How would you summarize "Romeo and Juliet"?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Prologue of "Romeo and Juliet" is actually a summary presented by the Chorus for the audience. In addition to what this prologue states, it may be added that the play "Romeo and Juliet" is in itself a poem, written in blank verse with two sonnets, using much light/dark imagery. This drama/poem has as a major theme the tragedy of impetuous youth who defy the unfortunate workings of fate as well as the wishes of their parents.  Taking place in only three days young Romeo, who typlifies the "excess" that Friar Laurence warns against, becomes enamored of Juliet and convinces her to marry him in spite of the enmity between their families.  The feud between families is reignited, Juliet's cousin is killed, and Romeo is banished from Verona.  In the meantime Juliet is commanded by her father to wed the prince.  To solve this dilemma, Friar Laurence provides Juliet with a vial that contains a potion which will simulate death in the girl.  Her devastated family bury her; Romeo's servant learns of this death and informs Romeo, who rushes to her grave before the priest can get word to him that his wife is not really dead.  Believing Juliet dead, ever the impulsive lover, Romeo kills himself.  Juliet awakens, finds Romeo dead, and in despair kills herself.  The parents of the two lovers are united in their grief and end their feud.