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.

It is early Tuesday morning and Romeo and Juliet awake from their night together. Juliet tells Romeo that it is not time for him to leave yet, but he insists that he must go. His maturity rapidly fades and he tells Juliet that he would rather stay with her. She takes on the mature role and tells him that he must leave. The Nurse enters and tells Juliet that her mother is on her way to her chambers. Romeo and Juliet share a final kiss before he escapes through her window. As he leaves, she has a vision of him lying in a tomb.

Lady Capulet enters the room and thinks that Juliet’s distress is over Tybalt’s death. She tries to console her by saying that they will send somebody to avenge Tybalt’s death by killing Romeo. Lady Capulet then switches to the ‘happy’ news of her visit and informs Juliet that she will marry Paris on Thursday. To her mother’s astonishment, Juliet adamantly refuses to have anything to do with that plan. Lord Capulet enters the room and learns of his daughter’s refusal. He threatens her and tells her that she will marry Paris, whether she likes it or not. He storms out of the room.

Juliet tries to plea with her mother, but Lady Capulet will not listen. Juliet turns to the Nurse and begs for her help. The Nurse tells Juliet that Romeo is banished and Paris is a fine young man. She recommends that Juliet go to confession and move on with her life. Juliet realizes that the Nurse is no longer on her side and she agrees to go to confession. Once the Nurse leaves, Juliet reveals that she is going to ask Friar Lawrence for his advice. If he cannot help her, she will resort to suicide.

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