ROMEO AND JULIET
SHORT SUMMARY AND SCRIPT
Romeo and Juliet is probably the most familiar of all Shakespearean tales. It is a wonderful romantic tragedy. It contains all the elements that keep an audience enthralled.
The story takes place in Verona, Italy, during the later Middle Ages. Two families who reside there, the Capulets and the Montagues, have been feuding for so long that no one can remember what started their quarrel. However, Prince Escalus, ruler of Verona, has had it with the constant feuding, and the resulting fighting that goes on in his streets. He has ordered that all fighting cease upon penalty of death.
The Montagues are concerned about their son Romeo, who has begun to lead a life of solitude. His friends, Benvolio and Mercutio, discover that he is pining away for a beautiful girl named Rosaline. In order to cheer him they decide to put on a disguise and attend the Capulet’s ball that night.
As soon as Romeo and Juliet set eyes on each other they fell in love. After the party that night, Romeo watches Juliet on her balcony. He realizes that she has fallen in love with him. He makes his presence known, and before morning they have agreed to a secret marriage.
But before the wedding day is over, Romeo is provoked into killing Juliet’s cousin Tybalt. Tybalt has just slain Romeo’s friend, Mercutio, and Romeo feels he had no choice but to duel with Tybalt. In fear of his life he flees Verona, but arranges with Juliet to meet her later.
Juliet’s father, Lord Capulet, has decided that she must marry someone else. To save herself from marrying someone she does not love and participate in a ceremony where she is already married, she swallows a drug given to her by the friar. The potion puts her into a deathlike trance until word can be sent to Romeo to come and take her away with him. But Romeo hears she is dead. He arrives frantically in Verona and poisons himself to lie at the foot of her bier. Waking from her trance, Juliet sees the dead Romeo, and immediately stabs herself with Romeo’s dagger.
As the two families discover the tragedy that has occurred, they vow that their deaths will heal the feud forever.
Cast of Characters
Servant Boy/Narrator 2
Servant Girl/Narrator 3
ROMEO AND JULIET
SCENE 1: A Street in Verona
NARRATOR 1: You are about to hear the story of a bitter quarrel between two rich and powerful families, and the grief and bloodshed it brought to both. Fair Verona is where we set our scene. Tis here where an ancient grudge breaks to new mutiny and civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
NARRATOR 2: The two families are called Montague and Capulet and the quarrel was so old that no one could remember how it had begun. A member of one family had perhaps said something insulting to a member of the other family.
NARRATOR 3: Whatever the reason, the feud has grown and each side has added to it, so that it kept blazing up at public meetings, or in the street, or even in church.
(Enter Tybalt from center stage.)
TYBALT: The Prince would have peace, yet the Montagues draw their swords when I come upon them. Peace? I hate the word, and I hate all Montagues!
(Enter citizens from each side the stage. The Capulets go to Tybalt and those who side with the Montagues cluster together.)
TYBALT AND FRIENDS: Down with the Montagues!
MONTAGUES: Down with the Capulets!
(Enter Lord and Lady Capulet from stage left.)
CAPULET: What noise is this? Give me my long sword, ho!
LADY CAPULET: A sword, why call you for a sword?
CAPULET: My sword, I say! Old Montague is come, and flourishes his blade in spite of me.
MONTAGUE: Thou villain Capulet. (To his wife who holds him back.) Hold me
not, let me go.
LADY MONTAGUE: Thou shalt not stir one foot to seek a foe.
(Prince Escalus enters as the citizens are trying to stop the arguments and fighting.)
PRINCE ESCALUS: Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace, hear me! Terminate these disputes on pain of torture! Throw your weapons to the ground and hear your Prince. Three civil brawls by Capulet and Montague have disturbed the quiet of our streets. If ever you disturb our streets again your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace. For this time, depart, away! Once more, on pain of death, all men depart.
(The citizens begin to depart in all directions. Only Lord and
Lady Montague and Benvolio are left on stage.)
NARRATOR 1: And so for a short time, peace reigns on the streets of Verona.
But the quarrel is too long and too bitter for peace to remain forever Lord and Lady Montague are concerned about their young son, Romeo, and where he was when this latest fighting began.
LADY MONTAGUE: Who set this ancient quarrel a new? Speak nephew, were
you by when it began?
BENVOLIO: Here were the servants of your adversary, and yours, close fighting ere I did approach, interchanging thrusts and blows till the prince came, who parted either part.
LADY MONTAGUE: O where is Romeo - saw you him today? Right glad I am he was
not at this fray.
BENVOLIO: Madam, an hour before this morning’s sun and walking did I see your son, and stole he into the covert of the wood. Because of our affection for each other I pursued him not.
LADY MONTAGUE: Many a morning hath he there been seen, with tears augmenting
the fresh morning’s dew.
