The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Eleven – Vocabulary

Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? We all know the saying, but do we all know what it actually means? The vocab word for The Prince and the Pauper Chapter 11 is…


Though The Prince and the Pauper is not written by William Shakespeare, it is set fairly close to the time where Shakespeare was alive. Therefore, we see Elizabethan language pop up in the story, particularly in the dialogue. We’ve already focused on some of those language patterns, but ‘wherefore’ deserved it’s own post, considering how often people mistake its meaning. Keep reading or watch the video below to find out more!



(adv) for what reason or purpose

Often mistaken for “where”
Not really used modern-day




  • Language of Origin: Middle English
  • “hwarfore” = where (what) + for

Sentences/Additional Forms

  • Straightforward sentence: Wherefore did you go there?
  • Sentence from the chapter: “…above it rose many a slender spire into the sky, incrusted with sparkling lights, wherefore in their remoteness they seemed like jewelled lances thrust aloft…” (p. 54)
  • Other forms: N/A

There are many other where the word “where” has a preposition tacked on the end (whereabouts, whereas, whereat, whereon, whereof, etc.) – in most cases the word “where” actually means “what” or “which” in these compounds.

But wait, there’s more!

“Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?”

  • Not “Where are you Romeo?” but rather “WHY are you Romeo?”
  • Juliet is asking WHY he has the name that he does (why is he a Montague), because under other circumstances, they could have been happily together.

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