Was there a law in MANTUA which controlled the sale of certain drugs? Please quote the line from the play for proof.  a law,controlled the sale of certain drugs

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amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The apothecary informs Romeo that it is illegal to sell the sort of poison that Romeo wants to buy, and the person who sells it could actually be put to death by law.  Romeo's quick thinking and smooth talking convinces the druggist to sell the poison to him anyway since he is in need of money.

This all occurs in Act V, scene 1, lines 60-80.

APOTH: Such mortal drugs I have; but Mantua's law
Is death to any he that utters them.(70) 
ROM: Art thou so bare and full of wretchedness
And fearest to die? Famine is in thy cheeks,
Need and oppression starveth in thine eyes,
Contempt and beggary hangs upon thy back:
The world is not thy friend, nor the world's law;(75)
The world affords no law to make thee rich;
Then be not poor, but break it and take this.
APOTH: My poverty but not my will consents.

cldbentley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yes, there was a law in Mantua that controlled the sale of drugs that might be used to end human life.  In Act V, Scene I, the apothecary who has been approached by Romeo refers to the law in line 66 and 67, "Such mortal drugs I have; but Mantua's law is death to any he that utters them."  In other words, a conviction of selling these deadly poisons would result in the perpetrator being put to death.  However, the apothecary's awareness and fear of the consequences of selling his poison does not prevent him from making the transaction; Romeo manages to convince the apothecary to sell him the potion based on the man's desperate financial need.