The line "where polite blood provides civil hands unclean" means that citizens have stained their hands through the blood the their fellow citizens. This is the reference to the bloody feud between the Montagues and the Capulets that has actually long been raging in Verona.

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This line is indigenous the prologue that Romeo and Juliet . The prologue opens up the show and basically supplies the audience a review of the story castle are about to watch unfold ~ above stage. It likewise offers up some essential context to help set the stage, explaining the there are...

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This line is native the prologue of Romeo and also Juliet. The prologue opens the show and basically supplies the audience a an introduction of the story they are around to watch unfold ~ above stage. It likewise offers up some essential context come help collection the stage, explaining the there are two households who, despite their noble status, are involved in longstanding and violent feud.

Shakespeare writes his theatre in both prose and verse. The prologue is in iambic pentameter and follows the style of a sonnet. There room 14 lines, through the adhering to rhyme scheme: ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. Every line the iambic pentameter has five metrical feet. The feet room two syllables, the very first being unstressed and the 2nd is stressed.

The quote around "civil blood" is the fourth line in the prologue sonnet, and also therefore the 4th line in the totality show. That is important to setup the stage. We have the right to see the ABAB luck scheme:

Two households, both alike in dignity (A)

In same Verona, whereby we lay our scene, (B)

From old grudge rest to brand-new mutiny, (A)

Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. (B)

We have the right to examine the iambic pentameter malfunction of this line:

Where ci / vil blood / makes ci / vil hands / unclean.

Through repeat of the word "civil," Shakespeare sets increase a to compare in our minds. Additionally note that both words adhering to "civil" (blood and hands) are stressed in the verse. "Blood" describes the dignified bloodlines, but also calls to mind the literal blood that will be flood on stage during the brawls. "Unclean" also makes united state think that the metaphorical idea that the characters "dirtying their hands" by engaging in the feud, but again we understand their hands will certainly literally it is in unclean as they space covered in each other"s blood.

critical Updated by Editorial on may 27, 2021

The long-standing feud between the Montagues and also the Capulets, i beg your pardon will ultimately lead to the catastrophic deaths of Romeo and Juliet, have the right to be viewed as a kind of civil battle in that members the the same community are at each other"s throats.

The city of Verona is bitterly divided between the partisans of one household or another. And their long, drawn-out dispute shows no sign of letting up, no matter exactly how much blood has been spilled.

The citizens of Verona, who generally pride themselves on being civilized, have no compunction around getting their hands bloody by participating in acts of murderous violence.

This paradox is encapsulated in the above line from the prologue—“Where polite blood provides civil hand unclean”—where we have the right to observe a pat on words. “Civil” can mean the which relates to the comes to of citizens, or it deserve to mean courteous and polite. Both interpretations are appropriate here.

On the one hand, the citizens of Verona choose to pride themselves on being civilized, courteous people. However at the exact same time, they"re involved in a civil war, a war regarded citizens and their concerns and also which has affiliated the shedding of lot blood as the Montagues and also the Capulets have regulated to store up their seemingly never-ending feud.

Further Reading

This line method that citizens of Verona will dirty their hands (in a literal and also figurative sense) through the blood of various other citizens. Literally, the old feud in between the Montagues and also the Capulets will certainly cause brand-new fights to rest out, and the blood of every side will be spilled by the other. We watch this in the very very first scene, when Sampson and Gregory native the residence of Capulet struggle (for no real reason other than the feud) with the two servants indigenous the home of Montague. Figuratively, the old feud will reason members the each family to carry out things that will render lock guilty of wrongdoing. We check out this when Tybalt death Mercutio and when Romeo then slays Tybalt. Mercutio is not also a Montague, yet he fights Tybalt when he trust Romeo to it is in behaving dishonorably. Then Romeo kills Tybalt, his new relative by marriage.

This line, indigenous the Prologue, refers to the quarrels in between ordinary people and also how these have the right to lead come violence and bloodshed. The specific quarrel the this play is pertained to with is that in between two old noble families of Verona, the Montagues and Capulets.

The key aspect that this line is words "civil" which has actually a double meaning. In the an initial instance it just refers come the simple people, the citizen of a state (as opposed to the government, army, or legit and spiritual institutions). However, the can additionally be required to denote attributes such as courtesy, respect, restraint, rationality and also dignity, i m sorry ideally have to be existing in the world of a supposedly civilized and also well-ordered state.

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The use of words "civil" becomes fairly ironic in the Prologue together in the course of the pat the Montagues and also Capulets will be presented to be anything but courteous and also dignified in their dealings v each other. They prosecute an old feud which spend all your energies. There is no reasonable basis because that such enmity, nor does it often tend to any kind of worthwhile end. Rather, it causes unnecessary suffering and needless deaths like those that the young lovers, Romeo and also Juliet, that would fairly indulge confident emotions that love instead of hate. Your tragedy is the they are recorded up in this continuous warfare in between their respective families. In the end, their deaths do bring around a reconciliation between the two houses, however there is a sense that that is really too late.

In this Prologue, the Montagues and also Capulets are also implicitly condemned for degrading their the aristocracy by their quarrelsome and futile actions. They space of ancient lineage and also high rank - "two households, both alike in dignity" - yet they abjectly fail to set a an excellent example come the rest of society.