Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare, summary, quotes, song, soundtrack, film

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Romeo and Juliet: painting, film, di caprio, movie, song
Romeo and Juliet, film, play, di caprio, movie, song

Romeo and Juliet, film, play, di caprio, movie, song


The Story of Romeo and Juliet


A street fight breaks out in the Italian city of Verona between the members and servants of two noble families which have long been enemies, the Capulets and the Montagues. Lord and Lady Montague, worried by the strange behaviour of their son, Romeo, ask his cousin Benvolio to discover the reason for it. Romeo tells Benvolio that he is in despair because his love for Rosaline is not returned. When they discover that Rosaline will be at the Capulets‘ feast that evening, Romeo and Benvolio go along in disguise. Romeo, forgetting his love for Rosaline, is captivated by Juliet‘s beauty and confesses his love to her. He is later shocked to learn that she is a Capulet. Juliet, in her turn, has fallen in love with Romeo, and is similarly upset to discover that he is a Montague. Later that night Romeo climbs the wall of Juliet‘s garden and hears her talking to herself and revealing her love for him. He promises to prove his love by marrying her, and at day-break visits Friar Lawrence, who is persuaded to agree to marry them that afternoon, in the hope that this link between the two families will end their quarrel.

Lord Capulet tries to force Juliet to marry Count Paris. She refuses and seeks advice from Friar Lawrence, who gives her a drug which will make her unconscious for forty-two hours. On the morning fixed for the marriage she is found apparently dead, and her body is laid in the family tomb. Friar Lawrence sends a message to summon Romeo secretly to Verona to assist Juliet‘s escape, but because of a plague in Verona the message never reaches him.

Meanwhile, Romeo‘s servant Balthasar, believing Juliet to be dead, hurries to Mantua to inform Romeo, who buys some poison and hastens back to Verona. At the tomb he drinks the poison and dies beside juliet. Juliet waking up discovers Romeo dead by her side, Juliet in despair kills herself with his dagger. A crowd from the City reaches the tomb, and Friar Lawrence unfolds to them the whole tragic story of the two lovers. The two families are at last reconciled.

Juliet, the real heroine of the play


Juliet's feeling for Romeo develops from a rather girlish affection to a deep womanly love. Her youth and inexperience are touchingly seen when she tries to hide her feeling for Romeo by first asking the names of other men in order to discover his. This innocent trick reveals her love more clearly than any formal declaration could have done. Her love teaches her the wicked stupidity of the feud, and that it is character not name that matters. Juliet‘s sufferings are greater than Romeo‘s. She is rejected first by her father, then by her mother, and after this discovers that she can no longer trust her Nurse. Except for Friar Lawrence‘s friendship, she is completely alone, and so terrified that she even doubts his honesty for a moment, as she faces the thought of the potion and waking up in the vault. lt is true to Juliet‘s nature that what gives her courage to take the potion is the threat to Romeo‘s safety which she sees in her vision.

The Play


Romeo and Juliet was probably written a year or two before its first appearance in print in 1597. A second and more complete text of the play was printed in 1599. Although Shakespeare‘s plays are today more commonly read than acted, we should remember that Shakespeare was chiefly concerned with stage performance and showed little interest in having his works printed and read.
Romeo and Juliet is simple and complete in structure. Events proceed in a logical way right down to the great climax of the last scene. Shakespeare based his play on a long poem, "The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet", a translation by Arthur Brooke in 1562 of a French account of this well-known ltalian story. Shakespeare shows how hatred poisons human relations in society, affecting almost everyone like a disease.


Shakespeare creates an atmosphere of tragedy through the dreams and forebodings experienced by his characters, so that we feel that events are directed by supernatural forces outside their power. The lovers are “star—crossed“. Just as hatred begets only more hatred, so the love of Romeo and Juliet begets love, and through it the families are reconciled. The peace which results is “glooming“, but it is nevertheless peace, and there seems more hope for the future than before; “grace“ can conquer “rude will“ as the Friar believes. Romeo, before his marriage, had declared:

"But come what sorrow can, lt cannot countervail the exchange of joy, That one short minute gives me in her sight."

lt is possibly this underlying sense of joy and hope which has made Romeo and ]uliet one of Shakespeare‘s best—loved plays.

Famous artists with paintings of Juliet

Philip Calderon, Sir Frank Dicksee, William Powell Frith, John William Waterhouse

To learn more about Juliet see also the following related topics

Romeo and Juliet at Sparks Notes - More of Shakespeare - Symbols in Romeo and Juliet