Romeo and Juliet

Language and Word Play Theme Analysis

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Themes and Colors
Love Theme Icon
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Individuals vs. Society Theme Icon
Language and Word Play 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.
Language and Word Play Theme Icon

Romeo and Juliet constantly play with language. They pun, rhyme, and speak in double entendres. All these word games may seem like mere fun, and they are fun. The characters that pun and play with language have fun doing it. But word play in Romeo and Juliet has a deeper purpose: rebellion. Romeo and Juliet play with language to escape the world. They claim they are not a Montague and a Capulet; they use words to try to transform day, for a moment, into night; they hide their love even while secretly admitting it. Other characters play with language too. In particular, Mercutio and the Nurse make constant sexual puns implying that while everyone is running around talking about high ideals like honor and love, sex and other base desires are at the root of human existence.

So language in Romeo and Juliet serves two opposing purposes. It allows some characters to escape the world into intense love, while it allows other characters to reveal that the world of love, honor, and high ideals are just masks people use to cover their animal instincts.

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Language and Word Play Quotes in Romeo and Juliet

Below you will find the important quotes in Romeo and Juliet related to the theme of Language and Word Play.
Act 1, scene 1 Quotes
Why then, O brawling love! O loving hate!
O any thing, of nothing first created;
O heavy lightness! serious vanity!
Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms!
Related Characters: Romeo (speaker)
Page Number: 1.1.181-184
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
You kiss by th'book.
Related Characters: Juliet (speaker), Romeo
Page Number: 1.5.121
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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.