Romeo and Juliet Acts 1-4

Monologue a long speech made by one person that prevents anyone else from talkingExample from romeo and Juliet: When juliet was talking about how Romeo killed Tybalt and how Mercutio was going on about his rant about dreams and Queen Mab
Tragedy A kind of drama that presents a serious subject matter about human suffering and terrible events in a very dignified manner Example from romeo and Juliet:
Tragic hero A tragic hero is a character in a work of fiction (often the protagonist) who commits an action or makes a mistake which eventually leads to his or her defeatExample from Romeo and Juliet: Romeo because he made a mistake of killing Tybalt, which let to his exile and later on killed Paris, which then eventually led him to kill himself
Dialogue conversation between two or more persons in a story Example from Romeo and Juliet: When the nurse, Lady Capulet, and Juliet were talking about her feelings on marriage, Capulet talking to his servants, etc
Aside a term used in drama and theatre and its used when a characters dialogue is spoken but not heard by the other actors on stage Example from Romeo and Juliet: In the balcony scene when Juliet was professing her love for Romeo and he said “Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?” In this example, Romeo has heard Juliet speak her private thoughts. He lets the audience know by his aside that he is torn about whether he should reply, thereby revealing his presence, or stay and hear more.
Soliloquy when the character has a speech and nobody else is on the stage , this is important because we the audience will truly know how that character feelsExample: When Juliet was talking about Romeo in the balcony scene and vice versa with Romeo when he was comparing her beauty to the sun
Stage directions an instruction written into the script of a play, indicating stage actions, movements of performers, or production requirements. Example from Romeo and Juliet: when Juliet pulls out a knife and takes out the potion to drink it, when it tells the characters to leave, etc
Plot Sequence of eventsExample: the order of events for Romeo and Juliet
Literary Devices
Simile A simile is a figure of speech consisting of a comparison using like or as.Example: “and flecked darkness like a drunkard reels””My bounty as boundless as the sea”
Metaphor A metaphor is when you compare too unlike things without using like or as.Example:”But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.”( In this metaphor Romeo is comparing Juliet to the sun)”My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.” (I think that Romeo is feeling excited to kiss juliet and he is saying kissing juliet would be a religious experience)
Allusion An allusion is a casual reference to a person, place, or event without actually being specific to the reference or incident. Example: When Romeo was talking about Cupid’s arrows to Mercutio [ saying how Rosaline was not hit with them]When Romeo was comparing Juliet to the sun
Oxymoron an oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines two apparently contradictory termsExample:Oh, heavy lightness, serious vanityFeather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health
Personification When you give non-living things or animals human like traits Example:” the gray eyed morn smiles on the frowning night”” Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon”
Foreshadowing the author hints at what will happen later in the story Example: Friar lawrence mentioning how violent delights can have violent ends, Mercutio putting a plague on both households, Juliet threatening suicide if she can’t see Romeo [ also threatened suicide if she had to marry Paris], Romeo saying at the balcony scene about how he didn’t care if he got caught and killed by Juliet’s guards
Dramatic irony when the reader knows something will happen , but the character doesn’t knowExample: When Romeo and Juliet kiss at the party but they don’t know that they are sworn enemies, when Juliet’s family thinks she is crying over Tybaly but in truth she is crying about not seeing Romeo, when everyone thinks that Juliet is dead
Verbal irony when you say something but you don’t mean itExample: When Mercutio got hit and said he “would be in a grave” the next dayWhen Juliet’s mother thinks that Juliet wants to kill romeo [ in context her mom misunderstood what she was saying]
Situational irony When an event is completely unexpectedExample: When Romeo went to the party to see Rosaline, but instead he falls in love with Juliet
Sonnet * A poem with 14 lines* rhyme* the rhymes consists of abab,cdcd,efef,gg* written in iambic pentameter* cuatrain = a group of 4 lines* overall sonnet has a total of 3 quatrain and 1 cuplet [ 2 lines back to back that rhyme]Example: When Romeo and Juliet share their first sonnet when they meet at the party
Plots sequence ( example of events from book) Exposition – when we meet the feuding families and when the prince says that if anyone in the feuding family causes another fight they will be subject to death Rising action- when Romeo meets Juliet at the ball and when Juliet’s mom talks about marriage with her Climax- Romeo and Juliet get married and when Mercutio / Tybalt dieFalling action- romeo gets exiled because he killed Tybalt/ when Juliet’s parents force her to marry ParisSolution- when Friar lawrence tells Juliet to take a potion to make her look dead so that she doesn’t have to marry Paris. When she wakes up her and Romeo will run away together.
