There are some people in the world whose fame doesn’t let anyone make their first impression, as they already have a dint in public but still let me try. The onboard personality today is one of such kind who has a very firm hollow in the heart and mind of people. He is the world’s best playwright, English poet, and actor. He is one and only William Shakespeare. This Bard of Avon is often known as the National poet of England. His plays have been translated and performed in almost every key language of the world.
William Shakespeare’s bibliography includes 38 plays, 154 sonnets, a few verses, and two long narrative poems. Though the name needs no introduction, the irony is that details about his personal life are very dusky. His birth, childhood, marriage year, cause of death all are greyish.
Apart from Hamlet, the most prevalent play written by Shakespeare is the tragic story of Romeo and Juliet.
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
The eminent play is set in Italy. The story is of two young star-crossed lovers; whose death eventually resolves their feudal families. Romeo and Juliet have become archetypical. The poetic drama structure, character variation, the beginning chorus, and moods of the drama exhibited Shakespeare’s expertise in writing a drama.
One can write a book to elaborate on the depth and details of the drama, but here we will make act-wise summaries with famous quotes at the end by the characters of the drama. The play is alienated into 5 acts.
Romeo and Juliet Act 1
Scene 1 (Summary)
Samson and Gregory were two servants of the house of Capulet. While strolling through the street of Verona with Bawdy wit, Simpson expresses his hatred for the house of Montague. While passing the jesting remarks, they saw two Montage servants approaching. They started thinking of the ways to make them fight without breaking the law led to an insulting gesture (biting thumb) by Simpson, that extent the brawl. A group of citizens had to intervene to restore the peace by beating down the combatants.
The Prince arrived and declared a death sentence for anyone who upset civil peace in the future. After the brawlers disperse, the Montage’s kinsman (Benvolio) is left alone with his uncle and aunt, who show their concern over the sad behavior of their son Romeo. They wanted Benvolio to find out the reason behind Romeo’s melancholy. He met Romeo and found out that he is in love with a woman named Rosaline and is sad because she is not interested in him and has sworn to live a life of chastity.
Scene 2 (Summary)
On the street of Verona, Capulet is walking with a noble kinsman of the Prince named Paris. Paris discusses his desire to marry Capulet’s daughter Juliet to which Capulet is overjoyed. He assured Paris that he is suitable for his daughter, but she is too young (fourteen years old) for marriage. Capulet invited Paris to come to a traditional masquerade feast where he could impress Juliet. Capulet sent his servant Peter to invite listed-people for the feast. Peter could not read, so he asked Romeo to-read the list for him and find out that Rosaline’s name is also on the list. Peter invites Romeo and Benvolio to the feast by assuming that they are not Montagues. Benvolio and Romeo decided to go to the feast.
Scene 3 (Summary)
The scene starts in the Capulet’s house, where the feast is about to begin, and lady Capulet asks a nurse to find her daughter as she needs to discuss something important with her. Once the daughter arrived, the lady Capulet asked about her views on getting married, to which she replied she hasn’t thought about it. Lady Capulet told her about Paris’s interest in her, and she said she would look for him in the feast to consider if she could love him in life. Meanwhile, a serviceman enters to inform that feast has begun.
Scene 4 (Summary)
Romeo, Benvolio, and their friend are wearing a mask, and thinking about ways to enter the feast where they are prohibited as they are the Montague. Romeo first decided not to proceed with their idea of going to the feast, after much argument and witty quotes by his friend, they finally moved toward the feast.
Scene 5 (Summary)
The scene starts in the great hall of Capulets, where guests are feeling comfortable and enjoying the feast. While roaming around, Romeo sees Juliet and asks a serving-man about who she is. Romeo is mesmerized by her beauty and approached her. Holding her hand, he asked her to kiss him to vanish his sins. Juliet stands still and asked him to kiss her again as her sin is still on her lips. The nurse approached after their second kiss and tells Juliet to go to her mother as she is calling her. Benvolio came looking for Romeo, and upon inquiring, he told him that Juliet is Capulet’s daughter. Romeo is devastated to hear the origin of Juliet, and Juliet, on the other side, is equally mesmerized by the stranger who kissed her. Juliet gets to know about Romeo’s being Montague from the nurse.
