FiveThirtyEight was surprised to find, via computer analysis, that Romeo and Juliet speak less to each other than to other characters.
I’m blaming Romeo for this lack of communication. Juliet speaks 155 lines to him, and he speaks only 101 to her. His reticence toward Juliet is particularly inexcusable when you consider that Romeo spends more time talking than anyone else in the play. (He spends only one-sixth of his time in conversation with the supposed love of his life.)
The plays with the most connected lovers seem to be the ones with strong women: “The Taming of the Shrew’s” fiery Katharina, “Macbeth’s” homicidal Lady Macbeth, “The Merchant of Venice’s” brilliant Portia, and “Antony and Cleopatra’s” seductive and defiant Cleopatra. In general, Shakespeare’s female lovers lavish a larger share of their lines on their men than the men do on them. This is true not just of “Romeo and Juliet,” but of “Macbeth,” “The Taming of the Shrew” and all four couples in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The only real exceptions, tellingly, occur in the plays where the women pose as men: “Twelfth Night” and “The Merchant of Venice.” (Antony and Cleopatra spend roughly equal shares of lines on each other.)