MONTAGUE: In his chamber he pens himself, shuts up his windows, locks the fair daylight out and makes himself an artificial night. Black must this mood prove, unless good counsel may the cause remove.
BENVOLIO: My noble uncle, do you know the cause?
MONTAGUE: I neither know it nor can learn of it from him.
LADY MONTAGUE: I have asked him, both myself and his friends, but he keeps his
counsels to himself. Could we but learn from whence his
sorrows grow, we would willingly give cure.
BENVOLIO: When he comes, I’ll learn his grievance.
MONTAGUE: Would thou could. Come, madam, let’s away.
(Lord and Lady Montague exit center of stage. Mercutio joins Benvolio from stage left, and Romeo comes up from the back of the room. They begin talking to each other and it becomes obvious that the other two are teasing Romeo.)
NARRATOR 2: Through their discussion Benvolio has discovered that Romeo’s dark mood is caused by his yearning for a beautiful young girl named Rosaline. Benvolio and Mercutio begin to tease Romeo about his unrequited love for the beautiful Rosaline.
ROMEO: Bother me not.
BENVOLIO: Why should you bother with Rosaline when there are many fair maids in Verona just as beautiful as she?
MERCUTIO: And all of them much enamored of you, Romeo. Forget her!
ROMEO: O, teach me how I should forget to think!
(Exit young men)
NARRATOR 3: Forgetting his new love will be difficult for Romeo, for the young
Rosaline is rich in beauty as are other fair maidens. But none are as fair as the only daughter of the Capulets, the fair Juliet.
SCENE 2: Juliet’s Bedroom
(Curtains open on Juliet’s bedroom. The nurse is on stage,
and Lady Capulet enters, looking for her daughter.)
LADY CAPULET: Nurse, where’s my daughter? Call her forth to me.
NURSE: Now, by my soul, I bid her come. (Calls to Juliet.) Lamb, ladybird! Where is this girl? What, Juliet!
JULIET: How now, who calls?
NURSE: Your mother.
JULIET: Madam, I am here. What is your will?
LADY CAPULET: This is the matter. (To Nurse.) Nurse, leave us awhile. We must
talk in secret. (Nurse starts to leave, looking offended.) Nurse,
come back. Thou may hear our counsel. Does thou knowest my
NURSE: Faith, I can tell her age unto an hour.
LADY CAPULET: She’s not yet fourteen.
NURSE: I’ll wage fourteen of my teeth, although I have but four, she’s not fourteen.
(Begins reciting about the past with a far away look in her eyes.)
‘Tis since the earthquake now eleven years, and she was but two. I never shall forget it, for then could she stand alone. She could run and waddle all about, for even the day before she broke her brow, and then my husband - God be with his soul, he was a merry man - took up the child. Yea, said he, ‘dost thou fall upon thy face?’
LADY CAPULET: (Interrupting the nurse.) Enough of this. I pray thee hold thy peace.
JULIET: I pray thee, Nurse, please stop.
NURSE: I am done. But thou wast the prettiest babe ever. Oh, that I might live to see thee married.
NARRATOR 1: And that is exactly what Lady Capulet has come to talk to Juliet about. Paris, a young nobleman of Verona, has asked Lord Capulet for Juliet’s hand in marriage. Although they are rather halfhearted about agreeing because of Juliet’s tender age, they do so, if Juliet will give her consent.
NURSE: A man, young lady, such a man! Why he’s a model of a man.
LADY CAPULET: Yes, there is none in Verona who is more handsome. (To Juliet.)
What say you? Can you love the gentleman? This night you shall
behold him at our feast. You will find delight in his handsome face. Speak, Juliet, can you try to like him?
JULIET: I will look, mother, and I will try to like him, but looking can’t make me like him.
SERVANT (GIRL): Madam, the guests come and supper served. I beseech you to follow me straightaway.
LADY CAPULET: We follow thee.
NURSE: Go, girl, seek happiness tonight for happy days ahead.
(The curtains close.)
SCENE 3: Outside the Capulets later that evening
(Romeo, Mercutio, and Benvolio come from the back of the room to stand before the Capulet’s home.)
NARRATOR 2: The Capulets prepare for their party. But they are not the only ones to discuss that evening’s festivities.
ROMEO: What excuse shall we give for going to the Capulet’s party? Should we announce ourselves, or enter without apology?
BENVOLIO: Tis not necessary to announce ourselves. Let them measure us by that they will. We will dance awhile and be gone.
ROMEO: Not I, my heart is too heavy for dancing.
MERCUTIO: Romeo, you love to dance, steal Cupid’s wings and soar away.
ROMEO: I am too sore under love’s heavy burden.
MERCUTIO: Come, Romeo, put on this mask and no one will recognize us
BENVOLIO: Come let us knock and enter.