Act 1 scene 1 On the streets of Verona, two young Capulet servants, Sampson and Gregory, are hanging out and trash-talking the Montagues. Those are some loyal servants. Then some young Montague servants (including Abraham) show up. Sampson and Gregory want to put their money where their mouths are, i.e. kick some Montague butt—but the Prince of Verona has laid out strict laws against starting fights. So, instead, they try to get the Montagues to start the fight. Sampson gives the Montagues the Elizabethan finger—he bites his thumb at them. Success. In about 0.5 seconds, they’re fighting. Benvolio, the resident nice guy, shows up with a “why can’t we all just get along?” But Tybalt, resident Capulet mean-guy, shows up saying something like “I’m going to get medieval on your…personage.” All hell, which has been bursting at the seams up until now, breaks loose. Adding fuel to the fire, the remaining members of each of the families come out to join the fight, or “fray,” as they called it back then. Like any good schoolyard brawl, some authority figure shows up and puts an end to the fun. In this case, it is the Prince of Verona. And he’s m-a-d. He orders the Montagues and the Capulets to cease and desist. (Except it takes him a lot longer to say it, and he adds a supplement that anyone breaking his rule will be put to death.) BTW, Lord and Lady Montague say, has anyone seen their son, Romeo? Romeo, we find out, has been moping around in a “grove of sycamore,” which, by the way, is Shakespeare’s way of hinting that Romeo is love sick or “sick amour.” Not only that, says Sampson, but Romeo never wants to hang out anymore. Montague chimes in, complaining that all Romeo ever does (when he’s not skulking around in sycamore groves) is lock himself up in his dark “chamber” (bedroom). Yep, sounds like a lovesick teenager to us. Benvolio, like any good friend, decides to spy for Romeo’s parents. Romeo wanders in and willingly tells Benvolio that he’s in love with a girl who doesn’t love him back. Cue Romeo’s sighing, lamenting, and poetic musings. Romeo reveals that his unavailable crush has taken a vow of chastity and he boo-hoos about the fact that the still unnamed beautiful girl will never have any beautiful children. (It also means that Romeo will never get to make out with her in the back seat of his car, if you know what we mean.) We interrupt this program for a tasty brain snack: Romeo has been acting like a typical “Petrarchan lover” in this scene. Petrarch was a fourteenth-century Italian poet whose sonnets were all the rage in Renaissance England. In fact, Shakespeare’s own collection of Sonnets is, in part, inspired by Petrarch’s love poetry, which was written about “Laura,” a figure who was as unavailable and unattainable as Romeo’s current crush. Now back to our program. Benvolio tells his friend to get over it already, and that there are other girls to choose from
scene 2 Meanwhile, Lord Capulet is hanging out with County (a.k.a. Count) Paris, Verona’s #1 most Eligible Bachelor. Capulet says something like “I’m getting too old for this whole family feud thing and so is Lord Montague—I’m sure we can work something out to keep the peace.” (Get your highlighters out because this is pretty important. The whole Montague/Capulet feud may not be as big a deal to the older generation as it is to the younger generation.) But Paris has other things on his mind, like, “Hey, can I marry your thirteen-year-old daughter, Juliet?” Capulet says that his daughter’s a little young—better wait until she’s fifteen. (Quick Brain Snack: no, this doesn’t mean that people in the sixteenth century married when they were 13. In fact, most English people of the time married in their early twenties, just like most people everywhere. Shakespeare was probably emphasizing how crazy these Italians were by making Juliet so young.) Plus, he’d like Juliet to be on board with all this. But he says Paris can talk to his daughter at the annual Capulet bash that they’re holding tonight at his house—maybe Juliet will fall in love with Paris. We interrupt this program for a history snack: In Shakespeare’s day, the legal age of marriage was twelve for girls and fourteen for boys, but that doesn’t mean people were running around getting married as pre-teens. In fact, most English people of the time married in their early twenties, just like now But it was totally normal for fathers to broker marriage deals without any input from their daughters, kind of like Montague is doing right now. Capulet gives one of his servants, Peter, a list of people to invite to the party. Unfortunately, the servant can’t read. The illiterate servant decides to look for some people who can read. Romeo and Benvolio come in, still arguing about Romeo’s unnamed love interest. (Don’t worry, we’ll find out this mystery girl’s name soon enough.) The Capulets’ servant asks them to read the guest list for the party. Guess who’s on it? Capulet’s “fair niece Rosaline.” (Yep, that’s Romeo’s dream girl all right. She also happens to be a Capulet but Romeo doesn’t seem to be worried that the big family feud will be a problem. Romeo and Benvolio decide to crash the Capulet party. Romeo wants to see Rosaline and Benvolio wants to convince Romeo that she’s not so special.
