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General Prologue: Introduction

❶After all, well-to-do teenage girls would not be pursuing careers as lawyers, physicians, writers, painters, musicians, or bookkeepers. Verse, Prose, and Poetry Shakespeare wrote his plays partly in verse and partly in prose, freely alternating between the two in the same acts and scenes.

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Distraught, Juliet turns to Friar Laurence for advice, vowing that she would rather kill herself than marry another man while her husband lives. He gives Juliet a potion that will make her appear dead for forty-two hours. The Friar will send word to Romeo of their plan, and then he and Romeo will wait in the tomb for Juliet to awaken.

When she does, Romeo will take her back to Mantua with him. Juliet takes the potion later that night, and all goes to plan when her family finds her apparently dead the next morning.

In Mantua, Romeo hears from a servant that Juliet has died, and determined to join her in death, he purchases poison and travels back to Verona. Unaware of the relationship between Romeo and Juliet, Paris assumes that Romeo is merely a Montague trying to defile the Capulet graves. Paris challenges Romeo to a duel, and Romeo reluctantly fights and kills him. Entering the tomb, Romeo sees Juliet, who is still in her death-like sleep. He kisses her one last time before drinking the poison and dying.

The Friar arrives after realizing that his letter never reached Romeo, and he is shocked to see the bodies of Paris and Romeo in the tomb. Just then, Juliet wakes up from her sleep.

Knowing that the city watchmen are on their way, the Friar urges Juliet to flee the scene. Juliet refuses to leave and the Friar runs from the tomb. Alone, Juliet kisses Romeo in the hopes that the poison he drank will kill her too. When that fails, she grabs a dagger and stabs herself just before the watchmen enter the tomb.

The chief watchman summons Prince Escalus, the Montagues, and the Capulets to the tomb. The Prince adds that he, too, has been punished for allowing the feud to continue—now, his kinsmen Mercutio and Paris lay dead. Devastated by the loss of their respective children, the Capulets and the Montagues reconcile their differences and end the feud once and for all. Search Romeo and Juliet. If a play met government standards—that is, if it did not attempt to inflame the people against the crown—a publisher could print and sell the play.

Authors of plays often had misgivings about committing their work to print, as the following quotation points out. Brooke's work, a long narrative poem, was based on a French version of the tragedy by Pierre Boiastuau circa In turn, Boiastuau based his story on a Italian work by Matteo Bandello , a monk and author of two hundred fourteen tales.

Brokenhearted, he kills himself. Thisbe is still alive, however. But when she discovers the body of Pyramus, she also kills herself. It ends four days later in the same city shortly after sunrise.

Verona is in northern Italy about sixty-five miles west of Venice. The ruler of Verona at the time of the legendary Montague-Capulet feud was Bartolomeo della Scalla, who died in Part of the action in the play takes place in Mantua.

Romeo goes there after the Prince of Verona banishes him. Mantua is in the Lombardy region of Italy, just south of the Swiss border. In discussing the deep emotions in the play, essayist and literary critic William Hazlitt wrote the following: Reynell, Characters Romeo and Juliet: Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet are immature teenagers—in fact, Juliet is not yet fourteen—who fall deeply in love even though their families are bitter enemies.

Impatient and rash, they seize the moment and marry in secret. But further efforts to conceal their actions go awry and end tragically. In world literature they have become archetypal ill-fated lovers.

Countless other literary and artistic works, including the Academy Award-winning film West Side Story , have been based on this Shakespeare drama. Romeo and Juliet are the main characters, or protagonists.

Their antagonists include the opposing family clans, as well as these families' prejudices. In addition, Romeo and Juliet's own immaturity works against them.

Heads of the feuding families. Escalus ESK uh lihs: Young nobleman, kinsman of Escalus. The Capulets try to pressure Juliet into accepting a marriage proposal from Paris. Elderly and unattractive woman who is Juliet's attendant, confidante, and messenger. She has been with Juliet since the girl was an infant, serving as her wet nurse and in many ways as her mother. The nurse had a daughter, Susan, who was the same age as Juliet.

After the child died, the nurse focused her attentions on Juliet. At Juliet's behest, she meets with Romeo to sound him out on his intentions toward Juliet.

Her homely language and her preoccupation with the practical, everyday world contrast sharply with the elevated language of Romeo and Juliet and their preoccupation with the idealistic world of love. Kinsman of the prince and friend of Romeo. He recognizes the utter stupidity of the feud between the Capulets and the Montagues and understands that overpowering, passionate love—the kind of love that ignores reason and common sense—can lead to tragedy.