ROMEO: We mean well, but it is not wise to go to the Capulets.
MERCUTIO: Why, may one ask?
ROMEO: I dreamt a dream, a dream that said with this night’s reveals I’ll have an untimely death.
MERCUTIO: Dreams are as inconstant as the wind. Come, before it is too late to attend the festivities.
ROMEO: If you insist, on gentlemen.
BENVOLIO: Put on your masks and your dancing shoes.
NARRATOR 3: The young men find a side door to the party and after putting on their masks, slip in to join the Capulet’s festivities. (Narrators join the guests at the party as the curtains open.)
SCENE 4: Ballroom of the Capulet’s House
(As the curtains open the guests are talking and wandering around the ballroom.)
CAPULET: Welcome, gentlemen, ladies! I have seen the day when I wore a mask, and would whisper in a fair lady’s ear, but those days are long past. You are welcome, gentlemen. Come, musicians, play. Give room, everyone dance.
(All but Capulet and the servants dance. As they are dancing, Romeo and Juliet notice each other for the first time, and can’t take their eyes off each other. As the dance ends, the guests mingle.)
ROMEO: What lady’s that which doth enrich the hand of yonder knight?
SERVANT (Boy): I know not sir.
ROMEO: O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright! She is as rich as a jewel, her beauty too rich for use. Did my heart love ‘til now? No, for I ne’er saw true beauty ‘til this night.
TYBALT: (Coming from behind Romeo.) This, by his voice, should be a Montague. Now by the honor of my kin, to strike him dead I hold it not a sin.
CAPULET: Tybalt, why do you storm so?
TYBALT: Uncle, this is a Montague, our foe. (Pointing to Romeo.) A villain that is come to spoil our night.
CAPULET: Young Romeo, is it?
TYBALT: Tis he, that villain Romeo.
CAPULET: Be calm, gentle cousin. Let him alone. He bears himself like a gentleman. Verona brags of him to be a virtuous and well- governed youth. I would not for the wealth of all this town do him insult in my house. Therefore be patient, take no note of him. It is my will. Respect it, and put off these frowns.
TYBALT: I’ll not endure him.
CAPULET: He shall be endured I say he shall. Am I the master here or you? You’ll not endure him? You’ll make a mutiny among my guests?
TYBALT: Why, uncle, ‘tis a shame.
CAPULET: Be quiet, or for shame, I’ll make you quiet!
TYBALT: Uncle, I will withdraw, but this intrusion shall bring bitter fury.
NARRATOR 4: Romeo finally has a chance to dance with the beautiful Juliet. He takes her hand and without a word leads her to the center of the floor, where they begin to dance.
NARRATOR 5: As they dance, both realize they have met their true love.
NARRAT0R 6: Juliet’s mother soon interrupts their dance, and calls her away to dance with Paris.
ROMEO: (To the nurse.) What is her mother?
NURSE: Sir, her mother is the lady of the house, and a good, wise, and virtuous lady. I nursed her daughter that you talked with. I tell you, he that gains her, shall have riches.
ROMEO: Is she a Capulet? My happiness is in the hands of mine enemies!
BENVOLIO: Romeo, away. It is best to leave now.
CAPULET: Nay, gentlemen, prepare not to be gone. You must? Why then, I thank you all. I thank you, honest gentlemen. Good night. Come on then, let’s to bed. I’ll to my rest.
(Everyone begins to exit, until only Juliet and her nurse are left on stage. Romeo exits towards the audience.)
JULIET: Come hither, Nurse. What is yon gentleman?
NURSE: I know not.
JULIET: Go ask his name. (Nurse goes.) If he be married, to my grave I’ll go unmarried.
NURSE: (Returning) His name is Romeo, and a Montague, the only son of your great enemy.
JULIET: (Aside) My only love sprung from my only hate! O monstrous, that I must love a loathed enemy.
NURSE: What is this you are saying?
JULIET: Just a rhyme I learnt when dancing.
NURSE: Come, let’s away.
SCENE 5: Juliet’s Balcony and the Capulet’s Garden.
NARRATOR 4: Juliet retires to her room for the night, now that the guests have all departed.
NARRATOR 5: However, she can’t sleep because she keeps thinking about the handsome young Romeo. She is distressed that the one she loves should belong to the family of her family’s enemy. She soon wanders out onto her balcony.
NARRATOR 6: She doesn’t realize that Romeo and his friends have come back to her home and are below her in the garden.
MERCUTIO: Come, shall we go? It is too cold here for me.
BENVOLIO: Come now, Romeo, or we shall go without you. It is foolish to be here.
(Romeo waves them away. He turns toward Juliet’s bedroom balcony.)
ROMEO: He jests at scars that never felt a wound. But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon. It is my lady, O, it is my love. She speaks to the fairest stars in all the heaven. See how she leans her cheek upon her hand? O, that I were a glove upon that hand, that I might touch that cheek.
