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Romeo and Juliet

An interesting guide to a brilliant play. By Bruce Derby, Mazenod College.
by

Bruce Derby

on 14 April 2010

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Transcript of Romeo and Juliet

Romeo + Juliet Plot Symbols & Motifs Themes Act I Act II Act III Act V Act IV Scene 3 Capulet Citizens of
Verona Montague Juliet Tybalt Capulet Prince Escalus Mercutio Romeo Benvolio In hindsight, he could have made all the difference.
Romeo's good friend has a hidden dark side. While Benvolio tries to behave above reproach, he is so ready for action that he keeps getting into trouble.
Case in point, early on, he jumps in to stop a brawl... but it is Benviolio's exposed weapon that antagonizes Tybalt into getting involved.
When Romeo battles Tybalt, Benvolio is in a position to intervene, but he chooses not to. Romeo kills Tybalt and is exiled from Verona Beach.
Mercutio makes fun of Benvolio for getting into quarrels:
"Thou? -- why thou wilt quarrel with a man that hath a hair more or a hair less in his beard than thou hast.... Thy head is as full of quarrels as an egg is full of meat, and yet thy head hath been beaten as addle as an egg for quarreling. Thou hast quarrel'd with a man for coughing in the street, because he hath waken'd thy dog that hath lain asleep in the sun."
So guess who the ultimate survivor is? Benvolio. Future town father. Last Veronese left standing. Montague So rich and yet so helpless.
OK, we know he has rages, but he's been a really good father to Romeo for the most part. Unfortunately, he has no parental control as his teenage boy wrestles with his raging hormones.
Of course, we feel sorry for him at the end because he didn't get a chance to do much for his son. Romeo ends up dead anyway. The news of that takes out his old lady so, despite his wealth and power, Montague is left with nothing. The Friar The Friar is trusted by all. Together with Juliet, they conceive the plan for her and Romeo to be together. With Romeo, the friar is a constant source of advice and save haven. For both, the friar is the man who marries them in secret. He upsets Juliet with his banishment of Romeo for killing Tybalt. But banishment to another city is much better than having Romeo killed as well. For Romeo, he spared his life with Exile, although exile from Juliet may have meant death. Romeo's loyal friend and a kinsman of the Prince. Mercutio is fiery, quick witted and skilled with a sword. While not as central to the action as Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio's character sends the play from comedy into tragedy. His curse ("A plague on both your houses") in Act III sets in motion the events that will lead to the protagonists' deaths.
His "Queen Mab" speech is one of the most memorable of the play, revealing the darkness that lurks beneath the comical exterior. Paris No, not the Hilton sister. Paris is another of the Prince's kinsmen and is betrothed to Juliet. Both the Capulets and the Montagues seem to be trying to win the Prince's favour by allying themselves with his family - Montagues with Mercutio and Capulets with Paris. Does the Prince lose the most in Verona's war? Tybalt - ready to live, kill or die for Honour.
Mercutio flames Juliet's cousin Tybalt -
Mercutio: "More than Prince of Cats. Oh he's the courageous Captain of Compliments. He fights as you sing prick-song -- keeps time, distance and proportion. He rests his minim rests -- one, two and the third in your bosom. The very butcher of a silk button, a duelist, a duelist a gentleman of the very first house, of the first and second cause.... The pox of such antic, lisping, affecting fantasticoes."
Tybalt's personal side is nice enough for Juliet to genuinely mourn his loss as a friend.
For his concern with matters of honor, Tybalt can be dishonorable. And never more so than when he kills Mercutio with an underhanded blow. His need for control destroyed his life.
Capulet has so much money, he spends freely on hospitality. His daughter gets everything she wants. Well, almost everything.
He was fair and open-minded enough to let Romeo attend his party. But out of concern for Juliet, he inadvertently commits a big mistake and forces Juliet into a marriage with Paris.
It was a father's vain thought to think he could control Juliet with threats and physical abuse, without really listening to her. His failure was a parent's worst nightmare - his anger and inflexibility condemned his beloved daughter to death. The beautiful daughter of Capulet. Betrothed to Paris but in love with one of her family's sworn enemies.
