What is Romeo's premonition in act 1, scene 4 of Romeo and Juliet?

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Romeo has had a dream telling him that something will happen that night, which he assumes means at the Capulet masquerade party that he, Benvolio, and Mercutio are walking toward, torches in hand. Romeo fears that whatever happens will lead to untimely death. He has uneasy feelings of sadness...

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Romeo has had a dream telling him that something will happen that night, which he assumes means at the Capulet masquerade party that he, Benvolio, and Mercutio are walking toward, torches in hand. Romeo fears that whatever happens will lead to untimely death. He has uneasy feelings of sadness and foreboding. Mercutio, ever high-spirited, does everything he can to quash the premonitions of the moping Romeo, pooh-poohing the idea that dreams might foretell the future. He calls them:

vain fantasy ... thin of substance as the air / And more inconstant than the wind

It is ironic that Mercutio dismisses Romeo's foreboding, for the unspecified "untimely death" Romeo has dreamed of foreshadows Mercutio's demise as well as his own. Going to the party sets in motion a chain of events that has the same dire result for Mercutio as for Romeo.

Romeo's forebodings add a shade of darkness, casting a shadow over a light-hearted, excited scene and reinforcing the play's theme that fate plays a strong role in the events that unfold.

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In Act 1, Scene 4 of Romeo and Juliet, as Romeo prepares to head to the Capulet party, he shares that he has had a premonition or a disturbing dream the night before.  When they ready to leave, Benvolio remarks that they should leave soon, lest they miss the party altogether.  Romeo responses that he fears that they might get there too early, because he senses that something potentially bad might happen at the party.  As he states in lines 107-112:...

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 despisèd life closed in my breast
By some vile forfeit of untimely death.

In other words, his mind is telling him that something, some "consequence yet hanging in the stars" will occur at the party that will ultimately bring about his death.  In reality, his words are quite true.  Meeting Juliet at the party sets into motion the events that will cause him to take his own life several days later.

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