JULIET: Ay, me.
ROMEO: She speaks. O, speak again, bright angel.
JULET: O Romeo, Romeo, why art thou called 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.
ROMEO: (Aside) Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?
JULIET: ‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy. O, be some other name! What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Romeo, doff thy name, and for thy name, which is no part of thee, take all myself.
ROMEO: I take thee at thy word. Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptized. Henceforth, I never will be Romeo.
JULIET: What man stumblest on my musings?
ROMEO: I know not how to tell thee who I am, because it is an enemy to thee.
JULIET: Art thou not Romeo, and a Montague?
ROMEO: Neither, fair maid, if either thee dislike.
JULIET: How camest thou here? The orchard walls are high and hard to climb, and the place death, if any of my kinsmen find thee here.
ROMEO: With love’s light wings did I climb these walls, for stony limits cannot hold love out. Thy kinsmen are no stop to me.
JULIET: If they do see thee, they will murder thee.
ROMEO: Alack, there lies more peril in thine eye than twenty of their swords. Look but sweet, and I am proof against their hostility.
JULIET: I would not for the world they saw thee here.
ROMEO: I have night’s cloak to hide me from their eyes.
JULIET: Dost thou love me? If thou wilt say ‘Ay’, I will take thy word.
ROMEO: Lady, by yonder blessed moon I vow.
JULIET: O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon.
ROMEO: What shall I swear by?
JULIET: Do not swear at all, and I’ll believe thee.
ROMEO: By my heart’s true love.
JULIET: Good night, good night. A sweet repose and rest.
NURSE: (From within.) Juliet!
JULIET: I hear some noise within. Dear love, adieu. (Turning to her room) Anon, good Nurse. (Facing Romeo) Sweet Montague, be true. Stay but a little, I will come again. (Juliet exits behind balcony)
ROMEO: O blessed, blessed night! Is all this but a dream?
JULIET: (Reentering) These words, dear Romeo, and good night indeed. If thy love is honorable, and thy purpose marriage, send me word tomorrow where and when thou wilt perform the rite. And all my fortunes at thy foot I’ll lay, and follow thee, my Lord, throughout the world. A thousand times good night.
NURSE: (From within.) Juliet!
NARRATOR 1: As Juliet goes to answer her nurse’s call, Romeo waits patiently for her. When she returns they plan what will transpire the next day.
NARRATOR 2: It is agreed that Juliet will send a messenger to Romeo at nine o’clock the next morning, to find out what arrangements he has made for their wedding.
JULIET: Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say good night till it be morrow.
ROMEO: Sleep dwell upon thine eyes.
(They both exit.)
SCENE 6: A Street in Verona the Next Morning
(The curtains open to show a street scene with people walking about and Romeo meeting with the Friar off to one side.)
NARRATOR 3: Romeo has met with Friar Laurence earlier that morning. He tells the Friar that he has fallen in love with Juliet, the daughter of his hated enemy, Capulet. He asks him to marry them. The Friar agrees, for he feels that such a union will change the hatred between the two families to pure love.
MERCUTIO: Where the devil should Romeo be? Came he not home tonight?
BENVOLIO: Not to his father’s. I spoke to his man. Tybalt, the kinsman of old Capulet, has sent a letter to his father’s house.
MERCUTIO: A challenge, on my life.
BENVOLIO: Romeo will answer it.
MERCUTIO: Alas, poor Romeo, he is already dead. Is he man enough to fight Tybalt?
BENVOLIO: Why, what is Tybalt?
MERCUTIO: More than the Prince of Cats. He’s courageous. He keeps time, distance and proportion. A duelist of the very first kind.
BENVOLIO: Here comes Romeo!
MERCUTIO: Signor Romeo, bonjour. You gave us the slip last night.
ROMEO: Pardon, good Mercutio. My business was great, and in such a case courtesy is strained.
NARRATOR 1: While the young men are jesting with each other, Juliet’s nurse comes upon them.
NARRATOR 2: She has been sent by her mistress to find Romeo and deliver a message to him. She does so and soon is on her way back to young Juliet, who awaits her in the Capulet garden.
SCENE 7: The Capulet’s Garden Later That Day
(The curtains close and the scene in the garden takes place in front of them.)
JULIET: The clock struck nine when I did send Nurse. In half an hour she promised to return. Now the sun’s upon the highest hill. From nine till twelve is three long hours, yet she is not come. If she were young and in love she would be swift. (Nurse enters from the opposite side of the stage as Juliet. She walks slowly toward Juliet.) O, she comes! O honey Nurse, what news? Why look’st thou sad? Is the news sad? Tell me quickly.
NURSE: I am a-weary. Give me leave a while. Fie, how my bones ache. What a rough journey have I had?
