Romeo and Juliet by W. Shakespeare

A Supplemental Guide

How to Read Shakespearean English

-Read the play aloud to yourself. It was meant to be ‘performed.’

-Read more slowly than you normally would. You may miss something important otherwise.

-Get a dictionary and define any unknown words.

-Underline and interpret any difficult metaphors.

House of Montague



Lady Montague

Benvolio (Montague's Nephew)

Abram (Montague's servingman)

Balthasar (Romeo's servingman)

House of Capulet:

Lady Capulet
Tybalt (Lady Capulet's Nephew)
Tybalt's Page
Capulet's Cousin
Juliet's Nurse
Peter (Capulet servingman)
Sampson (Capulet servingman)
Gregory (Capulet servingman)
Anthony (Capulet servingman)
Potpan (Capulet servingman)

Principality of Verona

Escalus (Prince of Verona)
Mercutio (His kinsman)
County Paris (His kinsman)
Paris' Page

Order of Franciscan Friars

Friar Laurence
Friar John

Act I: A Brief Summary

Scene I: A Brawl in the Verona Public Square
-Gregory and Sampson fight Abram and Balthasar. The Prince ends the fight, promising to execute the next offender.
-Romeo is depressed over unrequited love with Rosaline
Scene II: Marriage and Parties
-Paris asks Capulet for Juliet's hand in marriage
-Capulet plans a party; sends Peter to invite guests
-Peter accidentally invites Romeo
Scene III: Discussion
-Lady Capulet and Juliet discuss Paris
-Juliet is uncommitted to Paris
Scene IV: Party Time
-Romeo, Mercution, and Benvolio sneak into Capulet's Party
-Mercutio encourages Romeo to enter the party and enjoy himself
Scene V: Love at First Sight
-Romeo sees Juliet, and they talk.
-Tybalt is displeased to see Romeo at the Party

Act II: A Brief Summary

Scene I: The Wall
-Romeo leaves his friends and trespasses onto Capulet property to find Juliet
-Mercutio and Benvolio are perplexed
Scene II: The Balcony
-Romeo and Juliet speak to each other under cover of darkness
-They plan to get married
Scene III: Friar Laurence's Cell
-Romeo sees Friar Laurence for help
-Friar Laurence agrees to marry Romeo and Juliet
Scene IV: Doubters
-Benvolio and Mercutio question Romeo's mind
-Juliet's Nurse meets Romeo to arrange the wedding
Scene V: The Abetting Nurse
-Juliet's Nurse agrees to help Juliet
-She returns word that Romeo will marry her
Scene VI: The Wedding
-Romeo and Juliet are married in Friar Laurence's cell

Act III: A Brief Summary

Scene I: Murders
-Mercutio is killed by Tybalt when Tybalt was trying to stab Romeo
-Romeo kills Tybalt in a fit of rage
-Romeo then flees Verona for Mantua
Scene II: Breaking the News
-Juliet is told by her Nurse that Tybalt is dead and Romeo is fled
-In her eyes, she's lost two men in her life
Scene III: The Cell
-Romeo is hiding at Friar Laurence's cell
-He'd rather be dead
-Friar Laurence smuggles him to Mantua
Scene IV: Another wedding
-Juliet's marriage to Paris is advanced forward a few days
Scene V: Juliet's Bedroom
-Romeo and Juliet consummate their marriage in Verona
-He flees back to Mantua
-Juliet is told by Lady Capulet that her marriage to Paris has been moved up
-Juliet refuses to marry Paris
-Capulet is displeased

Act IV: A Brief Summary

Scene I: Juliet and Friar Laurence
-Friar Laurence plots Juliet's fake death to smuggle her out of Verona to be with Romeo in Mantua
Scene II: Feigning Acceptance
-Juliet agrees to marry Paris
-Capulet and Lady Capulet are pleased
Scene III: "I drink to thee!"
-Juliet drinks Friar Laurence's potion
-She faints
Scene IV: Staircase
-Lady Capulet and Juliet's Nurse prepare for Juliet's wedding to Paris, organizing decorations an clothes
Scene V: Discovery
-Lady Capulet and Juliet's Nurse find Juliet dead in her bedroom
-The wedding is now a funeral

Act V: A Brief Summary

Scene I: Mantua
-Romeo has visions of his own death
-Balthasar tells him Juliet is dead
-He leaves to buy poison
Scene II: The Friars
-Friar Laurence's message to Romeo (Juliet is alive.) has been delayed
-Friar John and Friar Laurence go to the Verona crypt to free Juliet
Scene III: The Cemetery
-Paris and his page lay flowers for Juliet
-Romeo arrives and kills him
-After seeing Juliet's body, he takes the poison.
-Juliet wakes up to Romeo's body on top of her, then she stabs herself
-The Capulets and the Montagues arrive at the cemetery to mourn for their children


Shakespeare, W. (2002). Romeo and Juliet. In S. Orgel & A. R. Braunmuller (Eds.), The Complete Pelican Shakespeare (pp. 1257-1294). New York, NY: Pelican Books.

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