"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" but this girl is trouble. The balcony scene sees her as more mature than Romeo and it is at her bidding that Romeo goes to the Friar to prepare for their marriage.
Her plot with the Friar is ingenious and, except for a missing letter, might have worked perfectly. "O happy dagger" What to make of Romeo? Is he the classic romantic hero, or is he a pathetically spoiled little rich kid who will destroy his family to get what he wants?
Romeo begins the play pining after Rosaline, the girl who dumped him, but no sooner than he gate-crashes the Capulet party does he fall head over heels for Juliet. It's not surprising; he is, after all, only 14. Paris asks Capulet for Juliet's hand in marriage. Capulet thinks she's too young, but tells Paris to woo her, and invites him to a feast that night. Capulet sends the servant out to invite other guests to the feast. . . . Benvolio is still trying to talk Romeo into considering other ladies when they are interrupted by the Capulet servant, who asks Romeo to read something for him. It is a list of guests at Capulet's feast that night. Thus Romeo discovers that Rosaline, his beloved, will be at the feast. Benvolio challenges Romeo to go to the feast and compare Rosaline with other beauties. Romeo says he will go, but only to rejoice that Rosaline is most beautiful of all. Scene 3 Scene 1 Scene 2 Scene 4 Scene 5 Sampson and Gregory, servants of the house of Capulet, go out looking for trouble. . . . Sampson and Gregory almost pick a fight with Abraham and Balthasar, servants of the house of Montague. . . . Seeing a Capulet kinsman, Sampson and Gregory start to fight with Abraham and Balthasar. Benvolio tries to stop the fight, but Tybalt enters and attacks Benvolio. The citizens of Verona attack both the Capulets and Montagues. Capulet and Montague try to join the fight, but are restrained by their wives. . . . Prince Escalus stops the riot, threatens everyone with death, and takes Capulet with him, leaving Benvolio alone with Montague and Lady Montague. Lady Montague asks where Romeo is, and Benvolio answers that he was up before dawn, wandering in the woods. The Montagues say that Romeo is afflicted with strange sorrows, and Benvolio offers to find out what's wrong with him. . . . Seeing Romeo coming, Montague and Lady Montague leave Benvolio alone to speak with their son. Benvolio soon discovers that Romeo's problem is that he loves a woman who doesn't return his love. Benvolio tries to get Romeo to say who it is he loves, but Romeo won't. Benvolio also tries to get Romeo to solve his problem by looking for another woman, but Romeo seems determined to love and suffer. Lady Capulet wants to have a serious conversation with Juliet, but the Nurse interrupts with a long reminiscence about Juliet's weaning and what Juliet said about falling on her back. Lady Capulet tells Juliet that Paris wants to marry her, and urges her to look him over and see that he is the husband for her. Servants come to call everyone to the feast. Mercutio tries to persuade Romeo to dance at Capulet's feast, but Romeo insists that he is too sadly love-lorn to do anything but hold a torch. Then Romeo says that it's not wise to go to the feast at all, because of a dream he had. . . . Mercutio mocks Romeo's belief in his dream by going on and on about "Queen Mab," but Romeo is sure that some terrible fate awaits him. Nevertheless, he goes into the feast with his friends. At Capulet's house, Romeo and his friends enter as preparations are being made for the dancing. The musicians are tuning up, and the servants are hurrying to clear away the remains of the feast. . . . Capulet enters, greets the masked strangers, and invites them to dance. Romeo sees Juliet and says to himself that this is the first time he's seen true beauty. Tybalt recognizes Romeo and sends for his sword, but Capulet orders Tybalt to do nothing. Saying that he'll make Romeo pay, Tybalt leaves. . . . Romeo holds Juliet's hand, and begs a kiss, which she gives him. They kiss again, and then both are called away. As everyone is leaving, they each learn the name of the other, and they each exclaim upon the fate that has made each fall in love with his/her enemy. Prologue The Chorus tells us the plot of the play, and what kind of play it is. Prologue Scene 1 Scene 2 Scene 3 Scene 4 Scene 5 The Chorus tells us that Romeo and Juliet are suffering because they can't meet, but that passion gives them power to find a way to see each other On his way home from Capulet's feast, Romeo turns back and jumps the wall of Capulet's garden. Benvolio calls for Romeo and Mercutio bawdily conjures Romeo, but