scene 3 At the Capulet house, Juliet’s mother, Lady Capulet, comes in to tell her daughter about Paris’s proposal. But Juliet’s nurse (who just gets called “Nurse” through the whole thing) first delivers a long, semi-bawdy speech about Juliet’s infancy and toddler years. Her rambling, tangent of a speech reveals the following information: the Nurse had a baby named Susan who was about Juliet’s age but, sadly, she died. The Nurse is not only Juliet’s nanny but she also her wet-nurse. When it was time to “wean” (stop breastfeeding) Juliet, the Nurse put “wormwood” on her breast. (Wormwood is a disgustingly bitter plant extract.) Also, Juliet once fell down and cut her forehead when she was little, which the Nurse’s late husband thought was hilarious—so hilarious that he turned the accident into a dirty joke about how Juliet would eventually grow up and then fall down (on her back) and have sex with a guy. This is … a lot of information. Lady Capulet eventually cuts her off and tells her to “hold her peace.” Lady Capulet unloads the news that Paris has been sniffing around for Juliet’s hand in marriage. Just check Paris out at the party that night, Lady Capulet says. He’ll be the oh-so-dreamy guy all the other girls are swooning over. Speaking of, Peter, the servant, enters to announce that guests are beginning to arrive for the big bash.
scene 4 Romeo and his posse (i.e., Benvolio and Mercutio) are getting ready to sneak into the Capulets’ party. Luckily, it’s a costume party, so they can wear masks. [We should point out that Mercutio’s name was on the invite list, because he’s not a Montague, but he feels the need to wear a mask anyway. What’s up with that?] Romeo and Mercutio trade insults and there’s some naughty talk about love, in particular, what to do to when “love pricks [hurts] like a thorn.” Mercutio’s solution? “If love be rough with you, be rough with love. Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down.” Translation: The solution to heartache is to go out and have sex. Romeo continues to boo-hoo about the unavailable Rosaline and then he announces that he had a dream the night before. Before he can go into the details, Mercutio interrupts and delivers a long, crazy speech about “Queen Mab,” a tiny fairy who visits people in their dreams. Romeo says Mercutio is talking nonsense and Mercutio, our resident skeptic, retorts that dreams are for idiots. Before entering the party, Romeo says he has a feeling that “fate” may have something bad in store for him.
