Romeo and Juliet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet book cover
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What are the locations in Romeo and Juliet? How are they described?  

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The setting of Romeo and Juliet is representative, meaning that the stage is representative of an actual place that the audience can visit. Consequently, it is important to understand these places.

Overall, the play takes place in the cities of Verona and Mantua. Both of these cities are in Italy. Most of the scenes take place in Verona, with the exception of the first scene of Act V, which is in Mantua since Romeo has been banished. 

Erin E. Murphy wrote a good description of these places for Towson University:

The vision of the world that is suggested by the setting is social, in spite of the political connotations that arise when the lovers are told that they are to hate each other because of their names. The action neither befell a war between states, nor is it an abstraction. Much of the action of the play is centered on the civil disorder that occurs between the Capulet and Montague families.

In some of Shakespeare's plays, the setting is crucial. The setting is less important in Romeo and Julietalthough it is helpful as a framing device of the plot. One could suggest that Shakespeare set it in Italy to avoid creating specific suggestions of feuds in England. Great Britain has often been torn apart by feuds between areas. Were the play to be set in England, there could have been inferences that Shakespeare was creating a play about real families or countries that would have been known by the play's audiences. By setting it in Italy, Shakespeare allows the story to be focused on Romeo and Juliet. 

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