What Does You Kiss by the Book Mean

What Does “You Kiss by the Book” Mean?

Shakespeare’s renowned tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, is filled with timeless quotes and profound expressions of love. One such phrase that often leaves readers puzzled is “you kiss by the book.” This intriguing line is spoken by Juliet’s nurse, who is advising her about the art of kissing. While it may seem simple on the surface, its true meaning goes much deeper. In this article, we will explore the significance of the phrase “you kiss by the book” and its implications in the context of the play.

The Origin:
The phrase “you kiss by the book” is found in Act 1, Scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet. Juliet’s nurse, a character known for her frankness and bawdy humor, is discussing the possibility of Juliet falling in love with Romeo, an enemy of her family. The nurse tells Juliet that if Romeo is a good kisser, then he is worth pursuing. She adds, “You kiss by the book.”

What Does It Mean?
The phrase “you kiss by the book” implies that the person is an expert or skilled in the art of kissing. In other words, they kiss perfectly, as if following a set of rules or guidelines. This suggests that the person knows exactly how to please their partner and create a passionate connection through their kisses.

Furthermore, the phrase can be interpreted as a commentary on the nature of love in Romeo and Juliet. The play often explores the themes of fate and predestination, and the idea that love should conform to societal expectations. By saying “you kiss by the book,” the nurse may be implying that love itself should also follow a set of rules or conventions.

Implications in Romeo and Juliet:
In the context of Romeo and Juliet, the phrase “you kiss by the book” carries significant implications for the passionate and impulsive love between the two main characters. Romeo and Juliet’s love is often portrayed as transcending societal norms, and their passion is seen as something extraordinary and beyond the rules.

The nurse’s remark, however, represents a more conservative perspective. It suggests that love should adhere to societal customs and traditions, even in the act of kissing. This tension between love as an untamed force and love as a regulated entity is a recurring theme throughout the play.

Furthermore, the phrase can also be seen as foreshadowing the tragic end of Romeo and Juliet’s love story. By implying that love should follow a set of rules, the nurse hints at the consequences of their passionate and unconventional love. Their love, being outside the bounds of societal expectations, ultimately leads to their untimely demise.

FAQs:

Q: Who says “you kiss by the book” in Romeo and Juliet?
A: The phrase is spoken by Juliet’s nurse in Act 1, Scene 5 of the play.

Q: What does “you kiss by the book” mean?
A: The phrase implies that the person is an expert or skilled in the art of kissing, following a set of rules or guidelines.

Q: What is the significance of the phrase in Romeo and Juliet?
A: The phrase represents a tension between passionate, untamed love and love conforming to societal expectations. It foreshadows the tragic consequences of Romeo and Juliet’s love story.

Q: Does the phrase have any relevance in modern times?
A: While the phrase may not be commonly used today, its underlying meaning of expertise or perfection in kissing can still resonate with people who appreciate the art of kissing.

Q: Is there any other instance of the phrase being used outside of Romeo and Juliet?
A: The phrase is not commonly found outside of Romeo and Juliet, as it is specific to the play and its context.

In conclusion, the phrase “you kiss by the book” holds a deeper meaning beyond its surface interpretation. It represents the tension between societal expectations and passionate love in Romeo and Juliet. The phrase serves as a reminder of the tragic consequences that can arise when love is seen as an untamed force, going against the established norms.

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