Romeo and Juliet

Romeo Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
One of the protagonists of the play, along with Juliet. He is the male heir to the dynasty of House Montague, which is in a long-standing feud with House Capulet. At the start of the play, Romeo is too busy pining over his unrequited love for a young woman named Rosaline to join his kinsman in the many petty fights and brawls they engage in with members of House Capulet—Romeo would rather chase down love (or stand around sighing about how he’s failing to do so) than raise his sword against his family’s enemies. After Romeo is dragged to a masquerade at the Capulet house by Mercutio, his wild, fun-loving friend, and Benvolio, his cousin, Romeo falls in love with the beautiful Juliet—not realizing that she is a Capulet, and therefore his sworn enemy due to the feud between their families. Romeo quickly abandons his feelings for Rosaline and swears his eternal, undying love for Juliet, revealing his melodramatic and quickly changeable nature. After secretly marrying Juliet with the help of Friar Laurence, Romeo is even more resistant to being drawn into his kinsmen’s brawls. But after the hotheaded Tybalt, furious at the Montagues for crashing the Capulets’ party, kills Mercutio, Romeo takes a stand and kills Tybalt. This further confirms Romeo’s inconsistent and reactionary tendencies, and he is exiled to Mantua by Prince Escalus, where he pines for Juliet while awaiting news from Friar Laurence. Unbeknownst to Romeo, the friar helps Juliet avoid a forced marriage to the count Paris by devising a plan that will make her appear dead after she drinks a special potion. This way, she can be put to rest in her family tomb, excavated, and reunited with Romeo outside the walls of Verona. Romeo is unaware of this plan, however, and when his servant, Balthasar, brings him news that Juliet is dead, Romeo once again flies into a melodramatic rage, procuring poison from a local apothecary and rushing back to Verona—against the order of his exile—to kill himself inside Juliet’s tomb. Upon waking up from her staged death, Juliet is distraught over Romeo’s death and uses his dagger to commit suicide herself. Impulsive, dramatic, and obsessed with the pursuit of love, Romeo’s changeable, impulsive, childish personality has fascinated audiences for centuries. In popular culture, a “Romeo” is a young man so swept up in the grips of love he can focus on nothing else—in the play, Romeo’s emotions so obscure his sense of reason and calm that he takes his own life in the name of following his love interest into death.

Romeo Quotes in Romeo and Juliet

The Romeo and Juliet quotes below are all either spoken by Romeo or refer to Romeo. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Love and Violence Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of Romeo and Juliet published in 2004.
Prologue Quotes

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes,
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows,
Doth with their death bury their parents' strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Which, but their children's end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.

Related Characters: The Chorus (speaker), Romeo, Juliet
Page Number: Prologue, Lines 1-14
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 1, Scene 1 Quotes

Why then, O brawling love! O loving hate!
O any thing, of nothing first created;
O heavy lightness! serious vanity!
Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms!

Related Characters: Romeo (speaker), Juliet, Benvolio, Rosaline
Page Number: 1.1.181-184
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 1, Scene 4 Quotes

Romeo: I dream'd a dream to-night.
Mercutio: And so did I.
Romeo: Well, what was yours?
Mercutio: That dreamers often lie.

Related Characters: Romeo (speaker), Mercutio (speaker)
Page Number: 1.4.53-56
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 1, Scene 5 Quotes

Oh, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear,
Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear.
So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows
As yonder lady o'er her fellows shows.
The measure done, I'll watch her place of stand,
And, touching hers, make blessèd my rude hand.
Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight!
For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.

Related Characters: Romeo (speaker), Juliet, Rosaline
Related Symbols: Light/Dark and Day/Night
Page Number: 1.5.51-60
Explanation and Analysis:
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You kiss by th’ book.

Related Characters: Juliet (speaker), Romeo
Page Number: 1.5.122
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My only love sprung from my only hate!
Too early seen unknown, and known too late!

Related Characters: Juliet (speaker), Romeo
Page Number: 1.5.152-153
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 2, Scene 2 Quotes

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun!

Related Characters: Romeo (speaker), Juliet
Related Symbols: Light/Dark and Day/Night
Page Number: 2.2.2-3
Explanation and Analysis:
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O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I'll no longer be a Capulet.

Related Characters: Juliet (speaker), Romeo
Page Number: 2.2.36-39
Explanation and Analysis:
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'Tis but thy name that is my enemy; —
Thou art thyself though, not a Montague.
What's Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? That which we call a rose,
By any other word would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title: — Romeo, doff thy name;
And for thy name, which is no part of thee,
Take all myself.