Nephew of Montague, cousin and friend to Romeo. Headstrong nephew of Lady Capulet. Ever ready to fight the Montagues at the slightest provocation, he personifies the hatred generated by feuding families. Friar Laurence , Friar John: Franciscan priests robed Catholic monks who follow a regimen established by St.

Friar Laurence marries Romeo and Juliet, hoping the marriage will end the Montague-Capulet feud, and tries to help them overcome their problems with a scheme that, unfortunately, goes awry.

Friar John, a minor character, is charged with carrying a letter to Romeo. Balthasar BAL thuh zar: Assistant of Juliet's nurse. Poverty-stricken with "famine" in his cheeks, he illegally sells Romeo a deadly poison.

Thus, he provides an interesting contrast to Romeo in that he breaks a law to stay alive whereas Romeo breaks a law the moral law against suicide to die. Rosaline ROZ uh lin: Niece of Lord Capulet and tshe girl with whom Romeo is infatuated before he meets Juliet. Rosaline speaks not lines in the play, but is referred to by Romeo, Benvolio, Mercutio, and Friar Laurence.

Oddly, actor David Garrick omitted her character from his production of Romeo and Juliet in the belief that Romeo's abandonment of her for Juliet was unrealistic. The chorus recites the prologue preceding the first act. The prologue sets the scene, Verona, and tells of the "ancient grudge" between the Montague and Capulet families.

Workers in the Capulet home. Masked guests at the Capulet party in the first act. Lord Capulet speaks this name in line 8 of the fourth scene of Act 4.

He appears to be addressing the nurse, but it is possible that he is referring to his wife. Juliet Capulet absolutely adores Romeo Montague. However, the Montague family absolutely despises the Capulet family, and vice versa, because of an old grudge.

How is it possible for Romeo and Juliet to love and live happily in so poisonous an atmosphere? That is the central issue of this play. Take their life appears to have a double-meaning: So it is that, from the very beginning of their existence as human beings within the wombs of their mothers, Romeo and Juliet are doomed by Fate as children of hatred.

So deep is the enmity between the two families that the friends of the Montagues and the friends of the Capulets are also enemies. In the first scene of Act 1, two servants of the Capulets, Sampson and Gregory, encounter two servants of the Montagues, Abraham and Balthasar, on a street. Sampson places his thumb between his teeth, then flicks it forward at the Montague servants.

This insulting gesture carries the same meaning as an upturned middle finger in modern America. Verbal insults follow and swords cross. Tybalt, a belligerent Capulet ally, lashes out at Benvolio, a friend of Romeo Montague, for attempting to make peace, saying: The ruckus attracts citizens, peace officers, supporters of the Montagues and Capulets, and eventually Lord and Lady Capulet and Lord and Lady Montague.

The Prince of Verona, Escalus, intervenes and ends the fray with these stern words: But her name is Rosaline, not Juliet. Rosaline, Lord Capulet's niece, is so fair, Romeo says, that when she dies, all that is beautiful in the world will die with her.

However, Rosaline vows to live a life of chastity. She will not yield to love. When Lord Capulet holds a dinner party attended by everyone who is anyone in Verona—including the city's most winsome young ladies, Rosaline among them—Romeo attends to see Rosaline and measure her against the other comely maidens.

Surely she will outshine them all. Because of the hatred dividing the Capulets and the Montagues, Romeo wears a mask. His friends Benvolio and Mercutio also attend, likewise disguised. And then Romeo notices Juliet. She is flawlessly exquisite; she is stunning, gorgeous, ravishing; she is beyond compare.

All thoughts of Rosaline vanish. There is only Juliet. Unable to contain himself, Romeo declares: Ethiopian] Tybalt, Lord Capulet's nephew, recognizes Romeo's voice and threatens violence, asking a boy to bring him his rapier a sword.

But Lord Capulet, not wishing to ruin the party, steps in to keep the peace, noting that Romeo is behaving in a gentlemanly manner. Juliet, meanwhile, has noticed Romeo—and fallen deeply in love. She and Romeo exchange beautiful words that seal their love. Benvolio and Mercutio, following behind, call out for him, but Romeo does not respond. Mercutio, sensing that Romeo's sudden obsession with Juliet will go amiss, says: His words foreshadow the tragic events that follow.

