WHAT'S IN A NAME? THAT WHICH WE CALL A ROSE BY ANY OTHER WORD WOULD SMELL AS SWEET
If there's such a thing as generic Shakespeare today, this is it. Both "What's in a name?" and "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" are Instant Bard, although the latter is, as many forget, merely a paraphrase. From the romantic declamation to the crass advertisement, these phrases have served generations with complete flexibility.
"What's in a name?" is the less specific of the two phrases, and also the less common. Juliet here merely rehearses in a different form the point of "What's a Montague," moving, like a good Renaissance student, from the particular to the general. Names in general, she insists, ought to be separable from the things they name. Romeo never does change his name, and it wouldn't have done much good anyway. Whether or not he's essentially a Montague, and Juliet essentially a Capulet, their families will continue to act that way.
"That which we call a rose/ By any other word would smell as sweet" seems bloated to the modern ear. But we're accustomed to the paraphrase, which never occurred to the playwright or his audience. It's a little futile to second-guess Shakespeare now, but he did have to fill out a line and a half of blank verse. Regarding Juliet's use of "word" instead of "name," we can perhaps be grateful; she already uses "name" six times in fifteen and a half lines. -- http://www.enotes.com/