Teach me how I should forget to think (1.1.216-219)

BENVOLIO      Be ruled by me, forget to think of her.

ROMEO           O teach me how I should forget to think.

BENVOLIO      By giving liberty unto thine eyes,

                        Examine other beauties. (1.1.216-219)


Plenty more fish in the sea, in other words. (According to the OED, the Cambridge student Gabriel Harvey made this observation in 1573, in a very bad poem called ‘The Schollers Loove’. Who knew?) Benvolio does recognize that his friend is obsessed and stuck: just look around, he says; you’re in a prison of your own making. And he also sets up the terms which Romeo will echo, some scenes later, when he sees Juliet for the first time. Romeo’s frustration rings true, however: teach me how I should forget to think, he protests.

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