JULIET: I would thou had my bones and I thy news. Come, I pray thee speak, good, good Nurse. Speak.
NURSE: What haste! Can you not wait a moment? Do you not see that I am out of breath?
JULIET: How art thou out of breath when thou hast breath to say to me that thou art out breath? Is thy news good or bad? Answer to that. Let me be satisfied. Is it good or bad?
NURSE: You know not how to choose a man. Romeo? No, not he, though his face be better than most men and his person is past compare. He is as gentle as a lamb. Have you dined at home?
JULIET: No, no, But all this did I know before. What says he of our marriage, what of that?
NURSE: How my head aches! What a head I have. It beats as if it would break into twenty pieces. My back! (Juliet rubs her back.) Ah, the other side - ah, my back, my back!
JULIET: Sweet, sweet Nurse, tell me, what says my love?
NURSE: Your love says like an honest gentlemen, a kind, courteous, and probably a virtuous - where is your mother?
JULIET: Where is my mother? Why, she is within. Where should she be? How oddly thou repliest! ‘Your love says like an honest gentleman “Where is your mother?”’
NURSE: You are too eager. Is this the poultice for my aching bones? Henceforward, do your messages yourself.
JULIET: Come, what says Romeo?
NURSE: Have you permission to go to confession today?
JULIET: I have.
NURSE: Then go to Friar Laurence’s cell. There stays Romeo to make you a wife. Go to him, I’ll to dinner.
JULIET: Honest Nurse, farewell.
(Juliet kisses the Nurse and they both exit.)
NARRATOR 3: As Juliet rushes to meet Romeo, he and the Friar are discussing the upcoming marriage.
(Romeo and Friar enter from center stage.)
FRIAR: So smiles the heavens upon this holy act. That after hours with sorrow chide us not.
ROMEO: Amen, amen! But what sorrow can there be?
FRIAR: This marriage is too swift, one should love moderately.
Here comes the lady. O, so light of foot. Come, come with me, and we will make short work; for by your leaves, you shall not stay till holy church make two in one.
NARRATOR 4: After the marriage has been performed, Romeo and Juliet depart. Each to their own homes, for their marriage must remain a secret.
(All exit through center curtains.)
SCENE 8: A Street in Verona.
NARRATOR 5: Mercutio and Benvolio are waiting for Romeo. It is a hot day, and Benvolio is concerned that tempers will also heat up if they are to meet a Capulet.
BENVOLIO: By my head, here comes a Capulet.
MERCUTIO: By my heel, I care not.
TYBALT: Gentlemen, good evening. A word with one of you?
MERCUTIO: Make it a word and a blow.
TYBALT: You shall find me apt enough to that, sir, if you will give me an occasion. Mercutio, thou art always with Romeo.
MERCUTIO: Dost thou ridicule me? My sword shall make you dance. Zounds!
BENVOLIO: We talk here in public. Either withdraw unto some private place or else depart. Here all eyes gaze on us.
MERCUTIO: Men’s eyes were made to look, let then gaze. I will not budge for no man’s pleasure.
NARRATOR 6: Romeo comes upon the arguing men. He is full of joy that he has met and married the most beautiful girl in the world.
TYBALT: (To Mercutio) Peace be with you, sir. Here comes my man. (He points to Romeo.)
MERCUTIO: I’ll be hanged, sir, if he wears your livery.
TYBALT: Romeo, thou are no better than this: thou art a villain.
ROMEO: Tybalt, the reason that I have to love thee doth excuse such a greeting. Villain am I not. Therefore, farewell.
TYBALT: Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries thou hast done me. Therefore turn and draw.
ROMEO: I protest. I never have injured thee, and love thee better than thou canst imagine. ‘Till thou shalt know the reason of my love, good Capulet, be satisfied.
NARRATOR 4: Of course, neither Tybalt nor Mercuitio and Benvolio know about the wedding that has just occurred, and think Romeo a coward for turning away from Tybalt’s insults.
MERCUTIO: O calm, dishonorable, vile submission! Tybalt, you rat catcher, come. (He draws his sword.)
TYBALT: What would thou have with me?
MERCUTIO: Good King of Cats, nothing but one of your nine lives. Will you draw your sword?
TYBALT: (Drawing his sword.) I am for you!
ROMEO: Gentle Mercutio, put thy rapier up.
MERCUTIO: Come, sir, let us see what you can do. (They fight.)
ROMEO: Hold, Tybalt, good Mercutio. (Romeo tries to stop the fight, but gets in Mercutio’s way. Tybalt stabs Mercutio then runs off stage.)
MERCUTIO: I am hurt. A plague on both your houses.
BENVOLIO: What, art thou hurt?
MERCUTIO: Ay, a scratch, a scratch; yet ‘tis enough. Go, fetch a surgeon!
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 tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man. A plague on both your houses! Why the devil came you between us? I was hurt under your arm.
ROMEO: I thought all for the best.
MERCUTIO: Help me into some house, Benvolio, or I shall faint. A plague on both your houses. They have made worms’ meat of me. (Benvolio helps Mercutio off stage.)
ROMEO: My very friend, hurt in my behalf. My reputation is stained. O sweet Juliet, thy beauty hath made me soft.
BENVOLIO: O Romeo, Romeo, brave Mercutio is dead!
ROMEO: This black day but begins the woe of others.
BENVOLIO: Here comes the furious Tybalt back again.
NARRATOR 5: Romeo is furious that Mercutio has been slain and that Tybalt will return as if in triumph. He draws his sword, determined that either he, Romeo, or Tybalt shall join Mercutio in death. Mercutio of course wishes Romeo the one to die. (Romeo and Tybalt fight. Romeo kills Tybalt. He runs off at Benvolio’s encouragement.)
(Enter the Prince, Lord and Lady Capulet, and Lord and Lady Montague.)
PRINCE: Where are the vile beginners of this fray?
BENVOLIO: O noble Prince, I can uncover all. There lies the man, slain by young Romeo, that slew thy kinsman, brave Mercutio.
LADY CAPULET: Tybalt, my cousin, My brother’s child! O, thy blood is spilled. Prince, as thou art true, for blood of ours, shed blood of Montague.
PRINCE: Benvolio, who began this fray?
NARRATOR 6: And so Benvolio tells the prince the story. He begins with Tybalt’s taunts, how Romeo refused to fight, then how Mercutio began fighting and was slain. He told how Tybalt fled, then came back and was soon fighting with Romeo, and then as Tybalt fell, Romeo fled.
BENVOLIO: This is the truth, or let Benvolio die!
LADY CAPULET: He is a kinsman to the Montague. Affection makes him false, he speaks not true. I beg for justice, Prince. Romeo slew Tybalt; Romeo must not live.
PRINCE: Romeo slew him, (Pointing to Tybalt’s body) he slew Mercutio. Who now the price of his dear blood doth owe?
BENVOLIO: Not Romeo, Prince. He was Mercutio’s friend.
LADY MONTAGUE: Not Romeo. By the sword he had to honor his friend’s death.
PRINCE: And for that offense, immediately we do exile him hence. I will be deaf to pleading and excuses. Let Romeo go in haste, else, when he is found, that hour is his last. Bear away this body.
(All but Lord and Lady Montague leave.)
LADY MONTAGUE: My son, my son!
MONTAGUE: The good prince has shown mercy by pardoning those that kill.
SCENE 9: The Capulet’s Home and Garden, Early Next Morning
NARRATOR 4: When Juliet first hears about the tragedy, she is torn between grief for Tybalt and horror that it was her husband who has killed him. But when she hears the full story, her love for Romeo overcomes all her doubts.
NARRATOR 5: Romeo knows he must obey the Prince, but he also knows that he can never go on living without Juliet. He sends word to her, that he will meet with her one last time before he must leave the city of Verona. He goes to her and finds her in the garden waiting for him.
JULIET: Wilt thou be gone?
ROMEO: I must be gone and live, or stay and die.
JULIET: O, now be gone! More light and light it grows.
ROMEO: More light and light, more dark and dark our woes.
(As nurse enters, Romeo steps behind a tree.)
NURSE: (Entering) Madam.
NURSE: Your lady mother is coming to your chamber. The day is broke, be wary, look about.
(Nurse exits and Romeo steps out from behind tree.)
JULIET: Then, let day in, and life out.
ROMEO: Farewell, farewell! (He begins to leave.)
JULIET: O, shall we ever meet again?
ROMEO: I doubt it not. Adieu, adieu.
JULIET: O fortune, fortune, all men call thee fickle. I hope thou wilt not keep him long, but send him back
(The curtains open, Juliet enters her bedroom, and greets her mother.)
LADY CAPULET: Daughter, are you up?
NARRATOR 6: Juliet’s mother comes to tell her that she has joyous news. She says that the next Thursday morning the gallant young Paris is going to make Juliet his bride. Juliet burst into tears. Soon her father arrives, and neither parent can understand her unhappiness. They assume she must be mourning the death of her cousin, Tybalt.
CAPULET: Do still thy eyes, ebb and flow in tears? Wife have you delivered to her our decree?
LADY CAPULET: Ay, sir, but she will have none of it.
CAPULET: She will have none of it? Doth she not give us thanks? Unworthy as she is, that we have found her such a worthy gentlemen.
JULIET: Good father, I beseech you on my knees, hear me with patience.
CAPULET: Hang thee, disobedient wretch! I tell thee this; get thee to church on Thursday, or never look me in the face. Speak not, reply not, do not answer me.
