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Romeo and Juliet - Act I

Page history last edited by Ayşegül Yeşilbursa 15 years, 6 months ago

 ACT I - Synopsis




Two households, both alike in dignity,

In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,

From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,

Where civil blood makes civil hends unclean.

From forth the fatal loins of these two foes

A pair of star- cross'd lovers take their life;

Whole misadventured piteous overthrows

Do with their death bury their parents' strife

The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,

the continuance of their parents' rage,

Which, but their children's end, nought could remove,

Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage;

The which if you with patient ears attend,

What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.




   This opening speech by the Chorus serves as an introduction to Romeo and Juliet. We are provided with information about where the play takes place, and given some background information about its principal characters.

   The obvious function of prologue as introduction to the Verona of Romeo and Juliet can obsecure its deeper, more important function.





     SCENE i



      Sampson and Gregory, two servants of the house of the Capulet, strolls through the streets of Verona. With bawdy banter, Sampson went his hatred of the house of Montague.The two exchange punning remarks about physically conquering Montague men and sexually conquering Montague women. Gregory sees two Montague servatnts approaching, and discusses with Sampson the best way to provoke them into a fight without breaking the law. Sampson bites his thumb at the Montagues- a highly insulting gesture. A verbal confrontation quickly escalates into a fight. Bonvolio, a knsman to Montague, enters and draws his sward in an attempt to stop the confrontation. Tybalt, a kinsman to Capulet, sees Bonvolio's drawn sword and drawns his own. Benvolio explains that he is traying to keep the peace, but Tybalt professes a hatred for peace a strong as his hatred for Montagues, and attacks. The brawl spreads. A group of citizens attempts to restore the peace by beating down the combatants. Montague and Capulet enter, and only their wives prevent their attacking one another. Prince Escalus arrives and commands the fighting stop on penalty of torture. The Capulets and Montagues throw down their weapons. The prince declares the violence between the two families has gone on for too long, and proclaims a death sentence upon anyone who disturbs the civil peace again. He says that he will speak to Capulet and Montague more directly on this matter;Capulet exists with him, the brawlers disperse, and Benvolio is left alone with his uncle and aunt, Montague and Lady Montague.

     Benvolio descibes the Montague how the brawl started.Lady Montague asks whether Benvolio has seen her son, Romeo.Benvolio replies that he earlier saw Romeo pacing throw the grove sycamores outside the city; since Romeo seemed troubled, Benvolio did not speak to him.Concerned about their son, Montagues tell Benvolio that Roemo seems melancholy, walking alone among the sycamores. They add that they have tried to discovers what troubles him, but have had no succes. Benvolio sees Romeo approaching, and promises to find out his cousin's melancholy.

     Benvolio approaches his cousin. With a touch of sadness, Romeo tells Benvolio that he is in love with Rosaline but she does not return his feelings and has in fact sworn to live a life of chastity. Benvolio counsels Romeo to forget her by gazing on other beauties, but Roemo contends that the woman he loves is the most beautiful of all. Romeo departs, assuring Benvolio that he can not teach him to forget his love. Benvolio resolves to do just that.    




Paris, a relative of the prince, asks Capulet for his daughter Juliet's hand in marriage. Capulet is initially reluctant to give his consent because Juliet is so young. Finally, however, he agrees to the match if Paris can gain Juliet's consent.Capulet invites Paris to a feast to be held that night. Capulet sends off the guest list with a servant, who is, unfortunately, illiterate and cannot read the names. He meets Romeo and Benvolio whom he asks for help. The guest list includes Rosaline, the object of Romeo's affections, so Romeo resolves to go to the feast despite the danger involved. Benvolio hopes that Romeo will see another lady there to help him forget about Rosaline. Romeo again denies that this could happen.

Lady Capulet questions Juliet regarding her feelings about marriage and then informs Juliet of Paris' proposal. When her mother mentions that Paris will attend the feast that evening, Juliet reacts with dutiful reserve, whereas her nurse, recalling incidents from Juliet's childhood, volunteers a bawdier response.


Romeo, Benvolio, Mercutio, and others from the Montague household make their way to the Capulet feast. With their masks concealing their identity, they resolve to stay for just one dance. 

Because Romeo continues to be lovesick for Rosaline, Mercutio teases him for being such a stereotypical hopeless lover. Mercutio then delivers his highly imaginative Queen Mab speech in which he describes how the fairy delivers dreams to humans as they sleep.

scene 5

 Romeo and his fellow attendees arrive at the Capulet feast. The guests are greeted by Capulet, who reminisces with his cousin about how long it has been since they both took part in a masque. Romeo sees Juliet and falls in love with her instantly. Tybalt recognizes Romeo's voice and sends for his rapier to kill him. A violent outburst is prevented as Capulet insists on Tybalt's obedience, reminding him of Romeo's good character and the need to keep the peace.


Romeo and Juliet continue their exchanges and they kiss, but are interrupted by the Nurse, who sends Juliet to find her mother. In her absence, Romeo asks the Nurse who Juliet is and on discovering that she is a Capulet, realizes the grave consequences of their love. The feast draws to a close and Romeo leaves with Benvolio and the others. Juliet then discovers from the Nurse that Romeo is a Montague.





Important quotations and their explanations

Scene iv concludes with Romeo's sense of foreboding at the forthcoming evening:


"For my mind misgives

Some consequence, yet hanging in the stars,

Shall bitterly begin his fearful date
















Comments (3)

Anonymous said

at 3:28 pm on Dec 26, 2008

When Romeo saw Juliet,he fell in love with Juliet instantly.I wonder how Romeo is such a boy that falls in love instanstly forgetting Rosaline.I think Romeo is a inconsistent boy,but Juliet is a girl that is reasonable.

Anonymous said

at 11:31 pm on Jan 2, 2009

everybody says that, but this is love ,you can't understand it's logic or seek reason for that.

Anonymous said

at 1:03 am on Jan 13, 2009

I realized that I had no idea about Romeo's ex-platonic love.I expected that Romeo and Juliet was really a love story,but after I learned that romeo was a person who fall in love very quickly I became to be irritated by the name of Romeo:)

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