scene 5 At the shindig, Capulet welcomes his guests to the party and invites everyone to get their groove on. He also threatens that if any young girl refuses to dance, he’ll tell everyone she “hath corns” on her feet. (We’re not kidding.) Now, for the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Romeo sees Juliet dancing and…falls in love at first sight. Rosaline who? Meanwhile, Tybalt, a.k.a. that dude who did all the fighting before, a.k.a. Juliet’s easily angered cousin, recognizes Romeo. Blood boils right about…now. Tybalt tells Lord Capulet that he’s going to beat up Romeo for crashing their party. Lord Capulet orders him to relax and leave Romeo alone—Romeo seems to be a nice enough kid. Plus, Lord Capulet wisely reasons that parties tend to get ruined by open brawls. Once the cops get called, everyone’s fun is ruined. Tybalt just swears he’ll make Romeo pay for this supposed insult later. Cue the dramatic and ominous music. Romeo approaches Juliet and delivers one of the coolest pickup lines to ever come out of the 16th century: “If I profane with my unworthiest hand this holy shrine, the gentle sin is this: My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.” Translation: Kissing you would be a religious experience. Instead of getting annoyed and walking away, Juliet is a little impressed but, being the clever girl she is, Juliet also teases him about his cheesy pick-up line. A few lines of verbal banter later, Romeo kisses her. (Count it: he says a total of 67 words to her before the lip-lock.) Then they kiss again. Meanwhile, their dialogue has formed a perfect Shakespearean love sonnet, rhymes and all. Not too shabby. Juliet’s nurse interrupts them and sends Juliet away, and Romeo asks her the name of the girl he’s been kissing. And … she’s a Capulet. Oops. The party starts breaking up. Juliet, who is already completely in love, asks her nurse to find out the identity of the first guy she has ever kissed. The answer: “His name is Romeo, and a Montague, the only son of your great enemy.” Juliet is not too happy to hear this, but she still manages to be poetic about it: “My only love sprung from my only hate?”
Act 2 scene 1 Romeo doesn’t want to leave the Capulet’s property, so he ditches his friends and hides out in the orchard behind the Capulet house. Benvolio and Mercutio try to find him. Unaware that Romeo now has the hots for Juliet, they shout lots of filthy things about Rosaline hoping that Romeo will come out to defend Rosaline’s honor. No such luck. Eventually they give up and head home.
scene 2 Romeo is wandering aimlessly around the Capulet backyard when guess-who appears on the balcony. “What light through yonder window breaks?” he asks. He then answers his own question. “It is the East, and Juliet is the sun!” Just when you think Romeo is cray-cray, Juliet is talking to herself, too. “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” she asks. You might wonder, “why is she asking where Romeo is?” Well, as it turns out, “Wherefore” doesn’t mean “where.” It means “why.” Juliet is saying, “Why does the guy I love have to be a Montague?” Juliet goes on talking to herself about how amazing Romeo is. Romeo is smart enough to keep his mouth shut and listen. Finally, he can’t resist anymore, and he calls out to her. Juliet is super embarrassed until she realizes that it’s Romeo hiding in the bushes. This is bad news, because if her family finds Romeo, they’ll kill him. Luckily, she gets over her shock fast enough to enjoy the most romantic love scene in the history of Western literature. There’s lots of poetry, vows of love that sound a lot like religious worship, baffling language, and teenage melodrama. Then Juliet basically proposes to Romeo when she says “If that thy bent of love be honourable, / Thy purpose marriage, send me word tomorrow.” Translation: “If you love me and want to marry me, let me know ASAP.” Romeo is game. They end up setting up a way to send messages the next day so they can plan the wedding. Eventually, Romeo and Juliet run out of things to talk about and start babbling just so they don’t have to leave each other—kind of a “You hang up,” “No, you hang up,” deal. But, in Shakespearian terms, “You hang up” is actually “Parting is such sweet sorrow / That I shall say goodnight till it be morrow.” Juliet finally drags herself away to bed because the nurse was calling her and Romeo hightails it off to Friar Laurence, his favorite priest, to figure out the wedding plans.