13 Romeo and Juliet Act 1 Quote
Before moving to Act 2 summary, let us have a look at famous quotes from Act 1.
“No, sir I do not bite my thumb at you, sir, but I bite my thumb, sir” (Sampson)
“Part, Fools! Put up your swords; you know not what you do.” (Prince Escalus)
“What, drawn and talk of peace! I hate the word as I hate hell, all Montagues, & thee.”(Tybalt)
“Examine other beauties.” (Lord Capulet)
“Go thither; and, with the untainted eye, compare her face with some that I show, And I will make thy think thy swan a crow.”(Benvolio)
“Tell me, daughter Juliet, How stands your disposition to be married?” (lady Capulet)
“O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright! It seems she hangs upon the cheek of the night as a rich jewel in Ethiop’s ear; Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!” (Romeo)
“Did my heart love till now? Foreswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.” (Romeo)
“I will withdraw; but this intrusion shall, now seeming sweet, convert to bitt’rest gall.” (Tybalt)
“Go ask his name- if he is married, my grave is likely to be my wedding band!” (Juliet)
“My only love sprung from my only hate! Too early seen unknown, and known too late!” (Juliet)
Marry, that ‘marry’ is the very theme (Lady Capulet)
If love be rough with you, be rough with love (Mercutio)
Romeo and Juliet Act 2
Another short sonnet is played by the chorus to describe the new wave of love in the air. The hatred between the family of Romeo and Juliet made it difficult for them to meet, but their passion was determined to flee all the obstacles in their way.
Scene 1 (Summary)
After leaving the feast, Romeo decides to go after Juliet. He climbs the boundary wall of Capulet’s property and hops down in the orchard. Suddenly Juliet appears in the window right above the spot Romeo was standing. He was about to talk to Juliet when he hears her musing about him. Romeo interrupted her thoughts and amazed her with his presence. She warns him that, he would be murdered if anybody sees him, but Romeo refuses to go without talking to her. Romeo confesses his love to her, but Juliet is confused if Romeo is loyal. She plumps to test his vulnerability to marry her. The nurse calls Juliet. She went inside. After a while, she appears again and tells Romeo that she will meet him the next morning at 9 am. Romeo leaves in search of a monk to help him meet Juliet.
Scene 2 (Summary)
The next morning Flair Lawrence intuits that Romeo might have slept with Rosaline, which is sin. Romeo denies and told him about his love for Juliet. The Flair is shocked to see Romeo’s sudden shift from Rosaline to Juliet. Romeo wanted Flair to express immediate consent to the marriage of the couple. Flair nonetheless agrees to marry the couple; he is hopeful that this nuptial might put an end to the feud ravage among both families.
Scene 3 (Summary)
Benvolio and Mercutio are intuiting about Romeo’s sudden wane and wonder he might have been killed by Tybalt or from the arrow of cupid of love (for Rosaline). Romeo arrives and Mercutio accuses him of abandoning his friends last night to which Romeo agrees.
The nurse enters (trailed by Peter), and asks if any of them know Romeo. Upon recognizing Romeo, she warns him to not double-deal with Juliet. Romeo assures her that he wants to marry Juliet and ask the nurse to give his message to Juliet to try to come to Flair Lawrence’s cell in the afternoon to get married. The nurse agrees by informing Romeo that she will make a cloth ladder outside Juliet’s window to let them enjoy their wedding night.
Scene 4 (Summary)
Juliet waits anxiously for the nurse to come back and tell her what Romeo said. The nurse arrives and tells Juliet that Romeo is ready to marry her and is waiting at Flair Lawrence’s cell to proceed with the marriage rituals.
