Romeo and Juliet Study Guide

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

In Romeo and Juliet, one of Shakespeare's tragic plays, Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet fall in love, despite the fact that their families are bitter enemies. Undeterred by this obstacle, the two begin a passionate romance that is interrupted by their feuding relatives. The lovers' final attempt to be together results in the death of them both, leaving their families, and the reader, to contemplate the power of love and question the meaning of violence.

Friar Lawrence is introduced into the play while he tends to his garden. He explains that some plants and flowers have medicinal qualities while others can lead to horrible things. He turns this into a metaphor for the actions of people by stating that a similar battle of good and evil rages within the hearts of men. Friar Lawrence is interrupted when Romeo enters the scene. At first, Friar Lawrence thinks that Romeo spent his night sinning with Rosaline. Romeo informs him that he has“forgot that name and that name’s woe.” Friar Lawrence is happy to hear this until Romeo informs him that he spent the night with his enemy. He tells Friar Lawrence that he is in love with Juliet, and Friar Lawrence is astonished. He justifies Romeo’s change of heart by saying that young menlove with their eyes, not with their hearts. Romeo convinces him that his love is true, and that he and Juliet wish to be married immediately. Though reluctant at first, Friar Lawrence gives his consent in hope that this marriage will end the rivalry between Montague and Capulet. Before Romeo leaves, Friar Lawrence advises him to slow down because “they stumble that run fast.”

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