How does the quarrel begin in the opening scene of the drama Romeo and Juliet?  

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liteachr eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the opening scene of the play, we meet two servants from the house of Capulet, named Sampson and Gregory. They are standing in the public market place of the town discussing, among other things, the long-standing feud between their master, Lord Capulet and his arch enemy, Lord Montague:

Gregory: "The quarrel is between our masters, and us their men."

Soon, they see two servants, Abram and Balthasar, from the house of Montague and devise a plan to start a quarrel with them. Sampson bites his thumb at Abram and this provokes a heated exchange of words between the two servants. As the argument continues to escalate they each begin to draw their swords and the fight has begun. The servants are soon joined by other members of each house, who take up their swords against each other as well. Soon, citizens enter the scene and join the fray with clubs in their hands and bedlam ensues. Old Lord Capulet and Lord Montague are drawn out of their houses by the noise and they also begin to challenge one another. 

Capulet: "My sword, I say! Old Montague is come
And flourishes his blade in spite of me."

Montague: "Thou villain Capulet! - Hold me not, let me go."

Finally, the arrival on the scene of Prince Escalus with his men puts a stop to the fight.