Scene 5 (Summary)
Romeo and Flair are waiting for Juliet to arrive. Romeo is very passionate about Juliet that he feels no fear of the enemies or the consequences. Juliet attains, and Romeo asks her to express her love in Poetry. Juliet replies that her love is so great that couldn’t be defined easily, and those who tell their worth so merely are beggars. They both exit with Flair Lawrence and get married.
9 Romeo and Juliet Act 2 Quote
But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet
My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee
The more I have, for both are infinite
Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied,
And vice sometime by action dignified.
O, he’s the courageous captain of compliments, he fights as you sing pricksong, keeps time, distance and proportion
this drivelling love is like a great natural that runs lolling up and down to hide his bauble in a hole
Then hie you hence to Friar Laurence’ cell;
There stays a husband to make you a wife
For by your leaves, you shall not stay alone,
Til Holy Church incorporate two in one
Romeo and Juliet Act 3
Scene 1 (Summary)
Benvolio and Mercutio are walking under the sun. Benvolio suggests that they should go indoors to avoid any brawl with Capulet men. Mercutio replies that Benvolio should not criticize Capulet as he is also short temper like any other Italian. Tybalt enters with a group of friends and approaches Benvolio and Mercutio. Mercutio feels annoyed and taunts Tybalt to provoke him to fight. Romeo enters, and Tybalt turns all his attention toward Romeo (calling him a villain).
Romeo ignored Tybalt’s intentions to avoid a brawl as he is now secretly married to Juliet. Tybalt asks Romeo to draw his sword, to which Romeo says that he has a good reason to love Tybalt. Mercutio draws his sword to assure that he will fight if Romeo will back out. Tybalt and Mercutio started fighting, and Romeo jumped in to make peace. Tybalt stabbed Mercutio and ran away.
Mercutio dies while cursing both Montages and Capulets. Romeo’s rage made him kill Tybalt as revenge for Mercutio’s assassination. Benvolio urges Romeo to run away, and he flees, The Price arrives, and Benvolio tells him all the details of the brawl. He emphasized Romeo’s effort of prevailing peace, but Lady Capulet cried that Benvolio is making stories to save Montages. She demands blood for blood, so the Prince announces Romeo killing, if seen in the city.
Scene 2 (Summary)
Juliet is waiting for Romeo to arrive. The nurse attains in the hustle and informs Juliet about the fight between Romeo and Tybalt. The nurse is so distraught that she sprawled over the words, making them sound like Romeo is dead. Juliet assumes that Romeo has killed himself and decided to take her life too. The nurse started mourning Tybalt’s death, and Juliet gets to know that Romeo is in exile after killing Tybalt. Juliet curses nature for whatever happened and asks the nurse that he wants to meet her husband. She doesn’t want her wedding night without her husband, to which the nurse says that she knows where Romeo is hiding and will give a message to him. Juliet gives her ring to the nurse to present Romeo as a token of love.
Scene 3 (Summary)
Romeo is in Friar Lawrence’s cell and is worried about the sentence the Prince would have decreed. Friar told him that he is lucky that the Prince has only banished him, but Romeo says that it is worse than death as he would not be able to see Juliet. Friar tries to console him, but he is unhappy anyway. The nurse arrives and presents him with the ring given by Juliet.
The Friar makes the plan of sending Romeo to Juliet’s chamber at night, but he has to leave the slot and the city before morning. He further explains that he should leave the city until the Prince’s rage calm down, and the news of their marriage gets spread. The nurse left, and Romeo starts preparing to meet Juliet and then to flee Mantua.
Scene 4 (Summary)
Lady Capulet and Paris are walking, and she informs Paris that due to uncertain events, she couldn’t ask her daughter about her feelings for him. Lady Capulet told him that she would ask Juliet in the morning. While Paris was leaving, Capulet called him back and said that the wedding should be apprehended on Wednesday, as he knows his daughter would be enduring his decision. After realizing himself that Wednesday is too soon, Capulet settles Thursday for the wedding.