3 That Romeo sure is fast because the next thing we know, Romeo tracks down Friar Laurence, who has been out foraging for medicinal plants and herbs for one of his concoctions. Friar Laurence delivers a speech about how herbs and plants have the potential to be healing and medicinal, but if they’re misused, they can be deadly poison. Friar Laurence looks at Romeo and notices that loverboy hasn’t “been in bed tonight” and assumes that he must have finally hooked up with Rosaline. He also notices that Romeo is suddenly cheerful after weeks of moping around. Nope, he’s totally over Rosaline and into this chick Juliet. Will Friar Laurence perform the ceremony? The Friar’s response: “Holy Saint Francis!” Friar Laurence provides a much-needed reality check: Romeo has been switching girls like highway lanes. The Friar decides to help Romeo out but not because he’s a romantic: he’s got political motives—a marriage between Romeo and Juliet just might reconcile the two warring families. So, in the name of reducing the yearly street-brawl-murder rate in Verona, Friar Laurence skips the lecture on fidelity and commitment and goes right to agreeing with the marriage.He also mentions on how they should love in moderation and how these violent delights can have violent ends
4 Mercutio and Benvolio still haven’t figured out where Romeo is. It turns out that Tybalt has sent Romeo a message that goes something like this: “I’m going to beat you up with my sword.” But lovelorn Romeo is in no condition to face Tybalt in a duel, right? History Snack: Many Elizabethans believed that love (between a man and a woman that is) basically turned men into sissies. Being “effeminate” didn’t mean you were like a woman—it meant you were too into women. Of course Mercutio also uses the opportunity to take a dig at Tybalt, who takes himself and his sword fighting skills way too seriously. Romeo finally shows up, and he’s dropped the depressed “Rosaline doesn’t love me” act. The fellas engage in one of their favorite pastimes, talking trash and telling some of the dirtiest jokes in Western literature. You know, just a few bros chillin’ together. As planned, the Nurse shows up to meet with Romeo. She looks ridiculous, apparently, and Mercutio can’t resist flirting with her, mocking her, and talking dirty to her. (When the Nurse questions him about the time of day, Mercutio manages to turn a description of a clock into a graphic portrayal of sexual delight] In between all these antics, Romeo manages to take the Nurse aside and tell her that Juliet should find an excuse to come to Friar Laurence’s church—where she will be married. [FYI: Romeo’s keeping his wedding plans from everyone (except the Nurse and Juliet), including his best friends.]
5 In an orchard at the Capulet place, Juliet waits for the Nurse to come back with a message from Romeo. When the Nurse comes back, she plays a little game by refusing to tell Juliet anything and complaining about her aching back. Finally, the Nurse gives in and tells Juliet to run to Friar Laurence’s cell (a “cell” is just a room) where Romeo is waiting so they can get hitched. Before the scene ends, the Nurse says she’ll “fetch a ladder” for Romeo to climb up so the lovers can spend their wedding night together. She also manages to turn her description of Romeo “climbing” the ladder into Juliet’s “bird’s nest” into an image of the kind of sex the couple is going to have later that night.
6 Back at Friar Laurence’s place, the priest tries to convince Romeo to calm down a little. Marriage is for the long term, you see. “These violent delights have violent ends,” he warns. Unfortunately, it goes in one ear and out the other. Juliet runs in. The room’s hormonal level skyrockets. Romeo and Juliet can barely keep their hands off each other, even in the presence of a priest. Friar Laurence takes them off to marry them so they can move on to the highly anticipated honeymoon phase.
Act 3 scene 1 Things are starting to heat up—as they usually do in Act 3. Benvolio and Mercutio are hanging out as usual, trading insults and mocking the Capulets. Trouble materializes in the form of Tybalt, who is trying to find Romeo so he can get back at him for crashing the Capulet party. Tybalt provokes Mercutio by saying “Mercutio, thou consortest with Romeo,” which means “You’re a known associate/friend of Romeo.” It also kind of implies that Romeo and Mercutio are sleeping together. Mercutio responds that he’s going to make Tybalt “dance” with his “fiddlestick” (his sword) and yes, there’s a sexual innuendo at work here, swords being phallic symbols and all. Benvolio, who wants everyone to be friends, warns the guys not to fight in public. And then in stroll the just-married Romeo. Insults are exchanged, but Romeo remembers that Tybalt is his new wife’s cousin, so he turns the other cheek. Mercutio finds this totally shocking—actually dishonorable—so he offers to fight Tybalt instead. So they fight. Romeo tries to intervene, but Tybalt stabs Mercutio. Romeo and Benvolio assume that Mercutio hasn’t been badly hurt because he starts joking about his wound—but it’s no joke. He’s dying. He then gives us the famous line, “A plague on both your houses,” and then turns to BFF Romeo and says, “Why the devil came you between us? I was hurt under your arm,” he says. A minute later, he is dead. Romeo blames himself for Mercutio’s death and laments that his love for “sweet Juliet” “hath made [him] effeminate” [a girly wimp]. So, he decides to man up. By challenging Tybalt to a duel. And killing him. Oops Benvolio tells him to run away before the Prince captures him, and Romeo gets away just before all the citizens of Verona miraculously show up at the scene of the duel. The Prince arrives and is, uh, a little angry. Remember how he said that anyone caught fighting would die? After Benvolio explains what happened, Lady Capulet demands to Romeo be killed. But Lord Montague argues that Tybalt got what was coming to him for killing Mercutio. The Prince comes up with a solution: because Tybalt started the fight, he’ll spare Romeo’s life. But he rules that Romeo must be banished from Verona. Man, and he was just getting ready for his honeymoon.
