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What's In A Name?

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What's In A Name? - Page Text Content

FC: What's In A Name? | By Susan Johnson

1: "What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other word would smell as sweet" | Romeo And Juliet Act 2, Scene 2,

2: "How now, my headstrong: where have you been gadding?" -Lord Capulet to Juliet |

3: In Italian Capulet is a surname derived from a nickname for a person who is determined and headstrong. These characteristics can be seen in Lord Capulet's insistence that Juliet marry County Paris. Tybalt shows himself to be determined and headstrong in seeking revenge on Romeo for attending the Capulet's party uninvited. Lady Capulet also shows headstrong determination in her desire to have Romeo killed as revenge for Tybalt's death. Juliet herself shows these traits as she seeks to be reunited with Romeo at all cost.

4: "For I will raise her statue in pure gold, that whiles Verona by that name is known, there shall no figure at such rate be set as that of true and faithful Juliet." -Lord Montague to Lord Capulet

5: Montague means mountain. Mountains can represent a high position or someone of importance and/or formidable power. The Montague family is a member of the nobility class and wealthy enough to employ many servants. Romeo Montague is friends with Mercutio a kinsman of Prince Escalus. Thus the surname Montague would seem to emphasize the family's wealth and position of prominence in Verona.

6: Off Limits | Rosaline

7: Rosaline is an unseen character in the play. She is Lord Capulet's niece with whom Romeo is infatuated. Rosaline means little rose or lovely rose. Like a rose she is beautiful and smells sweet to her admirer Romeo. Her determination to remain chaste and unmarried is a thorn pricking Romeo's heart in Act 1 of the play. | "She hath forsworn to love, and in that vow do I live dead, that live to tell it now." -Romeo

8: Romeo kisses Juliet. | "My lips, like two blushing pilgrims, are ready with a tender kiss" -Romeo to Juliet |

9: Romeo means pilgrim to Rome. A pilgrim is a person who journeys, especially a long distance, to some sacred place as an act of devotion. Romeo is on a quest to find love -at first unsuccessful with Rosaline. When Romeo first speaks to Juliet, he declares himself to be a pilgrim and Juliet the saint's shrine. He compares a kiss to prayer. Romeo is thus a pilgrim devoted to seeking requited love which he finds "enshrined" in Juliet. His devotion to Juliet is unto death. He journeys to her tomb to sacrifice himself on the altar of love.

10: Juliet |

11: Juliet's name means youthful. Juliet is indeed young. She is 13 years old- two weeks and a few days shy of her 14th birthday. She still has a nurse to care for her. She looks to her nurse and her 26 year old mother for guidance. Juliet is the child of a child bride. Lord Capulet concerned for Juliet's tender age tells Paris he must court Juliet for two years before they can marry. | "I'll look to like, if looking liking, move, but no more deep endart mine eye than your consent gives strength to make it fly." -Juliet

12: Prince of Cats | T Y B A L T | "What, drawn and talk peace? I hate the word as I hate hell, and all Montagues, and thee." -Tybalt to Benvolio

13: Juliet's cousin Tybalt is a young man who is self-confident, aggressive, and head strong. He is quick to fight and to hold a grudge. He hates the Montagues and uses the brawl between the servants as an excuse to fan the feud back into flame. Tybalt's name in Latin means one who sees. Tybalt recognizes Romeo at the party before anyone else. He shows that he is headstrong when he wants to fight Romeo at the Capulet's party even when Lord Capulet tells him to let it go. He seeks revenge on Romeo by challenging | Romeo to a duel even when Romeo seeks peace. Tybalt "Prince of Cats" was a well-known character in children's literature during the Renaissance. Mercutio mocks Tybalt for sharing a name with this character. By calling Tybalt rat-catcher and "King of Cats" Mercutio belittles Tybalt's manhood. Tybalt takes his revenge on Mercutio for the insults by stabbing Mercutio as Romeo tries to break up the fight.

