Key 'Romeo and Juliet' Quotes

Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet - 1870 oil painting by Ford Madox Brown. Public Domain

"Romeo and Juliet," one of Shakespeare's iconic tragedies, is a play about star-crossed lovers and their romance that's doomed from the start. It is one of the most famous plays of the English Renaissance, consistently taught and staged at high schools and colleges to this day.

As their families feud to the death, Romeo and Juliet—the two young lovers—are caught between disparate worlds. The unforgettable play is filled with fights, secret marriages, and untimely deaths—along with some of Shakespeare's most famous lines.

Love and Passion

The romance of Romeo and Juliet is perhaps the most famous in all of literature. The young lovers, despite their families' objections, will do anything to be together, even if they must meet (and marry) in secret. During their private rendezvous, the characters give voice to some of Shakespeare's most romantic speeches.

"'What sadness lengthens Romeo's hours?'
'Not having that, which, having, makes them short.'
'In love?'
'Of love?'
'Out of her favor, where I am in love.'"
(Benvolio and Romeo; Act 1, Scene 1)
"One fairer than my love? The all-seeing sun
Ne'er saw her match since first the world begun."
(Romeo; Act 1, Scene 2)
"Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight,
For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night."
(Romeo; Act 1, Scene 5)
"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."
(Juliet; Act 2, Scene 2)
"Good night, good night. Parting is such sweet sorrow
That I shall say 'Good night' till it be morrow."
(Juliet; Act 2, Scene 2)
"See how she leans her cheek upon her hand.
O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!"
(Romeo; Act 2, Scene 2)
"These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which, as they kiss, consume."
(Friar Lawrence; Act 2, Scene 3)

Family and Loyalty

Shakespeare's young lovers come from two families—the Montagues and the Capulets—that are sworn enemies of each other. The clans have kept alive their "ancient grudge" for years. Thus, Romeo and Juliet have each betrayed their family names in their love for each other. Their story shows what happens when this sacred bond is broken.

"What, drawn, and talk of peace? I hate the word
As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee."
(Tybalt; Act 1, Scene 1)
"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."
(Juliet; Act 2, Scene 2)
“What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet.”
(Juliet; Act 2, Scene 2)
"A plague o' both your houses!"
(Mercutio; Act 3, Scene 1)


From the very beginning of the play, Shakespeare announces "Romeo and Juliet" as a story of destiny and fate. The young lovers are "star-crossed" and doomed to ill fortune, and their romance can only end in tragedy. The play unfolds with an inevitability reminiscent of Greek tragedy, as forces in motion slowly crush the young innocents who try to defy them.

"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-crossed lovers take their life;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents' strife.”
(Chorus; Prologue)
"This day's black fate on more days doth depend.
This but begins the woe others must end."
(Romeo; Act 3, Scene 1)
“O, I am Fortune's fool!”
(Romeo; Act 3, Scene 1)
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Your Citation
Lombardi, Esther. "Key 'Romeo and Juliet' Quotes." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Lombardi, Esther. (2023, April 5). Key 'Romeo and Juliet' Quotes. Retrieved from Lombardi, Esther. "Key 'Romeo and Juliet' Quotes." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 31, 2023).