When Juliet appears alone at a window overlooking the Capulet orchard, Romeo, observing her from below, says: Romeo visits a priest, Friar Laurence, the next day to tell him of his love for Juliet, and the good Franciscan approves of the relationship, believing it will be the key to ending the Montague-Capulet feud.

Later, Juliet sends her nurse to Romeo to sound him out on his intentions, and he tells her that Juliet should come to Friar Laurence's cell to confess her sins, then marry Romeo. After the nurse reports back to Juliet, all goes according to plan, and Romeo and Juliet become husband and wife, although they make no public announcement of their marriage. On his way back from the wedding, Romeo encounters his friend Mercutio quarreling with Tybalt. Romeo tries to pacify them, to no avail, and Tybalt mortally wounds Mercutio.

Mercutio—who understands the stupidity and folly of the Montague-Capulet feud—curses the two families, saying, "A plague o' [on] both your houses! He repeats these words three times before dying. Romeo, in turn, kills Tybalt. The fighting has attracted citizens of Verona, including the prince; he banishes Romeo. When Juliet asks her nurse for news of Romeo, the nurse says, "Ah, well-a-day! She is referring to Tybalt, her good friend; Juliet thinks she is speaking of Romeo and wonders whether he has killed himself.

The nurse then recounts the events of the violent encounter: Romeo killed Tybalt, Juliet's kin. At first, Juliet criticizes Romeo for committing such a deed but moments later scolds herself for speaking harsh words about her beloved husband. Before leaving the city, Romeo returns to Juliet and spends the night with her. At dawn, as the lovers gaze out the window, Romeo tells Juliet to Look, love, what envious streaks Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east: Meanwhile, Juliet's mother announces that her daughter must marry Paris, a nobleman.

Desperate for help, Juliet asks Friar Laurence for advice. He tells her to consent to the wedding, then drink a potion that will make her appear dead. After the Capulets lay her to rest in the family burial vault, the friar tells her, he and Romeo will rescue her. Juliet agrees to the plan, and Friar Laurence sends Friar John to deliver a message to Romeo that will inform him of the scheme.

But, by accident, the message goes undelivered. In her bed chamber, Juliet takes out the vial containing the potion. She is fearful that it may not work. Overcoming that fear, she then worries that the potion may actually be a poison that Friar Laurence had prepared for her so that he will not have to be dishonored by marrying her to Paris while she is already married to Romeo. However, she overcomes this fear as well, then takes the drug and collapses onto the bed.

When wedding preparations are under way in the Capulet household, Lord Capulet tells the nurse to awaken Juliet. But the nurse discovers her lying lifeless and stiff. Lord Capulet observes that "Death lies on her like an untimely frost" 4.

When news of Juliet's "death" reaches Romeo, he purchases a potion of his own—a deadly one—from an apothecary and returns to Verona to die alongside Juliet.

At the burial vault, he encounters Paris and his page. Paris is there to lay flowers at Juliet's grave. The adversaries quarrel, exchanging insults, then fight. After Juliet awakens and discovers the bodies, grief overwhelms her and she kills herself, using Romeo's dagger. When the page returns with three watchmen, they discover the bloody scene and one of the watchmen fetches the Montague and Capulet families and the Prince of Verona. Others come running to the scene.

When everyone sees the bodies, the prince calls for quiet and calm while he inquires about the cause of the deaths. Finally, the page of Paris recounts what he saw at the tomb. The feuding families then reconcile, and the prince observes: In Romeo and Juliet , the exposition includes the confrontation between the Montague and Capulet servants in Act 1, the secret marriage of Romeo and Juliet at the end of Act 2, and the street fight in Act 3 in which Tybalt kills Mercutio and Romeo kills Tybalt.

In another foreshadowing, Romeo recites the following lines in referring to Juliet as the sun at daybreak, envied by the moon: At the end of the play, Romeo and Juliet both kill themselves to end their grief.

Climax and Denouement The climax of a play or another fictional literary work, such as a short story or a novel, can be defined as 1 the turning point at which the conflict begins to resolve itself for better or worse, or as 2 the final and most exciting event in a series of events.

The climax of Romeo and Juliet , according to the first definition, occurs when Romeo kills Tybalt, causing a turning point that begins with Romeo's banishment. According to the second definition, the climax occurs in the final act, when Romeo, Juliet, and Paris die. The denouement conclusion , or falling action, occurs when Lord Montague, the Capulets, the prince, and others arrive at the scene of the suicides and commiserate.

