Study Guide

Romeo and Juliet

by William Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet Characters

List of Characters

Friends and Relatives of the Montague Family:
Romeo—Son of Montague who falls in love with Juliet

Montague—Head of the family who is at war with the Capulets and father to Romeo

Lady Montague—Wife to Lord Montague and mother to Romeo

Mercutio—A kinsman to the prince and a friend to Romeo

Benvolio—A gentle and peace-loving young man who is nephew to Montague and a friend to Romeo

Balthasar—A loyal friend and servant to Romeo

Abram—A servant of the Montague family

Friends and Relatives of the Capulet Family:
Juliet—Daughter of Capulet who falls in love with Romeo

Tybalt—A fiery tempered young man who is the nephew of Lady Capulet and cousin to Juliet

Capulet—Head of the family who is at war with the Montagues and father to Juliet

Lady Capulet—Wife to Lord Capulet and mother to Juliet

Nurse—A witty nurse and friend to Juliet

Sampson—A servant of the Capulet family

Gregory—A servant of the Capulet family

Peter—A servant to Juliet’s nurse

Other Characters:
Chorus—Introduces the play, and sets scene in Acts I and II

Paris—Kinsman to the prince and a young nobleman who asks for Juliet’s hand in marriage

Escalus—The prince of Verona

Friar Laurence—A Franciscan friar who marries the lovers in hopes of making peace with the two warring families

Friar John—A Franciscan friar who was entrusted with an important letter to Romeo

Apothecary—A poor druggist in Mantua who sells poison to Romeo

Page—A servant to Paris

Romeo and Juliet Characters Discussed (Great Characters in Literature)

Romeo

Romeo (ROH-mee-oh), the only son of old Montague, a nobleman of Verona. A romantic youth, inclined to be in love with love, he gives up his idealized passion for Rosaline when Juliet rouses in him a lasting devotion. His star-crossed young life ends in suicide.

Juliet

Juliet (JEW-lee-eht), the only daughter of old Capulet. Little more than a child at the beginning of the play, she is quickly matured by love and grief into a young woman of profound grace and tragic dignity. Unable to find sympathy in her family and unable to trust her nurse, she risks death to avoid a forced marriage, which would be bigamous. Awakening in the tomb to find Romeo’s body, she too commits suicide.

Montague

Montague (MON-teh-gyew), Romeo’s father, head of the house of Montague. An enemy of the Capulets, he is a good and reasonable man and father. In the family feud, he seems more provoked than provoking. After the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, he becomes reconciled with the Capulets.

Lady Montague

Lady Montague, Romeo’s gentle mother. Tenderhearted and peace-loving, she breaks down under the fury of the clashing houses and the banishment of her son and dies of grief.

Capulet

Capulet (KAP-yew-leht), Juliet’s fiery father. Essentially good-hearted but furiously unreasonable when thwarted in the slightest thing, he destroys the happiness and the life of his dearly loved daughter. He joins his former enemy in grief and friendship after her death.

Lady Capulet

Lady Capulet, Juliet’s mother. Dominated by her husband, she fails to offer Juliet the understanding and affection the girl desperately needs.

The nurse

The nurse, Juliet’s good-hearted, bawdy-tongued mentor. She aids the young lovers in consummating their marriage but, lacking in moral principle, she urges Juliet to marry Paris after Romeo is banished. Hence, Juliet has no one to turn to in her great distress and need.

Friar Lawrence

Friar Lawrence, a kindly, timorous priest. He marries the young lovers and tries to help them in their fearful adversity, but he fails, thwarted by fate.

Benvolio

Benvolio (behn-VOH-lee-oh), old Montague’s nephew, the friend of Romeo and Mercutio. Less hotheaded than Mercutio, he tries to avoid quarrels even with the irreconcilable Tybalt. His account of the deaths of Mercutio and Tybalt saves Romeo from execution but not from banishment.

Mercutio

Mercutio (mur-KYEW-shee-oh), Romeo’s volatile and witty friend. Poetically fanciful and teasing, he can be a savage foe. His angry challenge to Tybalt after Romeo has behaved with humility leads to various deaths and the final catastrophe. He has a superb death scene.