Scene 5 (Summary)
Romeo prepares to make an exile before dawn. The thought of separation is wrenching the heart of both lovers. The nurse arrives to inform Juliet that Lady Capulet is approaching. Romeo leaves by making a promise that they both will meet again soon. Juliet pulls off the ladder and begs fate to rejoin them eternally. Lady Capulet arrives and sees her daughter crying. She misinterpreted the tears with Tybalt’s death. Lady Capulet tells Juliet how she longs for the bereavement of Romeo as he is the villain.
Lady Capulet informs Juliet about her father’s desire to espousing her to Paris on Thursday. Juliet is shocked and refuses to marry Paris. Meanwhile, Capulet enters the chamber and warns Juliet that he will disown her if she would not obey him.
After Lady Capulet and Capulet went away, Juliet looked at the nurse in a plea and probes from her what she could do to get rid of this dilemma. The nurse advises her to get married to Paris as he is a good match. Juliet is astonished toward the nurse’s disloyalty but pretends to agree. She asks her that she wants to go to Friar’s cell to confess.
11 Romeo and Juliet Act 3 Quote
The day is hot, the Capels are abroad,
An if we meet we shall not scape a brawl (3.1.)
I do protest I never injuried thee,
But love thee better than thou canst devise (3.1.)
Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man.(3.1)
A plague a’ both your houses!
They have made worms’ meat of me. (3.1.)
O, I am fortune’s fool (3.1.)
Give me my Romeo, and when I shall die
Take him and cut him out in little stars (3.2.)
So tedious is this day
As is the night before some festival
To an impatient child that hath new robes
And may not wear them. (3.2.)
I’ll give thee armour to keep off that word,
Adversity’s sweet milk, philosophy (3.3.)
Wilt thou be gone? It is not yet near day (3.5.)
More light and light, more dark and dark our woes (3.5.)
Methinks I see thee now, thou art so low
As one dead in the bottom of a tomb (3.5.)
Romeo and Juliet Act 4
Scene 1 (summary)
In the cell, Friar got to know about Paris and Juliet’s wedding. Paris informs Friar that Juliet is heartbroken after the death of Tybalt and couldn’t get over it, so Capulet thinks she would be relieved from this sorrow after getting married to Paris. Friar whispered to himself that he wishes, he didn’t know the reason behind Juliet’s tears and that the marriage should be delayed.
Paris left, and Juliet plea in front of Friar to help her or she will take her life. Friar makes a plan and tells Juliet to give her consent for the marriage and that he will give her a sleeping potion before her wedding night. She will drink the potion and appear to be dead. Meanwhile, he will inform Romeo to come and to rescue, and you both can leave the city to live a free and desirable life. Juliet agrees to the plan and leaves the place with a sleeping potion.
Scene 2 (summary)
Juliet arrives home and amazed her parents by showing her consent for the marriage. Both parents are overjoyed and call for Paris to let him know about Juliet’s approval for the marriage. Capulet decides to held the marriage ceremony one day before that is Wednesday.
Scene 3 (summary)
Juliet asks the nurse and Lady Capulet to let her spend the night alone. Many thoughts are coming into her mind. She is afraid if Romeo is late, whether Friar is trustworthy, or is he just trying to protect himself. Juliet saw the vision of Tybalt ghost looking for Romeo. She begs the ghost to leave Romeo alone and while toasting the vial to Romeo, she drinks it.
Scene 4-5 (summary)
The Capulet house is fluttering with the wedding preparations. Lady Capulet asks the nurse to awake Juliet. She finds Juliet dead and started mourning. Everyone in the house gets to know about the demise. Paris arrives with musicians and Friar for a wedding. They get to know about Juliet’s death and join the lamentations. Friar consoles them by saying that the poor soul has gone to the better place, so make preparations for her funeral.
