What Sonnet Is Romeo And Juliet?

by Amy

William Shakespeare’s timeless tragedy “Romeo and Juliet” is not only celebrated for its captivating storyline and iconic characters but also for its rich use of poetic form, including the sonnet. In this article, we delve into the role and significance of the sonnet within “Romeo and Juliet,” exploring how Shakespeare masterfully employs this poetic structure to enhance the narrative and convey deep emotions.

Understanding Sonnets

Before delving into the specific sonnets in “Romeo and Juliet,” it’s essential to grasp the basics of what a sonnet is. A sonnet is a poetic form that originated in Italy and gained popularity in English literature during the Renaissance. It typically consists of 14 lines, often written in iambic pentameter, with a specific rhyme scheme. Shakespearean sonnets, also known as English sonnets, follow the rhyme scheme ABABCDCDEFEFGG, dividing the 14 lines into three quatrains and a final rhymed couplet.

The Sonnets in “Romeo and Juliet”

In “Romeo and Juliet,” Shakespeare strategically incorporates sonnets to highlight key moments of intense emotion, love, and tragedy. One of the most renowned sonnets in the play is the prologue, which sets the stage for the unfolding drama:

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

Do with their death bury their parents’ strife.

This introductory sonnet not only establishes the setting and conflict but also foreshadows the tragic fate of Romeo and Juliet, emphasizing the theme of fate versus free will.

Love’s Power in Sonnet Form

Shakespeare further explores the theme of love through sonnets in “Romeo and Juliet,” particularly in the exchanges between the titular characters. For instance, in Act 1, Scene 5, during the famous balcony scene, Romeo and Juliet engage in a shared sonnet as they express their deep affection for each other:


If I profane with my unworthiest hand

This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:

My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand

To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.


Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,

Which mannerly devotion shows in this;

For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch,

And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.

This sonnet exchange showcases the passionate yet restrained love between Romeo and Juliet, highlighting the beauty and power of their connection despite the obstacles they face.

Tragedy and Loss

As the play progresses towards its tragic conclusion, Shakespeare continues to employ sonnets to convey the characters’ anguish and sorrow. One poignant example is Juliet’s soliloquy in Act 4, Scene 3, where she grapples with the dilemma of faking her own death to escape an unwanted marriage:


Farewell! God knows when we shall meet again.

I have a faint cold fear thrills through my veins

That almost freezes up the heat of life.

I’ll call them back again to comfort me.

Nurse! What should she do here?

My dismal scene I needs must act alone.

Come, vial.

What if this mixture do not work at all?

Shall I be married then tomorrow morning?

No, no. This shall forbid it. Lie thou there.

In this soliloquy, Juliet’s inner turmoil and desperation are heightened by the sonnet form, intensifying the emotional impact of her tragic circumstances.


“Romeo and Juliet” stands as a testament to Shakespeare’s mastery of language and poetic form, including the strategic use of sonnets to convey the play’s themes of love, fate, and tragedy. Through the carefully crafted sonnets woven into the fabric of the play, Shakespeare immortalizes the timeless tale of two star-crossed lovers and showcases the enduring power of the sonnet in capturing the depth of human emotions on stage.


Is Sonnet 18 part of Romeo and Juliet?

No, Sonnet 18 is not part of “Romeo and Juliet.” Sonnet 18, also known as “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day,” is one of Shakespeare’s most famous sonnets, but it is a standalone poem and not included in any of his plays, including “Romeo and Juliet.

What makes Romeo and Juliet a Shakespearean sonnet?

“Romeo and Juliet” is not a Shakespearean sonnet but rather a play written by William Shakespeare. However, Shakespeare did incorporate several sonnets within the play, most notably in the form of dialogue between characters. The use of sonnets within “Romeo and Juliet” is a literary technique that adds depth and complexity to the characters’ emotions and the overall thematic elements of the play.

A Shakespearean sonnet, also known as an English sonnet, is a specific poetic form that consists of 14 lines with a rhyme scheme of ABABCDCDEFEFGG. It is divided into three quatrains (four-line stanzas) and a final rhymed couplet (two-line stanza). Each line typically contains ten syllables and follows an iambic pentameter pattern, which means each line has five pairs of unstressed and stressed syllables.

While “Romeo and Juliet” itself is not a Shakespearean sonnet, the inclusion of sonnets within the play reflects Shakespeare’s mastery of this poetic form and demonstrates how he used it to enhance the dramatic impact and emotional depth of his works.

Related Articles


Discover the soulful universe of PoemsHubs, where words dance with emotions. Immerse yourself in a collection of evocative verses, diverse perspectives, and the beauty of poetic expression. Join us in celebrating the artistry of words and the emotions they unfold.

Copyright © 2023 poemshubs.com