Romeo and Juliet

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Themes and Colors
Love Theme Icon
Fate Theme Icon
Individuals vs. Society Theme Icon
Language and Word Play Theme Icon
Servants Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Romeo and Juliet, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Servants Theme Icon

For a play about the two noble teenagers struggling to preserve their forbidden love, Romeo and Juliet sure has a lot of scenes focused on servants and non-nobles. Shakespeare did this by design. The recurring presence of servants in the play, from Peter, the Capulet servant who can't read, to the apothecary who's so poor he's willing to sell poison, Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet goes to great efforts to show that the poor and downtrodden have lives of their own, and that to them Romeo and Juliet's love and death mean absolutely nothing. After all, why would the death of two noble teenagers mean anything to servants just trying to make it through the day and scrounge up something to eat for dinner?

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Servants Quotes in Romeo and Juliet

Below you will find the important quotes in Romeo and Juliet related to the theme of Servants.
Act 1, scene 1 Quotes
Abraham: Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?
Sampson: I do bite my thumb, sir.
Abraham: Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?
Sampson (to Gregory): Is the law of our side if I say ay?
Gregory: No.
Sampson: No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you sir; but I bite my thumb, sir.
Related Characters: Samson and Gregory (speaker), Abraham (speaker)
Page Number: 1.1.47-52
Explanation and Analysis:

The play opens with Sampson and Gregory, two armed servants of the Capulet noble family, walking on the public streets of Verona. They come into contact with two other citizens of Verona: Abraham and Balthasar. As a servant of the Montague household, Abraham confronts Sampson and begins a quarrel that will escalate into physical fighting and swordplay. This scene is somewhat humorous ("biting one's thumb at someone was considered what flipping someone the bird is today), as the characters awkwardly insult each other while trying to stay on the right side of the law. Yet even in the first scene of the play, we witness how these two households' feud affects the rest of Verona. It does not merely occur within these households' residences, but it even influences the atmosphere of Verona's most public spaces. The most private disagreements will turn public in the drama. 

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