Romeo and Juliet Summary provides a quick review
of the play's plot including every important action
in the play. Romeo and Juliet Summary is divided by
the five acts of the play and makes an ideal introduction
before reading the original text.
Arguably Shakespeare's most famous play begins with
a Prologue which establishes that this play will be
a tragedy and that the children of two feuding families,
Romeo of the Montague family and Juliet of the Capulet
family, will both love and die in the course of this
Sampson and Gregory, servants to the Capulets and Abraham
and Balthasar, servants to the Montague family start
a street fight, which is joined by Benvolio (Montague)
and Tybalt (Capulet). Escalus, the Prince of Verona
who angrily learns of this fight, declares a death penalty
for further feuding between the two families. Romeo
we learn is lovesick; Rosaline, the object of his affections
will not requite (return) his love. His friend Benvolio
tells Romeo to look at other girls...
Meanwhile Capulet is keen for Paris to marry his daughter
Juliet and plans a party to be held later that night.
Romeo and friends decide to turn up uninvited, Romeo
hoping to see Rosaline, whom he still pines for...
Lady Capulet discusses the idea of marriage to Paris
with Juliet. Juliet keeps her options open. The Nurse
wishes Juliet every possible happiness...
Meanwhile Mercutio attempts to cheer a lovesick Romeo
up, telling him to be rough with love if need be.
At the Capulet's party, Romeo who is disguised by a
masque (mask), falls in love with Juliet on sight. Capulet
stops Tybalt from attacking Romeo at his party, telling
him there will be other opportunities. Both Romeo and
Juliet learn that they are each enemies of the other's
family... A Prologue sung by a choir dramatizes the
conflict both Romeo and Juliet feel between their love
for one another and their loyalty to their respective
Ignoring the danger, Romeo scales the Capulet's
wall to be near Juliet, the woman he cannot forget...
Unnoticed in Juliet's orchard, Romeo learns of
Juliet's love for him. After declaring their feelings
for each other, the two decide to marry. Juliet will
send Romeo a messenger in the morning to make plans
for their wedding...
The very next day, we meet Romeo's friend, Friar
Laurence. He wonders how Romeo can forget Rosaline so
quickly but agrees to marry the two since he hopes this
marriage it will end the long running Montague / Capulet
Romeo catches up with his friends Mercutio and Benvolio.
Juliet's messenger, the Nurse, arrives and the
wedding is set for later that day. The Nurse brings
Romeo "cords" or ropes which will allow Romeo
to climb into Juliet's bedchamber as her husband
later that night... Act II ends with Romeo and Juliet's
Benvolio and Mercutio (both Montagues) meet Tybalt
(Capulet). Tybalt attempts to provoke Romeo into fighting.
Mercutio fights Tybalt and is killed. Romeo then kills
Tybalt. Escalus, the Prince of Verona banishes Romeo
from Verona threatening death should he ever return.
Juliet learns of Romeo killing Tybalt and despite being
torn between her loyalty for her family and Romeo, mourns
her husband Romeo's banishment.
Romeo learns of the banishment order, realizing he
will not be able to see Juliet again. Friar Laurence
suggests Romeo go to Juliet's bed chamber to comfort
his wife... Capulet, who does not know of Romeo and
Juliet's marriage, decides that the marriage of Juliet
to Paris must now proceed, bidding his wife to make
Juliet aware of Paris' love for her. The day of
the marriage has been decided; it will be Thursday.
We learn that Romeo has spent the night with his Juliet.
Juliet who is now already secretly married to Romeo,
learns that she is to marry Paris. She tries to fight
her father's wishes, failing to dissuade him. Juliet
decides to commit suicide if all else fails...
Paris reveals that the wedding will occur on Thursday.
Juliet is cold to Paris. Friar Laurence tells Juliet
to take a potion simulating death, allowing Romeo to
take her away, unopposed to Mantua since everyone will
think she is dead at the Capulet's ancient vault or
Capulet makes plans for Juliet's wedding. Juliet, who
has decided to drink Friar Laurence's potion, no longer
opposes the wedding, delighting Capulet.
Hearing this good news, Capulet, who is keen to have
Juliet marry Paris decides to move the wedding forward.
It will now be on Wednesday morning, not Thursday as
Juliet succeeds in sleeping alone which allows her
to take the potion in privacy. Juliet worries about
the Friar's intentions before the potion takes
effect and she falls asleep...
Lady Capulet and the Nurse are busy making preparations
for the wedding. It is 3 o'clock in the morning and
now Capulet hearing music announcing Paris' arrival,
tells the Nurse to wake Juliet. The Capulet's learn
that their daughter Juliet is dead. The wedding preparations
are changed to those of a funeral.
In Mantua, Romeo learns of Juliet's death, deciding
to risk his own life by returning to Verona at once
to see Juliet one last time. Romeo also buys some poison
from a local Apothecary.
Friar John explains to Friar Laurence that his letter
informing Romeo that Juliet is not dead, did not reach
Romeo. Friar Laurence tries again to inform Romeo of
his plan and heads off to the Capulet burial chamber
where Juliet will soon awaken.
Paris mourns his bride that never was. Romeo arrives,
opening Juliet's coffin to look at his love one
last time. Paris fights Romeo whom he believes is desecrating
Juliet's grave. Paris dies, Romeo placing him beside
Juliet. Romeo takes his poison, kisses Juliet and dies.
Friar Laurence arrives too late. Juliet, now awakens,
asking for her Romeo. Friar Laurence leaves, leaving
Juliet alone. Juliet kisses Romeo and stabs herself,
dying. The Prince, Capulets, and Montagues arrive, Balthasar
and Friar Laurence explaining all. Escalus scolds the
two families who finally end their feud. The play ends
with the Prince summarizing this tragic love story.