What warning does the prince give to anyone who breaks the peace again in Romeo and Juliet?

Expert Answers

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

Prince Escalus warns that the next one to disturb the peace of Verona with another civil brawl, will be sentenced to death.

If ever you disturb our streets again,
Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace. (1.1.86-87)

The feud between the Capulets and the Montagues involves longstanding differences and visceral hatred. Furthermore, it may even be at the point where some of the people in the families do not even know the origin of this feud. So, because this is one of many conflicts that have occurred--even the servants are involved now--the prince is extremely frustrated and angry that his citizens are causing such civil strife. Therefore, he threatens those who have been fighting with a sentence of death in the hope that such a verdict will effectively prevent more brawls.

Shakespeare presents this highly emotional opening scene as one presaging disaster. Indeed, it is not surprisingly that Prince Escalus closes the play alluding to the same feud.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial