What is the mood in the Prologue of Romeo and Juliet?
The prologue in Romeo and Juliet has been performed in dramatically different ways throughout history, but it cannot be denied that the prologue creates an ominous beginning that foreshadows the doom that will occur throughout the play. The mood is somber and grave, with the narrator proclaiming, "From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, / Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean" (Romeo and Juliet, I.I, 2-3). From the beginning, the audience and reader are aware the play will involve death, deception, and star-crossed lovers. Interestingly, the prologue foreshadows all of the events that will take place within Romeo and Juliet. While contemporary audiences are aware of the play's end, as it exists as common knowledge, even classical audiences would have been aware of the play's ending due to the prologue. This moody, foreboding beginning tells the audience that the plot is not what is important. Instead, the play's importance lies in the motivations, decisions, and flaws of its characters.
The mood in the Prologue of Romeo and Juliet is ominous. The third line of the Prologue refers to a "new mutiny" that has developed in Verona that will lead to "civil blood," meaning that citizens of the city will die. By the middle of the short Prologue, the audience is aware that the lovers portrayed in the play are "star-crossed," which means cursed by fate, and that they will commit suicide and thereby put to rest their parents' quarrel. The story of the lovers is referred to as "fearful," and their love is referred to as "death-marked." By the end of the Prologue, the audience knows the outlines of what will happen during the play, and they also know the tragic ending. Therefore, the mood of the Prologue is foreboding and dark. The Prologue suggests that there is nothing that Romeo and Juliet can do to escape their tragic fate.