Related Characters: Juliet (speaker), Romeo
Page Number: 2.2.41-52
Explanation and Analysis:
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I take thee at thy word:
Call me but love, and I'll be new baptis'd;
Henceforth I never will be Romeo.

Related Characters: Romeo (speaker), Juliet
Page Number: 2.2.53-55
Explanation and Analysis:
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O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circled orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.

Related Characters: Juliet (speaker), Romeo
Related Symbols: Light/Dark and Day/Night
Page Number: 2.2.114-116
Explanation and Analysis:
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Good-night, good-night! Parting is such sweet sorrow
That I shall say good-night till it be morrow.

Related Characters: Juliet (speaker), Romeo
Related Symbols: Light/Dark and Day/Night
Page Number: 2.2.199-201
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 3, Scene 1 Quotes

Romeo, the hate I bear thee can afford
No better term than this: thou art a villain.

Related Characters: Tybalt (speaker), Romeo
Page Number: 3.1.61-62
Explanation and Analysis:
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Romeo: Courage, man; the hurt cannot be much.
Mercutio: No, 'tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church-door; but 'tis enough, 'twill serve: ask for me to-morrow, and you shall find me a grave man.

Related Characters: Romeo (speaker), Mercutio (speaker)
Page Number: 3.1.99-102
Explanation and Analysis:
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O, I am fortune's fool!

Related Characters: Romeo (speaker), Tybalt
Page Number: 3.1.142
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 3, Scene 2 Quotes

Come, gentle night, — come, loving black brow'd night,
Give me my Romeo; and when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of Heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night,
And pay no worship to the garish sun.

Related Characters: Juliet (speaker), Romeo
Related Symbols: Light/Dark and Day/Night
Page Number: 3.2.21-27
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 3, Scene 5 Quotes

Wilt thou be gone? it is not yet near day.
It was the nightingale, and not the lark,
That pierc'd the fearful hollow of thine ear;
Nightly she sings on yond pomegranate tree.
Believe me love, it was the nightingale.

Related Characters: Juliet (speaker), Romeo
Related Symbols: Light/Dark and Day/Night
Page Number: 3.5.1-5
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 5, Scene 1 Quotes

Then I defy you, stars!

Related Characters: Romeo (speaker), Juliet
Related Symbols: Light/Dark and Day/Night
Page Number: 5.1.25
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 5, Scene 3 Quotes

O true apothecary! Thy drugs are quick. — Thus with a kiss I die.

Related Characters: Romeo (speaker), The Apothecary
Related Symbols: Potions and Poisons
Page Number: 5.3.119-120
Explanation and Analysis:
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Yea, noise, then I'll be brief;
O, happy dagger!
This is thy sheath; there rest, and let me die.

Related Characters: Juliet (speaker), Romeo
Page Number: 5.3.174-175
Explanation and Analysis:
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For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

Related Characters: Prince Escalus (speaker), Romeo, Juliet
Page Number: 5.3.119-120
Explanation and Analysis:
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Romeo Character Timeline in Romeo and Juliet

