the difficulty and joy of loving someone. Love requires effort, and if it is not given the effort it deserves, it will deteriorate. When love seems more trouble than it is worth, sometimes it can feel necessary to respond harshly to save the relationship.

By “pricking love for pricking,” we can learn to understand the other person’s feelings more and find a way back to harmony. Ultimately, it is important to remember that love is worth the effort and be willing to give as much as you receive.

 

21. “I defy you, stars.” Meaning and Line

“I defy you, stars.”

~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Act 5, Scene 1, Line 20)

In this quote, Romeo is expressing his defiance of fate and convention. He is proclaiming that he will choose his destiny and will not be bound by society’s expectations. This quote stands out as a powerful statement against authority and emphasizes Romeo’s commitment to his own will and autonomy.

It also speaks to the power of love, which Romeo believes is so strong that it can overcome any obstacle or challenge. This quote reflects Romeo’s courage, determination in adversity, and belief that love will ultimately triumph. While this quote is usually interpreted as a romantic declaration, it can also be seen as a statement of defiance against the status quo and asserting that Romeo’s decisions will ultimately dictate his fate.

 

22. “Women may fall when there’s no strength in men. Meaning and Line

“Women may fall when there’s no strength in men.”

~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Act 2, Scene 3, Line 80)

This quotation from Romeo and Juliet speaks to the idea of gender roles in Elizabethan England when the play was written. In Shakespeare’s time, women were expected to be meek, obedient, and devoted to their husbands. Men were seen as solid societal figures and protectors and held power to make important decisions. This quote implies that if men are not strong enough – either in character or physical strength – women will be left vulnerable to the whims of society.

It suggests that women suffer the consequences when men fail and bear the burden. Thus, this quote can be seen as a commentary on the unequal power dynamics between men and women in Elizabethan England.

 

23. “You can’t lose a game if you don’t play the game.” Meaning and Line

“There’s an old saying that applies to me: you can’t lose a game if you don’t play the game.”

~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Act 1, Scene 4, Line 35)

This quote from Romeo and Juliet expresses the idea that one can protect oneself from disappointment or hurt by avoiding potentially risky situations. The saying implies that if one chooses not to participate in something, one can’t be affected by the outcome. This form of self-preservation allows one to remain emotionally and mentally unscathed.

The quote applies to many aspects of life, such as relationships, jobs, investments, etc. In essence, it is a reminder to think twice before jumping into anything that could have potentially negative consequences. There is wisdom in remaining aware and careful when making decisions, and this quote reminds us of that.

 

24. “Oh, I am fortune’s fool!” Meaning and Line

“Oh, I am fortune’s fool!”

~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Act 3, Scene 1, Line 95)

The quote “Oh, I am fortune’s fool!” is uttered by Romeo in the play Romeo and Juliet. This phrase implies that Romeo believes he is a victim of fate and that some greater force beyond his control has predetermined his destiny. He expresses frustration and resignation at his inability to change his predetermined outcome. By using this phrase, Romeo expresses that he has no control over his life and must accept whatever fate has planned for him.

This quote paints a powerful picture of Romeo’s devastation and despair in his current situation. Ultimately, it reminds us of the helplessness experienced when life is out of our control.

 

25. “And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars” Meaning and Line

“O, here
Will I set up my everlasting rest,
And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars
From this world-wearied flesh. Eyes, look your last!
Arms, take your last embrace! and, lips, O you
The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss
A dateless bargain to engrossing death!”

~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Act 5, Scene 3, Line 130)

This quote from Romeo and Juliet highlights the tragedy of their situation. Romeo knows that he will never be able to be with Juliet, but despite this, he chooses to stay with her. He wants to spend his last moments with her in an eternal embrace and seeks death as the only way out of their predicament.

The imagery used in this quote emphasizes Romeo’s determination to be with Juliet, even if it means death. He wants to break free from the yoke of “inauspicious stars” that has caused them so much grief and heartache and instead choose to embrace a dateless bargain with death. This powerful quote perfectly conveys Romeo’s love for Juliet and his ultimate sacrifice to be with her.

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