NURSE: God in heaven bless her! You are to blame, my lord, to rage at her so.
CAPULET: Hold your tongue, go!
NURSE: I speak no treason. May not one speak?
CAPULET: Peace, you mumbling fool. Keep your gossip, we need it not.
LADY CAPULET: (To her husband) Calm thyself, thou art upset.
CAPULET: Day, night, work, play; my thoughts have been to have her matched to a gentleman of noble parentage. Then to have her answer, ‘I’ll not wed, I cannot love; I am too young.” I pray I’ll not pardon thee. If you do not wed Paris, you shall not house with me. I do not jest. You may hang, beg, starve, die in the streets, and I’ll never acknowledge thee! Believe this!
(Lord Capulet exits.)
JULIET: Is there no pity that sees my grief? O sweet mother, cast me not away. Delay this marriage for a month, a week.
LADY CAPULET: Talk not to me, for I’ll not speak a word. Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee.
(Lady Capulet exits.)
NARRATOR 1: Juliet is in agony over the situation that has been created. She seeks comfort from her Nurse, who suggests that she might as well marry Paris as Romeo will never be able to return to Verona. Juliet decides to visit Friar Laurence and tells her Nurse it is to pray for forgiveness. In reality she hopes he’ll have a solution to her problem, for if he doesn’t she has decided to kill herself.
(The curtain closes.)
SCENE 10: FRIAR Laurence’s Cell
(Juliet enters and finds the Friar praying.)
NARRATOR 2: Juliet asks Friar Laurence how she might prevent the forthcoming marriage to Paris. She pleads with him and threatens to kill herself with a knife if he cannot help her.
FRIAR: O Juliet, I know thy grief. It strains my wits. Hold daughter, I do spy a kind of hope. If thou darest, I’ll give a remedy.
JULIET: O, bid me do anything, rather than marry Paris. And I will do it without fear or doubt.
FRIAR: Go home, be merry, give consent to marry Paris. Tomorrow night when you are alone, drink of this vial. This distilling liquor shall run a cold and drowsiness through all thy veins. No warmth, no breath shall testify thou livest. The rose in thy lips and cheeks shall fade. You shall be stiff and stark and cold, appearing like death. This shall continue for two and forty hours. Then you shall awake as from a pleasant sleep. When Paris comes to rouse thee from thy bed, thou art dead. Thou shalt be born to the ancient vault where all Capulets lie. I shall let Romeo know what is happening through my letters. He shall come and bear thee away to Mantua.
JULIET: Give me, give me! (Takes potion from Friar.)
FRIAR: Get you gone, be strong.
JULIET: Farewell, dear father.
(Juliet and Friar exit in different directions.)
SCENE 11: The Capulet’s Home
(Enter Juliet, Lord and Lady Capulet, and Nurse.)
NARRATOR 3: Juliet returns to her home and begins preparations for her wedding. Her parents are pleased that she seems to have accepted her fate, and is willing to marry Paris.
LADY CAPULET: Good night. Get thee to bed, and rest, for thou hast need.
(Everyone exits except Juliet.)
JULIET: Farewell. Only God knows when we shall meet again. I have a faint cold fear through my veins that almost freezes out the heat of life. I’ll call them back again to comfort me. Nurse! What could she do? My dismal scene I needs must act alone. Come vial. What if this mixture does not work at all? No, no. What if it be a poison which the friar hath ministered lest he perform to me a second marriage? Methinks not, for he is still a holy man. Romeo, Romeo, Romeo! I drink to thee. (She drinks and falls upon the bed.)
NARRATOR 4: It is soon morning and Paris is about to arrive. Lady Capulet sends Nurse to awaken Juliet and prepare her for her bridegroom.
LADY CAPULET: Nurse, go waken Juliet. Make haste. The bridegroom is come already. Make haste I say!
NURSE: (Going to Juliet’s bed.) Mistress, what mistress! Juliet! Why lamb, why lady. What, not a word? How sound she sleeps! I must wake her. Madam, madam! What, dressed and down to sleep again? I must wake you. Lady, Lady, Lady! Alas, alas! Help, Help! My lady’s dead! My lord, my lady!
(Enter Lady Capulet.)
LADY CAPULET: What noise is here?
NURSE: O lamentable day!
LADY CAPULET: What is the matter?
NURSE: Look, look. O heavy day!
LADY CAPULET: O, me, O me, my child, my only life! Revive, look up, or I will die with thee. Help, Help, call help!
(Enter Lord Capulet.)
CAPULET: For shame, bring Juliet forth. Her bridegroom is come.
NURSE : She is dead, deceased. She’s dead, alack the day!
LADY CAPULET: Alack the day, she’s dead, she’s dead!