Scene 2 Juliet, who hasn’t heard about the whole murder/ revenge killing thing, is watching the clock for nightfall, when Romeo is supposed to sneak into her room. When the Nurse enters, Juliet realizes right away that something has gone wrong. First, Juliet thinks Romeo has been killed. Nope: her husband has just murdered her cousin. Juliet’s first reaction is to curse Romeo, and the Nurse joins in—but you know that isn’t going to go over well, and it doesn’t. Juliet turns on the Nurse and tells her she can’t criticize her husband. If he hadn’t killed Tybalt, then Tybalt would have killed Romeo. Forced to choose between the cousin she has loved all her life and her new husband, she chooses Romeo. Teenagers, right? Just as she’s decided to forgive Romeo, she remembers that he’s been banished and starts flipping out. Her Nurse promises to find him so they can at last say goodbye.
Scene 3 Romeo is hiding out at Friar Laurence’s, and Friar updates him on the Tybalt situation. The Friar wants him to see the banishment as good news—yay for no executions?—but Romeo is too focused on the banishment part. There’s a knock at the door. It may be the Prince’s men. Eek. The Friar tells Romeo to hide, but Romeo refuses. Luckily for everyone, it’s only the Nurse at the door. She and the Friar try to deal with Romeo, who keeps threatening really mature things like stabbing himself out of guilt for hurting Juliet. The Friar comes up with a slightly plan that’s better because it doesn’t involve suicide: Romeo and Juliet can have one night together before Romeo leaves Verona. Later, he promises, they’ll be able to figure out a way to get Romeo pardoned by the Prince so he can come back to Verona and make his marriage to Juliet public knowledge. Hearing this plan, Romeo recovers and runs off to see Juliet. Quick Brain Snack: marriages in the Catholic Church (and lots of other churches) weren’t consider valid unless they’d been consummated—i.e., the two people had to have sex. If Juliet and Romeo don’t sleep together, Juliet’s dad will be able to get the marriage declared invalid and marry her off to Paris.
Scene 4 Paris is still hanging around hoping he can marry Juliet. Unfortunately, Juliet’s still way depressed about Tybalt/ Romeo. Juliet’s grief for Tybalt seemed so extreme to her father that he’s changed his mind about waiting a few years before she is married. What better way to cheer her up than to force her into a marriage with a man she’s just not that into? Figuring that there’s no way Juliet could refuse a great guy like Paris, Lord Capulet decides to go full speed ahead. How about marrying her next week? he asks Paris. Sure!
Scene 5 Romeo and Juliet wake after their first and (spoiler alert) only night together. They don’t want to say good-bye, but they know Romeo will be killed if he gets caught in Verona. (Not to mention in Juliet’s bed.) Before Juliet has time to fix her hair or anything, her mother comes in. They manage to have a conversation about “that villain Romeo” in which Lady Capulet misinterprets 99.9% of everything that Juliet says. Lady Capulet announces her big, exciting news: in two days, Juliet will be marrying Paris. No way, says Juliet, being a typical thirteen-year-old. Lady Capulet throws up her hands and basically says “Wait ’til your father gets home.” When he does get home, he’s all pleased with himself for arranging such a great marriage for her, so he’s surprised when he rains on his parental-control parade. Lord Capulet blows up. When verbally abusing Juliet doesn’t work, he tries a different tactic. If she doesn’t marry Paris, he says, he’ll throw her out in the street; she can beg for food or starve. After Lord Capulet storms out, Juliet turns to her mother for help. How could a mother turn her own daughter out of the house? Juliet begs her mother to find a way even to delay the marriage with Paris. But Lady Capulet just storms out, too. How about the Nurse? Juliet makes a case for not abandoning the hubby: She’s already married, so marrying Paris would be a sin against God, as well as an unthinkable betrayal of Romeo. Maaaaaaybe—but marrying Paris would be a step up on the social ladder. He’s better looking and a much better catch. Also, he’s not a hated enemy, and um, there’s no other option. Unless you count starving on the street which, clearly, the Nurse does not. Juliet cannot believe this is happening. Even the nurse isn’t on her side anymore. Juliet has only one ally left: Friar Laurence. If he can’t help her, suicide might be her only option.