14: Mercutio is Romeo's friend and a relative of Prince Escalus. Mercutio's name comes from the root word Mercury. Mercury is a heavy, silver-white, metallic element noted for its fluidity at normal temperature, also called quicksilver. Mercurial is the adjective form of the word mercury. It can imply that a person is active, lively, volatile, changeable, or erratic. Mercury was also the name of a Greek god who was supposed to be |

15: quick-witted and swift. Mercutio's quick wit always provides him with a verbal comeback whether talking with friend or foe. Like mercury, Mercutio is changeable. We see his lighthearted, lively, side when he jokes with his friends Romeo and Benvolio. We see his volatile side when he speaks about Tybalt. His volatile nature causes him to duel with Tybalt for Romeo's honor against Romeo's wishes, and culminates at his untimely death when he curses the houses of Capulet and Montague. | Mercutio | "A plague o' both your houses"

16: "Part fools. Put up your swords, you know not what you do." -Benvolio to brawling servants |

17: Benvolio's name means peacemaker. True to the meaning of his name Benvolio consistently seeks to make peace. At the play's opening Benvolio tries to break up a brawl between the servants of Montague and Capulet. Shortly after he seeks to bring peace to Romeo's distraught emotions over Rosaline's rejection of Romeo's love. In Act 3 Mercutio asks Benvolio to intervene in a battle of wits between Mercutio and Romeo. In Act 4 Benvolio again seeks to prevent | conflict with the Capulets by suggesting he and Mercutio avoid the heat and any Capulets on the streets of Verona by going indoors. After the deaths of Mercutio and Tybalt, Benvolio intervenes with Prince Escalus on Romeo's behalf successfully reducing Romeo's sentence from death to banishment.

18: "Sweet, sweet, sweet Nurse: do tell me. What does my love say?" -Juliet | Nurse |

19: The Nurse in Romeo & Juliet is Juliet's childhood caretaker. The title of Nurse is short for wet-nurse and refers to the fact that she nursed Juliet in infancy. The fact that she is still in the Nurse's care emphasizes Juliet's young age. Lord Capulet refers to either her or Lady Capulet by the given name Angelica. Angelica means angel or messenger. Angelica could be seen as suggesting the Nurse's duty to guard and care for Juliet. Also the Nurse did serve as Juliet's messenger to Romeo.

20: "For this alliance may so prove to turn your households' rancor to pure love." -Friar Lawrence | Friar Lawrence |

21: Friar Lawrence is a respected man of God in Verona. People look to him for spiritual guidance, as did both Romeo and Juliet. He wisely observes that there is good and bad in people as well as plants, and he wisely counsels against haste and suicide. The name Lawrence means crowned with laurel. The laurel crown signifies honoring a conqueror. The friar did accomplish his goal of ending the feud, but failed to keep Romeo and Juliet from killing themselves. Fearful of losing the people's respect he failed to tell the truth until it was too late.

22: Prince Escalus | |

23: Escalus means scales. Therefore the prince's name symbolically represents his role as the ruler of Verona. As ruler of Verona it is his responsiblity to keep the peace. The scales of justice are in his hands. Prince Escalus must weigh the deeds of men and determine their fate. He has the power to pardon and the power to punish. | "Some shall be pardoned, and some punished"

24: County Paris | | "Why, he's a man of wax." |

25: County Paris, a young, handsome, and wealthy gentleman seeks to marry Juliet. In Greek mythology Paris was a young handsome man who abducted Helen and caused the Trojan War. Likewise County Paris' pursuit of Juliet's hand in marriage leads to her "abduction" from her secret marriage to Romeo and ends in bloodshed. Furthermore the name Paris means wealthy. When Lady Capulet first tries to persuade Juliet to marry Paris she praises his appearance and possessions to Juliet.

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  • Title: What's In A Name?
  • Romeo & Juliet Names & Character Sketches
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  • Started: over 6 years ago
  • Updated: over 6 years ago