What happens in Act 3, Scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet?

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robertwilliam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Well, it's a scene that falls into four main sections.

First, we get Romeo and Juliet waking up together after they've consummated their marriage, and frightened, talking about whether Romeo has yet to leave or not. The more light it grows, the less chance there is that Romeo can escape from the Capulet household safely, so he has to make away in the darkness. It also marks the last time the lovers see each other alive:

O, think'st thou we shall ever meet again?

I doubt it not; and all these woes shall serve
For sweet discourses in our time to come.

Then there's an often-overlooked little section between Juliet and her mother, Lady Capulet, in which Shakespeare makes it clear that they are not on the same wavelength. Juliet says one thing, talking about Romeo, and rich in rather-obvious double meaning, and Lady Capulet replies as if she's said something else.

Lady Capulet then breaks the news to Juliet that she is to

Marry, my child, early next Thursday morn...
The gallant, young, and noble gentleman,
The County Paris, at Saint Peter's Church,
Shall happily make thee there a joyful bride.

Next Capulet enters, Juliet refuses to marry, and he loses his temper, telling her she either marries Paris or she's out on the streets. And then he and Lady Capulet leave.

The end of the scene shows Juliet left with the nurse, who counsels her "I think it best you married with the County." When the nurse leaves, Juliet reflects that she must deal with this alone.