Romeo and Juliet

Individuals vs. Society Theme Analysis

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Individuals vs. Society Theme Icon
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LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Romeo and Juliet, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Individuals vs. Society Theme Icon

Because of their forbidden love, Romeo and Juliet are forced into conflict with the social world around them: family, friends, political authority, and even religion. The lovers try to avoid this conflict by hiding, by escaping from it. They prefer the privacy of nighttime to the public world of day. They volunteer to give up their names, their social identities, in order to be together. They begin to keep secrets and speak in puns so that they can publicly say one thing while meaning another. On the morning after their marriage, they even go so far as to pretend that day is night so they won't have to part.

But no one can stop day from dawning, and in the end Romeo and Juliet can't escape the responsibilities of the public world. Romeo tries to stop being a Montague and avoid fighting Tybalt, but fails. Juliet tries to stop being a Capulet and to stand up to her father when he tries to marry her off to Paris, but is abandoned by her mother and the Nurse. Romeo is banished from Verona by Prince Escalus, who embodies political law. Finally, to preserve their love, Romeo and Juliet are forced to the ultimate act of independence and privacy: suicide.

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Individuals vs. Society Quotes in Romeo and Juliet

Below you will find the important quotes in Romeo and Juliet related to the theme of Individuals vs. Society.
Prologue Quotes
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,
Doth with their death bury their parents' strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Which, but their children's end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.
Related Characters: The Chorus (speaker), Romeo, Juliet
Page Number: Prol.1-14
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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Act 1, scene 4 Quotes
Romeo: I dream'd a dream to-night.
Mercutio: And so did I.
Romeo: Well, what was yours?
Mercutio: That dreamers often lie.
Related Characters: Romeo (speaker), Mercutio (speaker)
Page Number: 1.4.53-56
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 1, scene 5 Quotes
My only love sprung from my only hate!
Too early seen unknown, and known too late!
Related Characters: Juliet (speaker), Romeo
Page Number: 1.5.152-153
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 2, scene 2 Quotes
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.
Related Characters: Juliet (speaker), Romeo, Montague
Page Number: 2.2.36-39
Explanation and Analysis:

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'Tis but thy name that is my enemy; —
Thou art thyself though, not a Montague.
What's Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? That which we call a rose,
By any other word would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title: — Romeo, doff thy name;
And for thy name, which is no part of thee,
Take all myself.
Related Characters: Juliet (speaker), Romeo
Page Number: 2.2.41-52
Explanation and Analysis:

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I take thee at thy word:
Call me but love, and I'll be new baptis'd;
Henceforth I never will be Romeo.
Related Characters: Romeo (speaker), Juliet
Page Number: 2.2.53-55
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 2, scene 3 Quotes
For naught so vile that on the earth doth live
But to the earth some special good doth give;
Nor aught so good but, strain'd from that fair use,
Revolts from true birth, stumbling on the abuse:
Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied;
And vice sometimes by action dignified.
Related Characters: Friar Laurence (speaker)
Page Number: 2.3.17-22
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 3, scene 1 Quotes
Romeo: Courage, man; the hurt cannot be much.
Mercutio: No, 'tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church-door; but 'tis enough, 'twill serve: ask for me to-morrow, and you shall find me a grave man.
Related Characters: Romeo (speaker), Mercutio (speaker)
Page Number: 3.1.99-102
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 3, scene 2 Quotes
Come, gentle night, — come, loving black brow'd night,
Give me my Romeo; and when he 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,
And pay no worship to the garish sun.
Related Characters: Juliet (speaker), Romeo
Related Symbols: Light/Dark and Day/Night
Page Number: 3.2.21-27
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 3, scene 5 Quotes
Wilt thou be gone? it is not yet near day.
It was the nightingale, and not the lark,
That pierc'd the fearful hollow of thine ear;
Nightly she sings on yond pomegranate tree.
Believe me love, it was the nightingale.
Related Characters: Juliet (speaker), Romeo
Related Symbols: Light/Dark and Day/Night
Page Number: 3.5.1-5
Explanation and Analysis:

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Is there no pity sitting in the clouds
That sees into the bottom of my grief?
O sweet my mother, cast me not away!
Delay this marriage for a month, a week,
Or if you do not, make the bridal bed
In that dim monument where Tybalt lies.
Related Characters: Juliet (speaker), Lady Capulet, Tybalt
Page Number: 3.5.208-213
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 4, scene 1 Quotes
Or bid me go into a new-made grave,
And hide me with a dead man in his shroud -
Things that, to hear them told, have made me tremble -
And I will do it without fear or doubt,
To live an unstain'd wife to my sweet love.
Related Characters: Juliet (speaker), Romeo
Page Number: 4.1.85-90
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 5, scene 3 Quotes
O true apothecary! Thy drugs are quick. — Thus with a kiss I die.
Related Characters: Romeo (speaker), Juliet, The Apothecary
Page Number: 5.3.119-120
Explanation and Analysis:

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Yea, noise,then I'll be brief;
O, happy dagger!
This is thy sheath; there rest, and let me die.
Related Characters: Juliet (speaker)
Page Number: 5.3.174-175
Explanation and Analysis:

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For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.
Related Characters: Prince Escalus (speaker), Romeo, Juliet
Page Number: 5.3.320-321
Explanation and Analysis:

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