A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" is a frequently referenced part of William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet, in which Juliet seems to argue that it does not matter that Romeo is from her rival's house of Montague, that is, that he is named "Montague." The reference is often used to imply that the names of things do not affect what they really are.

Origin[edit]

In Act II, Scene II [1] of the play, the line is said by Juliet in reference to Romeo's house, Montague which would imply that his name means nothing and they should be together.

Juliet:

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.

Romeo:

[Aside] Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?

Juliet:

'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 name 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 that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.

Romeo:

I take thee at thy word:
Call me but love, and I'll be new baptized;
Henceforth I never will be Romeo.

Original texts[edit]

While one of the most famous quotes from the work of Shakespeare, no printing in Shakespeare's lifetime presents the text in the form known to modern readers: it is a skilful amalgam assembled by Edmond Malone, an editor in the eighteenth century.

Romeo and Juliet was published twice, in two very different versions. The first version of 1597, named Q1, is believed to have been an unauthorised pirate copy or bad quarto provided to the printer by actors off the books: a memorial reconstruction. (It may also, separately, represent a version of the play improved and trimmed after rehearsals for more dramatic impact.)[2]

It runs:

’Tis but thy name that is mine enemy:
What’s Montague? It is not hand nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part.
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose,
By any other name would smell as sweet.

Q2, a superior 1599 printing, is believed to be an authorised text printed from Shakespeare's original manuscript, since there are textual oddities such as "false starts" for speeches that were presumably not clearly crossed out enough for the printer to spot.

It uses the text:

’Tis but thy name that is my enemy:
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague,
What’s Montague? It is not hand nor foot,
Nor arm nor face. O be some other name
belonging to a man!
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose,
By any other word would smell as sweet.

Malone reasoned that the awkward half-line of ‘belonging to a man’ could be reconnected into verse through correction with Q1. Modern editors have generally concurred.

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Romeo and Juliet on MIT's website
  2. ^ Belsey, Catherine (2014). Romeo and Juliet Language and Writing. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9781472539441. 
  3. ^ A Rose Hi Any Other Name The Modern World / Umberto Eco
  4. ^ Claire Frederick, Shirley McNeal, Inner strengths 
  5. ^ q:The Simpsons/Season 9
  6. ^ Gunton, Colin, "A Rose by Any Other Name? From 'Christian Doctrine' to 'Systematic Theology'." IJST 1, no. 1 (1999): 4-23.
  7. ^ http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Anne_of_green_gables