In Romeo and Juliet, while the boys are in the street talking about going to the party, Romeo has a premonition. What does he think will happen?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Before Romeo, Benvolio, and Mercutio attend Lord Capulet 's ball, they discuss how best to explain their presence, and Benvolio suggests that they try their best to maintain a low profile. When Benvolio mentions that they will simply dance and leave, Romeo responds by saying that he refuses...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Before Romeo, Benvolio, and Mercutio attend Lord Capulet's ball, they discuss how best to explain their presence, and Benvolio suggests that they try their best to maintain a low profile. When Benvolio mentions that they will simply dance and leave, Romeo responds by saying that he refuses to dance and may as well hold the torch. Romeo is still lovesick and has no desire to attend the ball or entertain the thought of being with another woman other than Rosaline. Mercutio proceeds to make sexual jokes at Romeo's expense before Romeo brings up a premonition he received in a recent dream. Romeo goes on to say that he feels they should not attend Lord Capulet's ball before Mercutio interrupts him by giving his famous speech about Queen Mab. Mercutio then rambles on about a tiny fairy queen before Romeo stops him. Once Mercutio finishes his entertaining speech, Romeo elaborates on his premonition by saying,

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 closed in my breast,
By some vile forfeit of untimely death.
(Shakespeare, 1.4.104–109)

Essentially, Romeo is saying that he feels as if something bad will begin tonight if they attend the ball, which will ultimately lead to his untimely death. Despite his premonition, Romeo declares that his life is in the hands of destiny and leads his friends to the Capulet estate. Romeo's premonition foreshadows the unfortunate events that will transpire later in the play. Romeo's presence at the Capulet ball leads to his secret marriage with Juliet and incites Tybalt's rage, which has significant consequences and indirectly leads to Romeo’s death.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team