Act 1, scene 1
The color-coded boxes under "Analysis & Themes" below (which look like this: ) make it easy to track the themes throughout the work. Each color corresponds to one of the themes explained in the Themes section of this LitChart.
Analysis & Themes
Two Capulet servants, Gregory and Samson, enter. They brag about what they would do if they saw a Montague.
Suddenly they see Abraham, a Montague servant. They want to fight, but don't want to start the fight so that the law is on their side. Samson insults Abraham by biting his thumb. Abraham draws his sword.
Benvolio arrives and tries to stop the fighting. Tybalt arrives and insults Benvolio and all Montagues. Soon they're all battling. Montague and Capulet also try to join the fight, but their wives hold them back.
The brawl halts only when Prince Escalus arrives with members of the Civil Watch. Escalus proclaims that any Montague or Capulet who disturbs the peace in the future will be put to death.
As Benvolio and Montague discuss the fight a little later, Lady Montague says she's glad that Romeo, her son, wasn't involved. Benvolio says that just before dawn he saw Romeo looking melancholy in a grove of sycamore trees. None of them know why Romeo has seemed so sad recently. Just then they see Romeo approaching. Montague and Lady Montague exit, to let Benvolio speak with Romeo alone.
Benvolio learns from Romeo that he is in love with Rosaline, a woman who has taken an oath of chastity. Romeo makes poetic pronouncements about love, and speaks in clichés about its paradoxes: "feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health" (1.1.174).
More help on this section...
• See quotes from Act 1, scene 1