he will not appear, and his friends depart. In Capulet's garden Romeo sees Juliet come to her window. He is entranced by her beauty and listens as she tells the night that she loves Romeo and wishes that he had another name. Romeo surprises her by offering to take another name for her love. At first, Juliet worries for Romeo's safety and then she worries that he may be a deceiver, but he wins her over with passionate vows of love. They pledge their love to one another and then Juliet is called away by the Nurse. . . . Answering the call of the Nurse, Juliet goes into the house, then comes right back out and tells Romeo that the next day she will send a messenger to find out when and where she is to meet and marry him. Juliet is again called back into the house, and Romeo starts to leave, but Juliet again comes back out, to set a time that her messenger should go to Romeo. Romeo tells her that the messenger should come at nine in the morning. They say a long goodbye, and after Juliet is gone, Romeo says that he will go to the cell of Friar Laurence to get his help. At dawn Friar Laurence gathers herbs and comments on how -- in both plants and people -- everything has some good, and every good can be abused and turned to evil. . . . Romeo appears and tells Friar Laurence that he has fallen in love with Juliet and wants him to marry them. The Friar criticizes Romeo for jumping so quickly from love of Rosaline to love of Juliet, but agrees to perform the ceremony because he thinks that the marriage may end the hatred between the Capulets and Montagues. Mercutio wonders where Romeo is. Benvolio says that Tybalt has sent a challenge to Romeo, and Mercutio scornfully describes Tybalt as an conceited killer. . . . Mercutio kids Romeo about love, and Romeo joins in the bawdy repartee. . . . Mercutio bawdily mocks the Nurse, who tells Romeo that she wants a word in private with him. . . . The Nurse complains about Mercutio, receives from Romeo the information about time and place of the wedding, then chatters on about how sweet Juliet is. Scene 6 Juliet impatiently awaits the return of the Nurse with news from Romeo. . . The Nurse teases Juliet by finding all kinds of ways to not deliver the joyful news, but finally tells her that she is to go Friar Laurence's cell to be married to Romeo. Just before the wedding, Friar Laurence advises Romeo to love moderately. . . . Romeo and Juliet tell each other how much they love one another, and Friar Laurence leads them off to be married. Scene 1 Scene 2 Scene 3 Scene 4 Scene 5 On the streets of Verona Benvolio tries to persuade Mercutio that it's best to stay out of the way of the Capulets and a quarrel, but Mercutio jokingly claims that Benvolio is as much of a quarreler as anyone. . . . Tybalt, looking for Romeo, is challenged to a fight by Mercutio, but then Romeo appears. . . . Tybalt challenges Romeo to fight. Romeo refuses, but Mercutio steps forward and fights Tybalt. As Romeo is trying to stop the fight, Tybalt gives Mercutio a wound, then runs away. Mercutio dies. Romeo is ashamed of himself for letting Mercutio do the fighting, and when Tybalt returns, Romeo kills him. Benvolio has a hard time getting the dazed Romeo to leave the scene. . . . Benvolio tells the Prince what happened. Lady Capulet wants Romeo's life, but the Prince levies fines and exiles Romeo. Juliet longs for the coming of night and Romeo. . . . The Nurse appears; she has seen Tybalt's corpse and heard that Romeo has been banished. The Nurse is so overwrought that her words first make Juliet think that Romeo is dead. When the Nurse finally makes it clear that Tybalt is dead and Romeo is banished, Juliet first turns against Romeo for killing her cousin, then defends him for killing the man who would have killed him. Then Juliet remembers that the Nurse said Romeo has been "banished," which drives her to despair. The Nurse promises Juliet that she'll make arrangements for Romeo to come that night for a farewell visit. Learning from the Friar that he is to be banished, Romeo declares that the Friar is torturing him to death, then throws himself on the floor, moaning and weeping. . . . The Nurse brings news that Juliet is in just as bad shape as Romeo. Romeo, wild with guilt at the pain he has caused Juliet, tries to stab himself. Friar Laurence lectures Romeo and tells him what to do -- go to Juliet, then to Mantua until the Prince can be persuaded to pardon him. The Nurse gives Romeo the ring that Juliet asked her to take to him. These things put Romeo into a better frame of mind and he leaves Friar Laurence's cell to go to Juliet. On a sudden impulse, Capulet promises Paris that Juliet will marry