The timeline below shows where the character Romeo appears in Romeo and Juliet. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
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...when Tybalt arrived and escalated the dispute. Lady Montague says she’s relieved that her son Romeo wasn’t around for the fight and asks Benvolio if he’s seen him. Benvolio says that... (full context)
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Romeo approaches. Benvolio urges Montague and Lady Montague to go with the prince while he stays... (full context)
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Benvolio expresses his sadness for Romeo’s “good heart’s oppression,” and Romeo continues waxing poetic about the “transgression[s]” of love. Benvolio begs... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
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...the feast. After Capulet and Paris exit, Peter laments that he cannot read. Benvolio and Romeo enter, still talking about Romeo’s broken heart. Benvolio urges Romeo to fall in love with... (full context)
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Benvolio tells Romeo that the woman Romeo loves, Rosaline, will be at the party. He urges Romeo to... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 4
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Romeo, Mercutio, Benvolio, and several of their house’s men enter wearing party masks and carrying torches.... (full context)
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Benvolio says it’s time to go inside. Romeo is still dragging his feet and Mercutio taunts him for being such a stick in... (full context)
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Mercutio says he had a dream the night before, too—he and Romeo have both been visited by “Queen Mab.” Benvolio asks who Queen Mab is, and Mercutio,... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 5
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...guests, urging them to have a good time, be merry, and dance all night. Spotting Romeo and his friends—but unable to recognize them through their masks—he remarks on his many unexpected... (full context)
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Romeo spots Juliet from across the room and asks a servant who she is. The servant... (full context)
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Tybalt overhears Romeo talking, and says he knows him by his voice—he is a Montague. He orders his... (full context)
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Romeo approaches Juliet and takes her hand, calling it a “holy shrine.” He says that if... (full context)
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Romeo is shocked and dismayed to realize that he has fallen in love with the daughter... (full context)
Act 2, prologue
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The chorus enters. They describe how Romeo’s “old desire” for Rosaline is now in its “deathbed.” Love has found Romeo again—but because... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
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As he is leaving the Capulets’ party, Romeo pauses in the house’s courtyard—he doesn’t want to leave when his “heart” is still inside.... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
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Romeo comes out of hiding just as a light in a nearby window flicks on and... (full context)
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Juliet speaks, sighing “Ay me!” and Romeo, hearing her, remains hidden, but quietly says he wishes she would speak again. Juliet sighs... (full context)
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Romeo speaks up and says he’ll take Juliet’s advice and allow her to “baptize” him anew—if... (full context)
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Juliet tells Romeo that normally she’d be embarrassed about all the things he’s overheard her saying tonight—but now... (full context)
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As Romeo begins to swear his love again, however, Juliet cuts him off, telling him that they... (full context)
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Juliet’s nurse calls for her, and Juliet tells Romeo that she has to go inside but will come right back. She hurries in, and... (full context)
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Romeo turns to leave, but Juliet comes out to the balcony yet again and calls down... (full context)
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Juliet bids Romeo goodnight, and he says he hopes she sleeps peacefully. Juliet hurries inside, and Romeo says... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
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Romeo enters and greets Friar Laurence. The friar is surprised to see him, and remarks that... (full context)
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Romeo explains that his “heart’s dear love is set on the fair daughter of rich Capulet.”... (full context)
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Friar Laurence, in spite of his reservations, admits that perhaps the marriage of Romeo and Juliet could serve “to turn [their] households’ rancor to pure love.” Romeo begs the... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 4
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Benvolio and Mercutio enter, discussing how Romeo did not come home the night before. They believe he is still out chasing after... (full context)
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Romeo greets Mercutio and Benvolio, and Mercutio accuses Romeo of giving them both “the slip” the... (full context)
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...prick of noon.” The nurse chides Mercutio for making such a dirty joke, then tells Romeo she wants to have a private conversation with him. Benvolio and Mercutio make sexual jokes... (full context)
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The nurse tells Romeo how little she cared for Mercutio’s “saucy” jokes and chides Peter for remaining silent in... (full context)
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Romeo gives the nurse some money for her trouble, in spite of her protestations, and informs... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 5
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...courtyard of the Capulet manor, Juliet paces nervously—her nurse is not yet back from meeting Romeo, and she is worried about what could have possibly delayed the woman for three long... (full context)
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The nurse states that Juliet has made a “simple choice” in Romeo—though he’s handsome and gentle, she says, he’s nothing special. Juliet ignores all of the nurse’s... (full context)
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...a wife.” The nurse says that she’s headed back out to fetch a ladder from Romeo’s servant so that later, once it is dark, Romeo can climb up to Juliet’s room... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 6
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At Friar Laurence’s cell, the friar and Romeo wait for Juliet. The friar says he hopes the heavens will smile upon the “holy... (full context)
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Juliet rushes into the friar’s chambers and excitedly embraces Romeo. As Friar Laurence watches the two hold each another, he admires their love but wonders... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
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Tybalt turns on Romeo, mocking him and calling him a villain. Romeo tries to defuse Tybalt’s anger by calmly... (full context)
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After Tybalt and the other Capulets leave, Benvolio and Romeo ask Mercutio if he’s badly hurt. He insists at first that he’s suffered just “a... (full context)
