How do we know Romeo is worried about attending the party at the end of Act I, Scene iv, in Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare?

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carol-davis eNotes educator| Certified Educator

SERVANT: Now I'll tell you without asking. My master is the 
great rich Capulet; and if you be not of the house of Montagues, 
I pray, come and crush a cup of wine. Rest 
you merry!

In Verona, two prominent families are feuding: the Capulets and the Montagues.  William Shakespeare does not explain the problem between the families. This, however, is the crux of the drama Romeo and Juliet. These warring families will lose their children in one of the great tragedies in literature.

The servant does not realize that he is speaking to the son of the house of Montague.  Otherwise, as he says, these young men would never have been invited.  Luckily for them, it is a masque ball, so they can go in somewhat disguised. 

When the young men head toward the party, Romeo is not anxious to go.  Sometime since seeing the servant, he has napped and had a dream.  He does not tell the dream because Mercutio goes on about nothing as he usually does.

Romeo leads the way to the party with a torch, and he is distracted about going into the party.  Benvolio states that he is afraid that the group is getting there too late.  Romeo interjects that he is afraid that is too early.

I fear, too early; for my mind misgives 
Some consequence, yet hanging in the stars, 
Shall bitterly begin his fearful date

With this night's revels and expire the term 
Of a despised life, clos'd in my breast, 
By some vile forfeit of untimely death. 
But He, that hath the steerage of my course, 
Direct my sail! On, lusty gentlemen!

From his dream, he feels that something is going to happen that is frightening.  Because of the party on this night, there will a death of an enemy.  it will be an unwanted and accidental death.  He places his fate in the hands of God to lead him in the right direction. Then, he tells his friends to lead the way on to the ball.

This is a foreshadowing of the death of Tybalt, who is a nephew of Lady Capulet and Juliet's cousin.  The problem will begin at the party when Tybalt sees that Romeo and his friends have come into the party for which they have not been invited. 

In addition, Romeo and Juliet will meet for the first time, kiss, and fall in love. This will be the downfall of these star-crossed lovers.

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Romeo and Juliet

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