Romeo and Juliet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Did Romeo and Juliet sleep together?

Romeo and Juliet did sleep together after their secret marriage. This is made clear in act 3, scene 5, when they wake up in bed together at dawn. Juliet urges Romeo to leave before her relatives find him and kill him.

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The beginning of act 3, scene 5 indicates that Romeo and Juliet have slept together. We know the young couple had been secretly married the day before by Friar Laurence. We also know that they were filled with love and lust for one another as they met to wed.

It was important for Shakespeare to show that the couple has consummated the marriage because, in the sixteenth century, a marriage was not considered sealed, or complete, until the couple had had sex and become "one flesh." For example, Henry VIII had his marriage with Anne of Cleves annulled earlier in the century on the basis of not having slept with her. Shakespeare, therefore, wants us to understand that teenaged Romeo and Juliet are fully married at their deaths.

The scene shows the two in bed together with the sun rising. Juliet urges Romeo to leave her side because she hears the lark singing, which is the sound of morning dawning. She fears that if Romeo is found in her bedchamber by her relatives they will kill him. Romeo, who doesn't wish to leave her, wants to insist the song they hear is the sound of the nightingale, a night bird. But he nevertheless faces the reality that he must go.

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