Act 4 scene 1 Paris has stopped by Friar Laurence’s church to make plans for his upcoming marriage to Juliet. The Friar is quietly freaking out, since he’s not a big fan of enabling bigamy. Juliet rushes in to see the friar talking with the last person on earth she wants to see: Paris. “Happily met, my lady and my wife,” Paris says to Juliet as she enters. It’s pretty much downhill from there. Eventually, Paris takes the hint that Juliet needs to make confession to the Friar, and he leaves—but not before giving Juliet an unwanted and uninspiring kiss. Left alone, Juliet … whips out a dagger and tells the Friar she will kill herself if he can’t think of a way for her to avoid marrying Paris. Confronted with his second suicidal teen in under 24 hours, Friar Laurence remains calm. Once again, he has a better plan that doesn’t involve suicide. (Although, if you ask us, it is still seriously flawed.) He tells Juliet his idea. He knows of a weird potion that will make Juliet appear as if she is dead for “two and forty hours.” That’s Shakespeare for 42 hours. Conveniently, the Capulets don’t actually bury their dead in the ground, which otherwise would kind of screw up the plan. Instead, they stick them in a big tomb. If everyone thinks Juliet is dead, the Friar explains, she won’t have to marry Paris. Then he and Romeo can come to the tomb and wait for her to wake up, and then she and Romeo can go to Mantua together. The Friar promises to send a letter to Romeo so he knows what’s going on. Juliet thinks this is a great idea, which we can only understand by assume she’s never seen a tragedy in her life. She takes the potion, thanks the Friar, and heads home.
scene 2 Juliet comes home, all fake-humble and repentant. She apologizes for being a bratty teenager and says she’ll marry Paris. Lord Capulet is overjoyed and decides the marriage will take place the next day, even if he has to stay up all night making preparations.Inital wedding day= thursnew wedding date = wed
scene 3 Juliet convinces the Nurse and Lady Capulet to leave her alone, then takes out the potion the Friar gave her. She worries for a brief moment that it might be real poison, and then freaks herself out by imagining what it’ll be like to awake surrounded by a bunch of dead bodies, including the fresh corpse of her cousin Tybalt. She drinks the potion, making sure to fall on to the bed instead of dropping awkwardly onto the floor.
scene 4 Everyone is bustling around cheerfully trying to get things ready for the wedding that morning. No one has realized yet that the bride has a serious case of cold feet
scene 5 When the Nurse comes to wake Juliet up in the morning, she discovers the girl dead. Oh, bummer. Wonder if they’ll get the photographer’s deposit back? Then the Friar shows up and takes action, telling them to take Juliet to the tomb, stat.
