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When Romeo hears of Juliet's death from Balthasar, he reacts impulsively to the news, shouting, "I defy you, stars!" (V.i). He means to counteract fate by taking his own life. Romeo first asks Balthasar if the Friar has sent a letter and then he begs Balthasar to acquire some fast horses. He remembers a poor apothecary in Mantua and buys poison from him, even though it is against the law in town to sell poison. Romeo tempts the poor apothecary with gold to convince him to sell the poison. Romeo intends to travel to Juliet's tomb and die by her side, so they can be together in death.
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