Peter asks musicians to play happy music to bring ease to the soul of the deceased. The musician said that it is inappropriate and they can’t do this.
4 Romeo and Juliet Act 4 Quote
If in thy wisdom thou canst give no help
Do thou but call my resolution wise
And with this knife I’ll help it presently (4.1.)
Give me, give me, O tell not me of fear! (4.1.)
Romeo, Romeo, Romeo, here’s drink. I drink to thee. (4.3.)
O son, the night before thy wedding day
Hath death lain with your wife (4.5.)
Romeo and Juliet Act 5
Romeo is in Mantua and is happy as he has seen Juliet in his dream. Balthasar entered and informed Romeo about Juliet’s death. Romeo cries out.
He tells Balthasar to bring a pen, paper and horses as he wants to return to Verona today. The Balthasar is not willing to leave Romeo as he thinks his sorrow might lead him to do something inappropriate. But he leaves on Romeo’s contend. Suddenly Romeo asked him if he gets any letter from Friar Lawrence to which he responds in denial. Romeo went to Apothecary to get a vial of poison.
The Friar Lawrence talks to Friar John if he had given the letter to Romeo. He said that he couldn’t do it as he was quarantined because of the plague. Friar became upset and worried if Romeo will not arrive in time, there will be no one to retrieve Juliet from the tomb when she will wake up. Friar declares to save Juliet on his own and keep her in his cell until Romeo arrives.
Paris entered the churchyard with a torch-bearing servant. While scattering flowers on Juliet’s grave he heard a whistling sound and withdraws into the darkness., He saw Romeo entering with the crowbar and Balthasar. Romeo asked Balthasar to leave and deliver his letter to Montague, but Balthasar hides to see his master’s intension.
Paris recognized Romeo as Tybalt killer and assumes that his hatred for Capulets has brought him here. He thought that Romeo might dishonor the body of Juliet or Tybalt, so he came out with a sword. Paris servant ran to get the civil watch. Meanwhile, Romeo killed Paris. As he dies, he pleads to be-laid near Juliet’s tomb. Romeo picked his body and moved toward the tomb. He saw Juliet’s body, kissed her, drink poison, and died. Just then, Friar entered and got to know about Romeo’s presence in the tomb by Balthasar. Friar saw the body of Paris and Romeo.
Juliet awakens, and asks about Romeo from Friar. Lawrence asks Juliet to leave with him as Romeo and Paris have died. Juliet refuses and, Friar exits alone. Juliet saw the empty vial of poison and understands the reason behind Romeo’s death. She kisses Romeo thinking that the poison on his lips might kill him but in vain. She picks the dagger of Romeo and stabs herself.
The page of Paris came back with a watch and found out the bodied. They hold Balthasar and Friar Lawrence also. Capulet and Montague arrived and heard the whole tale from Friar about the secret marriage and demise of the lovers.
Romeo and Juliet Act 5 Quote
Death is my son-in-law, death is my heir
My daughter he hath wedded (4.5.)
I dreamt my lady came and found me dead—
Strange dream that gives a dead man leave to think (5.1.)
Is it e’en so? Then I defy you, stars. (5.1.)
Such mortal drugs I have, but Mantua’s law
Is death to any he that utters them (5.2.)
Shall I believe
That unsubstantial death is amorous
And that the lean abhorred monster keeps
Thee here in dark to be his paramour? (5.3.)
The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss
A dateless bargain to engrossing death. (5.3.)
Thy lips are warm! (5.3.)
A glooming peace this morning with it brings.
The sun for sorrow will not show his head (5.3.)
William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” is a legend in the history of English Literature. The tragic end leaves the reader with a heavy heart, which shows how effective is the pen of the writer. The quotations from the play would have taken you to the other world. Don’t forget to comment below after coming back from your dream ride to the skies with Romeo and Juliet. Let us know which aspect of the drama inspires you the most. The Witty dialogues or the romantic ones, which is your favorite?