Friar Laurence, Balthasar, and the page inform them of events leading up to the suicide. The love between Romeo and Juliet is sublimely beautiful. Not only do they feel deeply for each other, but they also respect each other.

Neither attempts to impose his or her will on the other; neither places his or her welfare above the other. Realizing that love and lust are not the same, they prize each other spiritually as well as physically. Therefore, meeting in secret from time to time to gratify their powerful sexual desires without the permanent commitment of marriage is out of the question. Such an arrangement would cheapen their relationship; it would reduce their love to a mere bestial craving.

Consequently, at great risk, they decide to sanctify their relationship with a marriage ceremony binding them to eternal love.

Theirs is no Hollywood marriage for three months or three years, based on selfish sexual gratification; theirs is a marriage meant for eternity, based on unselfish commitment to the spouse. Does their immediate attraction to each other suggest that their love is shallow, based only on physical qualities? One can argue that point. Indeed, Friar Lawrence—wondering whether Romeo exhibits the symptoms of passion rather than true love—comments, Holy Saint Francis, what a change is here!

Is Rosaline, whom thou didst love so dear, So soon forsaken? Romeo indicates as much when he observes that Juliet's beauty is transcendent, "too dear" for earth.

So powerful is the love between Romeo and Juliet that it subjugates reason and common sense as guiding forces and causes the lovers to take dangerous risks. Their behavior, as well as events over which they have no control, vernalize their relationship, giving it little time to reach full growth. In the end, their overpowering feelings cause them to take their own lives. Violence The hatred between the Montagues and Capulets it promotes constant tension and violence, resulting in street brawls, the deaths of Tybalt and Mercutio, and, of course, the deaths of their own children, Romeo, Juliet, and Paris.

Immaturity Immaturity and inexperience can lead to tragic endings. This theme reaches its full development when callow Romeo and Juliet, believing all is lost, act out of the passion of the moment and commit suicide. If they had had the wisdom to consider that their whole lives lay before them, that other paths lay open to them, they surely would have embraced a fabian tactic to whittle away the opposition.

Judging People Shakespeare makes clear that one should judge people by their character and personal qualities, not by their name or social standing.

Inherited Guilt Innocent children sometimes pay for the sins of their parents. Romeo and Juliet forfeit their lives partly as a result of their parents' hatred and prejudice. Fate vs Free Will Fate acts through human folly. It is as if human beings are puppets who have no control over their actions.

From the very beginning, Romeo and Juliet are "star-cross'd" as children of "fatal loins. Human beings have free will; they have the power to create their futures. Unfortunately, too often they lack the wisdom or moral strength to make the right decisions and, instead, pursue a course of action which seems fated for disaster. The play opens with the chorus reciting a poem.

Then, in the opening dialogue, Shakespeare spices his writing with puns and double-entendres, as when the servants Sampson and Gregory make veiled sexual references: Mercutio, a brilliant punster and shaper of imagery, uses his way with words to criticize the stupidity of the feuding families and the folly of blind passion. Sometimes, a single passage he speaks contains a gamut of language devices.

Note, for example, the following prose passage, spoken when he sees Romeo approaching. Perhaps the most famous oxymoron in the play is the one occurring in the last two words of this line: Shake quoth the dove-house: And since that time it is eleven years; For then she could stand alone; nay, by the rood, She could have run and waddled all about; For even the day before, she broke her brow: And then my husband--God be with his soul!

A' was a merry man--took up the child: Thou wilt fall backward when thou hast more wit; Wilt thou not, Jule? I warrant, an I should live a thousand years, I never should forget it: Thou wilt fall backward when thou comest to age; Wilt thou not, Jule? God mark thee to his grace! Thou wast the prettiest babe that e'er I nursed: An I might live to see thee married once, I have my wish. Tell me, daughter Juliet, How stands your disposition to be married?

Thus then in brief: The valiant Paris seeks you for his love. This night you shall behold him at our feast; Read o'er the volume of young Paris' face, And find delight writ there with beauty's pen; Examine every married lineament, And see how one another lends content And what obscured in this fair volume lies Find written in the margent of his eyes.

This precious book of love, this unbound lover, To beautify him, only lacks a cover: The fish lives in the sea, and 'tis much pride For fair without the fair within to hide: That book in many's eyes doth share the glory, That in gold clasps locks in the golden story; So shall you share all that he doth possess, By having him, making yourself no less.