him the day after tomorrow. Just before dawn Romeo is preparing to leave, but Juliet declares that it's still night, so he can stay. Romeo offers to stay and die, but Juliet urges him to leave. . . . The Nurse hurries in with the news that Juliet's mother is coming. Romeo kisses Juliet and leaps out the window. Juliet asks if they will ever see each other again; Romeo is sure they will, but Juliet is full of foreboding. . . . Lady Capulet, assuming that Juliet is weeping for Tybalt, tells her that she's grieving too much, then decides that Juliet must be weeping because revenge has not been taken upon Romeo. Lady Capulet expresses her hatred of Romeo and Juliet appears to agree with her, though what she really means is that she loves Romeo. Lady Capulet then delivers news which she thinks ought to cheer up Juliet -- she is to be married to Paris. Juliet declares that she will not. Lady Capulet replies that Juliet's father is coming, so Juliet ought to tell him that she won't marry Paris, if she dares. . . . Lady Capulet tells Capulet that Juliet has refused to marry Paris. Enraged, Capulet threatens to throw her out of the house if she doesn't change her mind. Juliet pleads with her mother to intervene, but Lady Capulet refuses. . . . Juliet asks the Nurse for advice, and she tells Juliet that she ought to marry Paris because Romeo can never come back and Paris is better looking, anyway. Juliet pretends to accept the Nurse's advice but decides that she will go to Friar Laurence for his advice. If he can't help her, she will kill herself. Scene 1 Scene 2 Scene 3 Scene 4 As Paris is making arrangements with Friar Laurence to perform the wedding ceremony between himself and Juliet, she appears. Paris tries to tease some sign of affection out of Juliet and reminds her that they are to be married on Thursday. . . . Juliet says that she will kill herself rather than marry Paris, and the Friar comes up with the plan for her to take the drug which will make her appear dead for 42 hours, so that the wedding will be called off and Romeo can come and take her to Mantua. Capulet is making arrangements for the wedding feast when Juliet appears, begs her father's pardon, and tells him that she will marry Paris. This makes Capulet so happy that he moves the wedding up to the very next day, Wednesday. Scene 5 Juliet persuades her mother and the Nurse to leave her alone. She agonizes over everything that could go wrong, is terrified by visions of the grave, and drinks to Romeo. The Capulets and their servants are busily preparing for the wedding. Paris' musicians are heard, and Capulet sends the Nurse to awaken Juliet. The Nurse tries to awaken Juliet, but finds that she is (apparently) dead. Lady Capulet and Capulet come running, then lament their daughter's death. . . . The rest of the wedding party arrives, only to find that Juliet is dead and hear the clamor of lamentation. Capulet, Lady Capulet, Paris, and the Nurse go nearly wild with grief, but Friar Laurence takes command of the situation by reminding everyone that Juliet is now in a better place, and telling them proceed with her funeral. . . . As the musicians are starting to leave, Peter rushes in and demands that they play a sad song to cheer him up. They refuse, Peter insults them with a riddle, and they all leave to wait for lunch. Scene 1 Scene 2 Scene 3 Romeo expects good news from Verona, but receives the news that Juliet is dead. He buys poison of an apothocary and says that he intends to return to Verona and join Juliet in death. Friar John explains to Friar Laurence why he was unable to deliver Friar Laurence's letter to Romeo. Friar Laurence sends Friar John to get a crowbar and makes plans to be there when Juliet awakes, write again to Romeo in Mantua, and hide Juliet in his cell until Romeo arrives. Paris comes to Juliet's grave to strew flowers and weep. He sends his Page a ways off, to act as a look-out. Paris promises to visit Juliet's grave every night, then the Page whistles to warn him that someone is coming. Paris sees a torch and withdraws into the darkness to see who else has come to Juliet's grave. . . . Romeo sends Balthasar away with a letter for Romeo's father, and starts to open the tomb. Paris comes forward and tries to arrest Romeo. They fight, and Romeo kills Paris. As he is dying, Paris asks to be laid next to Juliet. Romeo does this, pledges his love to Juliet, takes the poison, and dies. . . . Friar Laurence comes and finds Romeo and Paris dead. Juliet awakes and Friar Laurence tries to persuade her to come out of the grave, but being afraid of being found there by the watchmen, he runs away. Juliet kills herself with Romeo's