Paris

Paris, a young nobleman in love with Juliet. The hasty marriage planned by the Capulets between Paris and Juliet forces her to fake death to avoid a bigamous union. The false death becomes real for her as well as for Paris and Romeo.

Escalus

Escalus (EHS-kuh-luhs), the duke of Verona, a kinsman of Mercutio and Paris. A just, merciful ruler, he tries to arrange a peace between the feuding families. He joins them at the tomb that holds their dead children and presides over their reconciliation.

Peter

Peter, Capulet’s stupid servant. Unable to read, he asks Romeo and Mercutio to help him with Capulet’s invitation list, thus bringing about the meeting between Romeo and Juliet.

Friar John

Friar John, a friend of Friar Lawrence. Caught in a home visited by the plague, he is delayed too long to deliver Friar Lawrence’s letter to Romeo informing him about Juliet’s counterfeit death. This is another of the fatal events that work against the young lovers.

An apothecary

An apothecary, a poverty-stricken old wretch. He illegally sells Romeo poison.

Balthasar

Balthasar (BAL-theh-zahr), Romeo’s servant. He brings Romeo news of Juliet’s supposed death and actual internment in the Capulet vault. He accompanies Romeo to the tomb and remains nearby, though ordered to leave the area by Romeo. His testimony, added to that of Friar Lawrence and Paris’ page, enables Duke Escalus and the others to reconstruct the events.

Samson

Samson and

Gregory

Gregory, servants of Capulet who begin the street brawl at the play’s opening.

Cousin to Capulet

Cousin to Capulet, who joins old Capulet in reminiscences at the dance.

Tybalt

Tybalt (TIHB-ahlt), a fiery member of the Capulet clan. He challenges Romeo at the Capulet feast, but the fight is prevented by old Capulet. Still bearing a grudge, he meets Romeo’s friend Mercutio in the street and kills him in a duel. Romeo then takes up the fight and kills Tybalt.

Romeo and Juliet Character Analysis

Benvolio (Character Analysis)

He is a nephew to Montague and a cousin and friend to Romeo. His name means well-wisher, which reflects to some degree Benvolio's role in the...

(The entire section is 316 words.)

Lord Capulet (Character Analysis)

A leading citizen of Verona and head of one of the two feuding families. His attitudes seem to display a mixture of qualities rather than...

(The entire section is 477 words.)

Prince Escalus (Character Analysis)

The ruler of Verona. Fourteenth-century Italy consisted of kingdoms, papal states, and local lordships. Verona under Prince Escalus was in...

(The entire section is 382 words.)

Juliet (Character Analysis)

Juliet is the daughter of Lord and Lady Capulet and one of the two title characters. When the play begins, we learn from the nurse's remarks...

(The entire section is 775 words.)

Lawrence (Character Analysis)

Also: Friar Lawrence and in some editions, Laurence

Friar Lawrence is a Franciscan monk. He lives in modest quarters suitable to...

(The entire section is 641 words.)

Mercutio (Character Analysis)

Mercutio is a kinsman to the prince and friend to Romeo. Mercutio is often interpreted as a comic foil to Romeo. (A foil is a character who...

(The entire section is 423 words.)

Nurse (Character Analysis)

The nurse is a servant in the Capulet household. The nurse is often interpreted as a comic foil to Juliet. (A foil is a character who through...

(The entire section is 585 words.)

Romeo (Character Analysis)

Romeo is the son to Lord and Lady Montague and one of the two title characters. Romeo's first love interest is not Juliet but a young woman...

(The entire section is 719 words.)

Tybalt (Character Analysis)

He is a nephew to Lord Capulet and a cousin to Juliet. He does not speak many lines, but he influences the entire course of the play to a...

(The entire section is 318 words.)

Other Characters (Descriptions)

Abram
He is a servant of the Montagues. Abram appears in the first scene of the play and quarrels with the Capulet servants,...

(The entire section is 2145 words.)