But no more deep will I endart mine eye Than your consent gives strength to make it fly. I must hence to wait; I beseech you, follow straight. Exit Servant Juliet, the county stays. Or shall we on without a apology? We'll have no Cupid hoodwink'd with a scarf, Bearing a Tartar's painted bow of lath, Scaring the ladies like a crow-keeper; Nor no without-book prologue, faintly spoke After the prompter, for our entrance: But let them measure us by what they will; We'll measure them a measure, and be gone.

I am not for this ambling; Being but heavy, I will bear the light. I have a soul of lead So stakes me to the ground I cannot move. Under love's heavy burden do I sink. Give me a case to put my visage in: A visor for a visor! Here are the beetle brows shall blush for me. The game was ne'er so fair, and I am done. If thou art dun, we'll draw thee from the mire Of this sir-reverence love, wherein thou stick'st Up to the ears.

Come, we burn daylight, ho! Take our good meaning, for our judgment sits Five times in that ere once in our five wits. She is the fairies' midwife, and she comes In shape no bigger than an agate-stone On the fore-finger of an alderman, Drawn with a team of little atomies Athwart men's noses as they lie asleep; Her wagon-spokes made of long spiders' legs, The cover of the wings of grasshoppers, The traces of the smallest spider's web, The collars of the moonshine's watery beams, Her whip of cricket's bone, the lash of film, Her wagoner a small grey-coated gnat, Not so big as a round little worm Prick'd from the lazy finger of a maid; Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub, Time out o' mind the fairies' coachmakers.

And in this state she gallops night by night Through lovers' brains, and then they dream of love; O'er courtiers' knees, that dream on court'sies straight, O'er lawyers' fingers, who straight dream on fees, O'er ladies ' lips, who straight on kisses dream, Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues, Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are: Sometime she gallops o'er a courtier's nose, And then dreams he of smelling out a suit; And sometime comes she with a tithe-pig's tail Tickling a parson's nose as a' lies asleep, Then dreams, he of another benefice: Sometime she driveth o'er a soldier's neck, And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats, Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades, Of healths five-fathom deep; and then anon Drums in his ear, at which he starts and wakes, And being thus frighted swears a prayer or two And sleeps again.

This is that very Mab That plats the manes of horses in the night, And bakes the elflocks in foul sluttish hairs, Which once untangled, much misfortune bodes: This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs, That presses them and learns them first to bear, Making them women of good carriage: Thou talk'st of nothing. But He, that hath the steerage of my course, Direct my sail! A hall in Capulet's house. He shift a trencher? Good thou, save me a piece of marchpane; and, as thou lovest me, let the porter let in Susan Grindstone and Nell.

Cheerly, boys; be brisk awhile, and the longer liver take all. Ah ha, my mistresses! I have seen the day That I have worn a visor and could tell A whispering tale in a fair lady's ear, Such as would please: You are welcome, gentlemen! A hall, a hall! Music plays, and they dance More light, you knaves; and turn the tables up, And quench the fire, the room is grown too hot.

Ah, sirrah, this unlook'd-for sport comes well. Nay, sit, nay, sit, good cousin Capulet; For you and I are past our dancing days: How long is't now since last yourself and I Were in a mask? His son was but a ward two years ago. It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear; Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear! So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows, As yonder lady o'er her fellows shows. The measure done, I'll watch her place of stand, And, touching hers, make blessed my rude hand.

Did my heart love till now? For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night. Fetch me my rapier, boy.

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Romeo and Juliet: Essay Topics 1). Discuss the character of Romeo and his infatuation with Rosaline. Does this weaken the credibility of the love he feels for Juliet? 2) Friar Laurence serves many dramatic purposes in the play. Examine the Friar and his role in Romeo and Juliet.. 3) Mercutio is considered to be one of Shakespeare's great .

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An overview of Juliet from Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare's Characters: Juliet (Romeo and Juliet)We first see Juliet, the heroine of Romeo and Juliet, in , with her mother, Lady Capulet and the meets Romeo in and they are married in

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Romeo and Juliet help, plot summary, themes, criticism, analysis, forced marriages, figures of speech, study guide. Romeo and Juliet study guide contains a biography of William Shakespeare, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a .

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Download Romeo and Juliet Study Guide Subscribe now to download this study guide, along with more than 30, other titles. Get help with any book. Download PDF Introduction. Script of Act I Romeo and Juliet The play by William Shakespeare. Introduction This section contains the script of Act I of Romeo and Juliet the play by William enduring works of William Shakespeare feature many famous and well loved characters.