'Romeo and Juliet' Scenes

A Breakdown of 'Romeo and Juliet' Scene-by-Scene

'Romeo and Juliet'
'Romeo and Juliet'. Photo © [link url=http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/index.cfm]NYPL Digital Gallery[/link]

Act 1

Scene 1: Samson and Gregory, Capulet’s men, discuss strategies to provoke a fight with the Montagues – banter between the two sides soon starts. Benvolio encourages peace among the families just as Tybalt enters and challenges him to a duel for being a cowardly Montague. Montague and Capulet soon enter and are encouraged by the Prince to keep the peace. Romeo is feeling dejected and forlorn – he explains to Benvolio that he is in love, but that his love is unrequited.

Scene 2: Paris asks Capulet if he may approach Juliet for her hand in marriage - Capulet approves. Capulet explains that he is holding a feast at which Paris could woo his daughter. Peter, a serving man, is dispatched to give out invitations and unwittingly invites Romeo. Benvolio encourages him to attend because Rosalind (Romeo’s love) will be present.

Scene 3: Capulet’s wife informs Juliet of Paris’ desire to marry her. The Nurse also encourages Juliet.

Scene 4: A masked Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio enter the Capulet celebration. Romeo tells of a dream he had about the consequences for attending the celebration: the dream foretold “untimely death”.

Scene 5: Capulet welcomes the masked revelers and invites them to dance. Romeo notices Juliet among the guests and instantly falls in love with her. Tybalt notices Romeo and informs Capulet of his presence offering to remove him. Capulet allows Romeo to stay in order to preserve the peace.

Meanwhile, Romeo has located Juliet and the couple kisses.

Act 2

Scene 1: Upon leaving the Capulet grounds with his kinsman, Romeo has run off and hid himself in the trees. Romeo sees Juliet on her balcony and overhears her profess her love for him. Romeo responds in kind and they decide to marry the next day.

Juliet is called away by her Nurse and Romeo bids her farewell.

Scene 2: Romeo asks Friar Lawrence to marry him to Juliet. The Friar chastises Romeo for being fickle and asks what happened to his love for Rosalind. Romeo dismisses his love for Rosalind and explains the urgency of his request.

Scene 3: Mercutio informs Benvolio that Tybalt has threatened to kill Mercutio. The Nurse ensures that Romeo is serious about his love for Juliet and warns him of Paris’ intentions.

Scene 4: The Nurse delivers the message to Juliet that she is to meet and marry Romeo in Friar Lawrence’s cell.

Scene 5: Romeo is with Friar Lawrence as Juliet hastily arrives. The Friar resolves to marry them quickly.

Act 3

Scene 1: Tybalt challenges Romeo, who attempts to pacify the situation. A fight breaks out and Tybalt kills Mercutio – before dying he wishes “a plague on both your houses.” In an act of revenge, Romeo kills Tybalt. The Prince arrives and banishes Romeo.

Scene 2: The Nurse explains that her cousin, Tybalt, has been killed by Romeo. Confused, Juliet questions Romeo’s integrity but then decides that she loves him and wants him to visit her before he is exiled. The Nurse goes to find him.

Scene 3: Friar Lawrence informs Romeo that he is to be banished.

The Nurse enters to pass on Juliet’s message. Friar Lawrence encourages Romeo to visit Juliet and fulfill their marriage contract before going to exile. He explains that he will send a message when it is safe for Romeo to return as Juliet’s husband.

Scene 4: Capulet and his wife explain to Paris that Juliet is too upset about Tybalt to consider his marriage proposal. Capulet then decides to arrange for Juliet to marry Paris the following Thursday.

Scene 5: Romeo bids Juliet an emotional farewell after spending the night together. Lady Capulet believes that Tybalt’s death is the cause of her daughter’s misery and threatens to kill Romeo with poison. Juliet is told that she is to marry Paris on Thursday. Juliet refuses much to her father’s distain. The Nurse encourages Juliet to marry Paris but she refuses and decides to go to Friar Lawrence for advice.

Act 4

Scene 1: Juliet and Paris discuss the marriage and Juliet makes her feeling clear. When Paris leaves Juliet threatens to kill herself if the Friar cannot think of a resolution. The Friar offers Juliet a potion in a vial which will make her appear dead. She will be placed in the family vault where she is to wait for Romeo to take her to Mantua.

Scene 2: Juliet begs her father’s forgiveness and they discuss Paris’ marriage proposal.

Scene 3: Juliet asks to spend the night alone and swallows the potion with a dagger by her side in case the plan does not work.

Scene 4: The Nurse discovers Juliet’s lifeless body and the Capulets and Paris grieve her death. The Friar takes the family and Juliet’s seemingly dead body to church. They hold a ceremony for Juliet.

Act 5

Scene 1: Romeo receives news from Balthasar about Juliet’s death and is determined to die by her side. He buys some poison from an apothecary and makes the return journey to Verona.

Scene 2: The Friar finds out that his letter explaining the plan about Juliet’s faked death was not delivered to Romeo.

Scene 3: Paris is in Juliet’s chamber grieving her death when Romeo arrives. Romeo is apprehended by Paris and Romeo stabs him. Romeo kisses Juliet’s body and takes the poison. The Friar arrives to find Romeo dead. Juliet wakes to find Romeo dead and no poison left for her, she uses the dagger to kill herself in grief.

When the Montagues and Capulets arrive, the Friar explains the events leading to the tragedy. The Prince pleads with the Montagues and Capulets to bury their grievances and acknowledge their losses.

The Montague and Capulet families finally lay their feud to rest.