In the streets of Verona another brawl breaks out between the servants of the feuding noble families of Capulet and Montague. Benvolio, a Montague, tries to stop the fighting, but is himself embroiled when the rash Capulet, Tybalt, arrives on the scene. After citizens outraged by the constant violence beat back the warring factions, Prince Escalus, the ruler of Verona, attempts to prevent any further conflicts between the families by decreeing death for any individual who disturbs the peace in the future.Romeo, the son of Montague, runs into his cousin Benvolio, who had earlier seen Romeo moping in a grove of sycamores. After some prodding by Benvolio, Romeo confides that he is in love with Rosaline, a woman who does not return his affections. Benvolio counsels him to forget this woman and find another, more beautiful one, but Romeo remains despondent.Meanwhile, Paris, a kinsman of the Prince, seeks Juliet’s hand in marriage. Her father Capulet, though happy at the match, asks Paris to wait two years, since Juliet is not yet even fourteen. Capulet dispatches a servant with a list of people to invite to a masquerade and feast he traditionally holds. He invites Paris to the feast, hoping that Paris will begin to win Juliet’s heart.Romeo and Benvolio, still discussing Rosaline, encounter the Capulet servant bearing the list of invitations. Benvolio suggests that they attend, since that will allow Romeo to compare his beloved to other beautiful women of Verona. Romeo agrees to go with Benvolio to the feast, but only because Rosaline, whose name he reads on the list, will be there.In Capulet’s household, young Juliet talks with her mother, Lady Capulet, and her nurse about the possibility of marrying Paris. Juliet has not yet considered marriage, but agrees to look at Paris during the feast to see if she thinks she could fall in love with him.The feast begins. A melancholy Romeo follows Benvolio and their witty friend Mercutio to Capulet’s house. Once inside, Romeo sees Juliet from a distance and instantly falls in love with her; he forgets about Rosaline completely. As Romeo watches Juliet, entranced, a young Capulet, Tybalt, recognizes him, and is enraged that a Montague would sneak into a Capulet feast. He prepares to attack, but Capulet holds him back. Soon, Romeo speaks to Juliet, and the two experience a profound attraction. They kiss, not even knowing each other’s names. When he finds out from Juliet’s nurse that she is the daughter of Capulet—his family’s enemy—he becomes distraught. When Juliet learns that the young man she has just kissed is the son of Montague, she grows equally upset.As Mercutio and Benvolio leave the Capulet estate, Romeo leaps over the orchard wall into the garden, unable to leave Juliet behind. From his hiding place, he sees Juliet in a window above the orchard and hears her speak his name. He calls out to her, and they exchange vows of love.Romeo hurries to see his friend and confessor Friar Lawrence, who, though shocked at the sudden turn of Romeo’s heart, agrees to marry the young lovers in secret since he sees in their love the possibility of ending the age-old feud between Capulet and Montague. The following day, Romeo and Juliet meet at Friar Lawrence’s cell and are married. The Nurse, who is privy to the secret, procures a ladder, which Romeo will use to climb into Juliet’s window for their wedding night.The next day, Benvolio and Mercutio encounter Tybalt—Juliet’s cousin—who, still enraged that Romeo attended Capulet’s feast, has challenged Romeo to a duel. Romeo appears. Now Tybalt’s kinsman by marriage, Romeo begs the Capulet to hold off the duel until he understands why Romeo does not want to fight. Disgusted with this plea for peace, Mercutio says that he will fight Tybalt himself. The two begin to duel. Romeo tries to stop them by leaping between the combatants. Tybalt stabs Mercutio under Romeo’s arm, and Mercutio dies. Romeo, in a rage, kills Tybalt. Romeo flees from the scene. Soon after, the Prince declares him forever banished from Verona for his crime. Friar Lawrence arranges for Romeo to spend his wedding night with Juliet before he has to leave for Mantua the following morning.In her room, Juliet awaits the arrival of her new husband. The Nurse enters, and, after some confusion, tells Juliet that Romeo has killed Tybalt. Distraught, Juliet suddenly finds herself married to a man who has killed her kinsman. But she resettles herself, and realizes that her duty belongs with her love: to Romeo.Romeo sneaks into Juliet’s room that night, and at last they consummate their marriage and their love. Morning comes, and the lovers bid farewell, unsure when they will see each other again. Juliet learns that her father, affected by the recent events, now intends for her to marry Paris in just three days. Unsure of how to proceed—unable to reveal to her parents that she is married to Romeo, but unwilling to marry Paris now that she is Romeo’s wife—Juliet asks her nurse for advice. She counsels Juliet to proceed as if Romeo were dead and to marry Paris, who is a better match anyway. Disgusted with the Nurse’s disloyalty, Juliet disregards her advice and hurries to Friar Lawrence. He concocts a plan to reunite Juliet with Romeo in Mantua. The night before her wedding to Paris, Juliet must drink a potion that will make her appear to be dead. After she is laid to rest in the family’s crypt, the Friar and Romeo will secretly retrieve her, and she will be free to live with Romeo, away from their parents’ feuding.Juliet returns home to discover the wedding has been moved ahead one day, and she is to be married tomorrow. That night, Juliet drinks the potion, and the Nurse discovers her, apparently dead, the next morning. The Capulets grieve, and Juliet is entombed according to plan.

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