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What she means here is that she does not care what Romeo's name is and she wishes

he would just take the name off and be someone else so that their families would not be
She says this when she is up on her balcony but before she knows Romeo is
there. He's listening, but she does not know it.
So what she is saying here is that it does not matter what Romeo's name is. If you call a
rose something else, it still smells the same. And if Romeo had a different name he
would still be the man she loves.
The quotation 'what's in a name...' from the play Romeo and Juliet by William
Shakespeare as spoken by Juliet in the so-called 'balcony scene' foreshadows the
words of Mercutio ' a plague on both your houses.' In old Europe, the idea of dynasty
was very important and that could be referred to by mention of family, 'house' , arms or
heraldry - all were similar and showed lineage of status that went back generations. So
the names of Montague and Capulet went very far back and engendered either hatred or
loyalty depending on one's allegiance or dependency. So Juliet's childlike comment
shows either innocence or naievte (she loved Romeo whatever he was callled) - but for
what was in a name the locals would fight to death- with terrible consequences.
The quotation is actually a very profound one. It suggests that a name is simply a label
to distinguish something from another. It does not create worth nor does it create true
meaning. What is important is the worth of the individual or thing. A rose, if called
something entirely different, would still smell as sweetly as it does with the name "rose."
Juliet likens this to Romeo - Romeo is still the man she loves had he a different name.
What is his name but, simply, a label. It does not define him as a man.
This, of course, is relevant because the Capulets (her family) and the Montegues
(Romeo's family) loathe each other. To be in love would be forbidden simply because of
their names. What Juliet exposes is the ridiculousness of the feud between the two
families over, simply, who they are. What the feud is about is, therefore, unknown and
This quote suggests Shakespeare's belief that a name means little - it is the worth of the
individual that counts.
Juliet is not allowed to associate with Romeo because he is a Montague. If he had any other
name it would be fine. She‟s complaining that his name is meaningless. If the rose had any
other name it would still be the same. So with Romeo; he would still be the same beautiful
young man even if he had a different name. “What‟s in a name? That which we call a rose by
any other name would smell as sweet” Juliet knows that the blood feud prevents her from
loving a Montague. She ponders it. It‟s only your name that‟s the enemy. You are what you
are, even though you may be a Montague. What‟s „Montague‟? It isn‟t hand or foot or arm or
face or any other part belonging to a man. Oh I wish you had a different name. What is so
special about a name? A rose, even if it were called something else, would smell just as
sweet. So Romeo would still have all the perfection that he has, even if he were not called
Romeo. Romeo, take off your name and in exchange for that whole name, which is not really
a part of what you are, you can have all of me.