CAPULET: Let me see her! She’s cold, her blood is settled, and her joints are stiff. Death lies on her like an untimely frost upon the sweetest flower of the field
NURSE: O lamentable day!
LADY CAPULET: O woeful time!
CAPULET: Death that hath taken her, hath taken my tongue, and will not let me speak.
(Enter Friar Laurence and Paris.)
FRIAR: Is the bride ready to go to church?
CAPULET: Ready to go, but never to return. O son, the night before thy wedding, death hath been to thy wife.
PARIS: O cruel, cruel fate. O love, O life; not life, but love in death!
LADY CAPULET: Accursed, unhappy, wretched, hateful day!
NURSE: O woeful day! Most lamentable day! Never was seen so black a day as this! O woeful day!
CAPULET: All things that we ordained festival turn from their office to black funeral, our wedding cheer to a sad burial feast.
FRIAR: Sir, go, and madam, go with him, and go Paris. Everyone prepare to follow this fair corpse unto her grave.
(Curtains close. Nurse remains in front of the curtain, weeping.)
NARRATOR 5: Juliet’s body is prepared for burial. While the nurse is weeping over the death of her young mistress, she suddenly remembers Romeo and realizes she must get a message to him. Swiftly she writes a note. ‘Come quick--your Juliet is dead and is to be buried tomorrow.’
(Nurse runs off stage.)
NARRATOR 6: The friar has also written to Romeo telling him of the plan that would prevent Juliet from marrying Paris.
NARRATOR 4: The friar hears of the nurse’s message, but feels sure his message has already reached Romeo, and that Romeo is on his way back. The friar is not worried.
NARRATOR 5: But things do not always work out as planned. The friar’s messenger had problems and his message never reached Romeo.
NARRATOR 6: So it is only the nurse’s message that Romeo receives. When Romeo learns that Juliet is dead, he is stunned. His whole world has fallen to pieces. If Juliet is dead, he will die, too. So he buys some deadly poison and sets out for Verona as fast as he can.
NARRATOR 4: Upon arriving at the churchyard, Romeo finds Paris kneeling by the side of Juliet.
PARIS: Sweet flower, with flowers thy bridal bed I strew. O woe! Thy canopy is dust and stones. Nightly shall I strew thy grave and weep.
(Romeo enters, and hearing him, Paris turns toward Romeo.)
This is that banished, haughty Montague that murdered my love’s cousin with which from grief, it is supposed, the fair creature died. To come here is some villainous shame. Thou must die!
NARRATOR 5: And so the two men who both loved Juliet begin fighting. But Romeo is too good a swordsman, and soon slays Paris.
PARIS: O, I am slain! (Falls) If thou be merciful, open the tomb; lay me with Juliet.
NARRATOR 6: Romeo feels that this is the very least he can do. As he turns he sees his beloved’s body.
ROMEO: O my love, my wife! Death hath taken thy breath, yet it had no power upon thy beauty. Crimson is in thy lips and cheeks. I will stay with thee, and never depart again. Here, here will I remain.Come, bitter poison. Here’s to my love. (He drinks the poison.) O true apothecary, thy drugs are quick! With a kiss I die. (Romeo dies and Juliet awakens.)
JULIET: What’s here? A cup closed in my true love’s hand? Poison hath been his timeless end. He has drunk all, and left no friendly drop to help me after. Then I’ll be brief. O happy dagger, this is thy sheath! There rust, and let me die. (She stabs herself and dies.)
NARRATOR 4: As morning comes someone finds the bodies and rushes to tell the Prince what has happened. Prince Escalus goes to the tomb, and then summons both the Capulets and the Montagues.
LADY MONTAGUE: What misadventure is so early up, that calls from our morning rest?
PRINCE: Search, seek and know how this foul murder comes.
MONTAGUE: O heavens, o wife, look how our son lies with no breath.
LADY CAPULET: Look how our daughter bleeds.
LADY MONTAGUE: O me! This sight of death is a bell that warns my old age to a sepulcher.
NARRATOR 5: The friar is brought forth and tells the mourners the whole story.
FRIAR: I am the greatest, able to do least, yet most suspected, as the time and place doth make against me of this direful murder. Here I stand both to impeach and purge myself condemned and myself excused.
PRINCE: Capulet! Montague! See what a scourge is laid upon your hate. All are punished!
CAPULET: O brother Montague, give me thy hand, for no more can I demand.
MONTAGUE: But I can give thee more, for I will raise her statue in pure gold.That while Verona by that name is known, there shall be no figure valued as that of true and faithful Juliet.
CAPULET: As shall Romeo by his lady lie; so shall our enmity!
NARRATOR 6: A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life, and doth with death bury their parent’s strife.
NARRATOR 4: Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things. Some shall be pardoned, and some punished.
NARRATOR 5: For never was a story of more woe…
NARRATOR 6: Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.