Thursday, November 4, 2010


What is in a name?

'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.
Romeo and Juliet

And yet... names have great meaning and power. In stories as diverse as Vernor Vinge's True Names and Ursula K Leguin's Earthsea trilogy, the name of the thing is what was required to be able to have power over it. Even in the here-and-now, there is much desire to hide behind "anonymous", and many people who wish for it to be not-so-anonymous.

Is a rose by another name really just as sweet? Rose is, after all, another four letter word.

No comments:

Post a Comment