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Benvolio enters and announces that Mercutio has died. Romeo, enraged, states that “this day’s black fate” will begin a great “woe” between the Capulets... (full context)
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Benvolio warns Romeo that the citizens of Verona have heard the fight and are coming. Prince Escalus will... (full context)
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Lady Capulet accuses Benvolio of lying to protect the Montagues. Prince Escalus asks if Romeo is responsible for Tybalt’s spilt blood. Montague begs the prince to spare his son’s life,... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
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Juliet, in her chambers, begs night to fall so that Romeo can at last “leap” into her arms and perform the “amorous rites” of love. Juliet... (full context)
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The nurse enters with Romeo’s rope ladder, and Juliet asks if she brings any news. The nurse calls out mournfully,... (full context)
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The nurse points out that Romeo did kill Juliet’s cousin. Juliet wrestles with the emotional and moral conundrum before her—Tybalt, she... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 3
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Romeo goes to Friar Laurence’s chambers. Friar Laurence feels pity for Romeo, who seems “wedded to... (full context)
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Friar Laurence says that he has some advice and comfort for Romeo—if only Romeo will hush up long enough to hear it. Romeo insists that the friar... (full context)
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...stating that she has brought a message from her lady. She enters, and, upon seeing Romeo, remarks that Juliet is back at home in a similar state. Romeo asks if it’s... (full context)
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Friar Laurence orders Romeo to stop being so dramatic and start acting like a man. The friar demands Romeo... (full context)
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Romeo thanks Friar Laurence for lifting his mood. The friar tells Romeo to enjoy his night... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 5
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Romeo and Juliet walk out onto Juliet’s balcony after having spent the night together. It is... (full context)
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After a kiss farewell, Romeo climbs down the rope ladder. Juliet calls after him, worried that it will be years... (full context)
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...tears won’t do him any good in the grave—but because the “villain” who killed him, Romeo, still lives. Juliet, putting on an act, says she wishes she could avenge Tybalt’s death.... (full context)
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...Juliet says she doesn’t want to marry Paris—she would, she says, marry her sworn enemy Romeo before him. Capulet and the nurse enter, and Capulet asks why Juliet is still crying—surely,... (full context)
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...her nurse what can possibly be done. The nurse urges Juliet to marry Paris, since Romeo is banished and may never come back, while Paris is a fine gentleman and a... (full context)
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...he can’t help her, she says, she will take her own life rather than insult Romeo by marrying Paris. (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
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...crypt each night than marry Paris—she will do anything for the chance to be with Romeo again. (full context)
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...buried—while all this is happening, the friar says, he’ll send word of the plan to Romeo, who will return to Verona, get Juliet from the crypt, and hurry her away to... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
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...to go through with her plan. She lifts the vial and makes a toast to Romeo before drinking and falling, almost immediately, upon her bed. (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
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Romeo is alone in Mantua. He wakes from sleep, proclaiming that his dreams have portended “some... (full context)
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Balthasar tells Romeo that he has terrible news that he must nonetheless deliver, as is his duty: Juliet... (full context)
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Alone, Romeo declares that one way or another, he will lie with Juliet later that night. He... (full context)
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Romeo says he can see the desperation in the pale, thin apothecary’s eyes, and begs him... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
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...the man, who has come from Mantua. Laurence asks if John has any news from Romeo—it is clear that Laurence sent John to Mantua to inform Romeo of Juliet’s plan. Friar... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
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...to Juliet’s grave nightly. When his page whistles, indicating that someone is coming, Paris hides. Romeo and Balthasar enter with torches, a pickax, and a crowbar. Romeo takes the ax and... (full context)
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Romeo resolves to crack the crypt open with his tools and feed himself into deaths’ “detestable... (full context)
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As Romeo stands over Paris’s body, he remembers a piece of gossip Balthasar told him on the... (full context)
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As he descends into the crypt and lays eyes on Juliet, Romeo remarks that though death has taken Juliet’s breath from her body, it has “had no... (full context)
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...a mess strewn about, he asks who is there. Balthasar answers, and tells him that Romeo went down into the crypt half an hour ago. Friar Laurence asks Balthasar to descend... (full context)
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Juliet stirs, then wakes. She says hello to Friar Laurence and asks where Romeo is. There is a noise outside the crypt, and Friar Laurence urges Juliet to get... (full context)
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Friar Laurence leaves, and Juliet is left alone in the tomb. She looks upon Romeo’s corpse and, seeing a cup in his hand, realizes he has poisoned himself. She checks... (full context)
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...watchmen down into the Capulet crypt. The chief watchman finds the “pitiful sight” of Paris, Romeo, and Juliet, all dead, in the bottom of the crypt—he realizes that Juliet was merely... (full context)
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...desperate to know what’s going on—in the streets, they’ve heard people crying the names of Romeo, Juliet, and Paris. The chief watchman tells them all that Romeo and Paris are dead,... (full context)
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Friar Laurence speaks up to clear the air. He admits that he married Romeo and Juliet in secret on the day of Tybalt’s death—Juliet was, all along, pining for... (full context)
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...forth Balthasar and asks him to say his peace. Balthasar says that after he brought Romeo news of Juliet’s death, Romeo fled Mantua for Verona, gave Balthasar a letter for Montague,... (full context)
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...as Verona stands, so too will her monument. Capulet says he’ll erect a statue of Romeo, too, so that both victims of their feud are honored.  (full context)
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...that there “never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.” (full context)