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Romeo and Juliet Commentary - Act III.

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Act III. Scene I. - Verona. A Public Place.

Mercutio: "a scratch, a scratch; marry, 'tis enough."

Benvolio and Mercutio meet Tybalt. Tybalt attempts to provoke Romeo into fighting. Mercutio fights Tybalt and is slain. Romeo kills Tybalt. Escalus, The Prince of Verona banishes Romeo from Verona. Should he return that hour will be his last.

Benvolio and Mercutio are out in public. Benvolio tells Mercutio that they should retire for the day since it is not safe to be out when the day is hot and a fight is likely to happen should they meet a Capulet. Tybalt arrives (Line 40) and after successfully insulting Mercutio (Lines 48-54), the two men are about to fight. Romeo now arrives (Line 61). Tybalt insults Romeo calling him a villain and hoping to provoke a fight.

Romeo will not fight Tybalt since soon Tybalt will realize they are now relatives. Says Romeo, "Tybalt, the reason that I have to love thee / Doth much excuse the appertaining rage / To such a greeting; villain am I none," (Line 68). Tybalt however demands that Romeo turn and then draw. Romeo will not saying that "thou shalt know the reason of my love:" (you shall soon know the reason of my love), a reference to his marriage to Juliet (Line 75).

Mercutio however draws his sword on Tybalt instead. Tybalt draws his sword, ready to fight. They fight and Mercutio is wounded. When questioned on his wounds, Mercutio bravely and famously dismisses them as "a scratch, a scratch; marry, 'tis [it is] enough" (Line 98). Mercutio now on his final words, describes his wound more deeply (Lines 100-113). Benvolio announces Mercutio's death (Line 122) and Romeo kills Tybalt (Lines 126-140).

A citizen called the First Citizen witnesses this and when the Prince, Capulet, Montague and their wives arrive, Benvolio tries vainly to defend his friend's actions (Lines 148-180). Lady Capulet exclaims that Romeo cannot live for his actions, begging for justice and for Escalus to have Romeo put to death for killing Tybalt (Lines 182-187) but the Prince chooses to spare his life, instead making the decree that Romeo is to be banished. If he is ever again found in Verona, that hour will be his last (Lines 192-202).

Act III. Scene II. - The Same. Capulet's Orchard.

The Nurse: "he's kill'd, he's dead!"

Juliet learns of Romeo killing Tybalt and though her loyalties are torn between Romeo and her family, Juliet mourns for her husband Romeo's banishment.

Juliet in an aside (speech to the audience revealing a character's innermost thoughts) is impatient to once more see her Romeo. The Nurse enters, bringing in Romeo's "chords" (a rope ladder). Throwing them down in a display of anger, we soon learn the Nurse's reason. Exclaiming that "he's kill'd, he's dead!", Juliet fears the worst from the Nurse's words (Line 38).

We soon learn it is not Romeo that the Nurse speaks of but Tybalt (Line 61). The Nurse explains Romeo's role in Tybalt's murder and the Prince's punishment. Juliet now is somewhat conflicted; she loves Romeo, but he has killed a member of her house (Lines 73-128). When the Nurse asks whether Juliet will weep Tybalt's death, she explains that her tears will be spent on Romeo's banishment.

Juliet laments her loss, explaining that her ropes are now "beguil'd," and Juliet now seeks death: "Come, cords; come, nurse; I'll to my wedding bed; / And death, not Romeo, take my maidenhead!" (Line 137).

Fearing for Juliet, the Nurse arranges to find Romeo and bring him to comfort Juliet who she knows to be hiding in Friar Laurence's cell. Juliet tells the Nurse to give him her ring "And bid him [to] come to take his last farewell" with her (Lines 138-141).

Act III. Scene III. - The Same. Friar Laurence's Cell.

Romeo learns of the banishment order, realizing he will not be able to see Juliet again. Friar Laurence suggests that Romeo should go to Juliet's bed chamber to comfort his wife...

The Friar informs an ignorant Romeo of the Prince's decree towards him. Romeo despairs; he will not be able to see Juliet again (Lines 12-14,17-22 and Lines 28-48). Romeo and the Friar hear knocking. Romeo reluctantly hides. It is the Nurse (Line 78). Romeo now asks of his wife (Line 92). We learn from the Nurse that Juliet now "weeps and weeps;" (Line 98).

With Romeo now threatening to draw his sword on himself (Line 106) for murdering Juliet's kinsman (Tybalt), Friar Laurence tells Romeo not to hate himself so completely. The Friar tells Romeo to "Ascend her chamber, hence and comfort her;" (go up to her bedroom and comfort her), but to not stay in the morning for it will not be safe for Romeo (Line 146). The Friar then suggests that Romeo head for Mantua where he will be safe...

Act III. Scene IV. - The Same. A Room in Capulet's house.

Capulet now decides that the quick marriage of Juliet to Paris must now proceed, bidding his wife to make Juliet aware of Paris' love of her. The day of the marriage has been decided by Capulet; it will be Thursday. Paris departs happy in the knowledge that come Thursday, he will be married to the fair Juliet.

Act III. Scene V. - The Same. Juliet's Chamber.

Juliet: "O! think'st thou we shall ever meet again?"

We learn that Romeo has spent the night with his Juliet. Juliet who is now 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...

With Romeo sharing her bed chamber, Juliet at first is reluctant for Romeo to leave, claiming a bird they heard was a "nightingale, and not the lark," which would signal sunrise (Line 2). Romeo is certain the bird was a lark meaning it will soon be day, telling his love to "look, love, what envious streaks / Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east:" (Line 8) adding that "I must be gone and live, or stay and die" (Line 11).

Juliet again tries to convince Romeo it is not daybreak which is when Romeo is to leave for Mantua and Romeo having been with his Juliet, decides that he is happy to now die, saying "Let me be ta'en [taken], let me be put to death;" (Line 17). This does not comfort Juliet and now the Nurse arrives, warning Juliet that her mother will soon join her (Line 39).

Juliet bids Romeo farewell (Lines 40-50) and then asks him "O! think'st thou we shall ever meet again?" (do you think we will ever meet again?), (Line 51).

Juliet's mother now arrives. She asks if Juliet is still weeping her cousin's death (Line 70). Juliet in an aside (a speech revealing her innermost thoughts), declares her love for the "villain, Romeo" (Line 82-84).

Lady Capulet now tells Juliet to stop crying, for she has good news; soon Juliet will marry Paris (Lines 108-116). She also toys with the idea of avenging Tybalt by poisoning Romeo in Mantua. Juliet tells her mother that she will not marry Paris.

Lady Capulet tells Juliet to tell Capulet (her father) this news herself (Line 125). Capulet enters and Juliet explains her refusal to marry. Capulet will not be contradicted, explaining that he will drag Juliet to the altar if necessary (Line 156).

Juliet begs her father to allow her not to marry (Line 160). The Nurse defends Juliet (Lines 170-174). Capulet again declares his authority on the marriage issue, threatening to throw her out onto the streets and to disown her should she disobey and then leaves (Lines 177-198). Juliet explains that should her mother not delay the wedding by months or even weeks, then she will find another dead body like Tybalt's (Juliet will kill herself), (Line 203).

The Nurse now advises Juliet to marry the Young Paris since Romeo cannot stay by her (Lines 214-226). Juliet ends the scene stating that if all else fails she knows the remedy to her woes; she will commit suicide.

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