dagger. . . . Paris' Page brings the watchmen to the monument of the Capulets. Watchmen find Balthasar and Friar Laurence. Prince Escalus arrives, then Capulet, Lady Capulet, and Montague. Friar Laurence tells his story, which is confirmed by Balthasar, Paris' Page, and the letter from Romeo to his father. Montague promises to build a golden statue of Juliet, and Capulet promises to build one of Romeo. Source: http://www.clicknotes.com/romeo/Sceneidx.html "A plague on both your houses" "Star-cross'd lovers" "Two households both alike in dignity" "My only love sprung from my only hate" "From ancient grudge break to new mutiny" "civil blood makes civil hands unclean" Fate Tragedies are plays where noble people have a downfall. Often in these plays, their downfall is inevitable; it is "fate" that leads them to their end. In "Romeo and Juliet", the two lovers are fated to be together ("star-cross'd lovers"). When Romeo kills Tybalt, he cries out: "I am Fortune's Fool". This means that he is not in control of his - Fates keeps intervening. Love Romantic Love Fraternal Love The Healing Power of Love Familial Love Love of material Possessions The Friar's dismissal of Romeo's love for Juliet turns to eagerness when he realises that the love between Romeo and Juliet might end the conflict between the Capulets and the Montagues. Despite their deaths, their love did, in fact, end the conflict. The Montagues and the Capulets have paid the ultimate price, but it was Romeo and Juliet that brought the peace. Family loyalties pervade the whole play - the central conflict is, after all, a conflict between warring families. Tybalt exemplifies this idea of familial love: throughout the play we are positioned to see him as the antagonist, but Juliet's affection for him and sorrow when he dies suggests a softer side that we never see.
The play doesn't suggest, however, that people should blindly follow their family. When Juliet falls in love with Romeo, her obedience to her parents begins to weaken. "death-mark'd love" Love is not simply about romance in this play. Both the Montagues and the Capulets are wealthy, and both are vying for power in Verona. Juliet's betrothal to Paris reveals the way the wealthy view marriage - as an economic bargain. When Juliet refuses to marry Paris, her father becomes enraged not because his daughter is losing a chance at marriage but because it gets in the way of his social ladder climbing in the world of Verona. The Montagues are probably no different, but we aren't given as clear an insight into their values. Fraternal means brotherly. This type of love is what makes this play as much about gang violence as it is about romantic love. The Baz Lurhmann makes use of this dimension to represent the differences between the Montagues and Capulets - the Montagues are more of an Irish gang while the Capulets are represented as Hispanic. Interestingly, Lurhmann makes use of rich Catholic imagery to represent a central commonality between the two families.
Mercutio and Benvolio are devoted to Romeo, and it is Mercutio's death that sends Romeo on a violent rampage, revealing a capacity for violence not hinted at earlier in the play. In fact, Romeo had seemed to that point averse to violence. Romantic love is the notion of being in love with the idea of love. When we first meet Romeo, he is pining after Rosaline. For Romeo, love is everything, which makes him the object of scorn to both Mercutio and the Friar. The balcony scene has come to symbolise the notion of Romantic Love for the past four centuries.
Paris also embodies this notion of Romantic Love as being something of a ritual. "My only love sprung from my only hate" "Parting is such sweet sorrow" "What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet" "Is love a tender thing? It is too rough,
Too rude, too boisterous; and it pricks like thorn." If love be rough with you, be rough with love;
Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down." "True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain,
Begot of nothing but vain fantasy." Light and Dark Light and dark do not take on particular metaphorical meanings; rather, they serve as a motif. A motif is something that re-occurs throughout a play. In "Romeo and Juliet", light and dark are often referred to. An example of this is in the balcony scene when Romeo compares Juliet to the Sun and says, "arise fair sun and banish the envious moon". Light and dark create contrasts but not in the usual sense of good and evil. While Romeo compared Juliet to the Sun, on the morning after their marriage, the two want a return to the dark of night.
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