What was the purpose of Romeo's dream in Act 5 scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet?

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coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the play "Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare, the author is preparing the Elizabethan audience for the gruesome events later on in the action. The beauty, warmth and softness of the youthful sweethearts will be juxtaposed with the grisly, dusty cobwebby bones and shrouds of the dead in their tombs in the mausoleum. The dream might be a 'red herring' to put audiences off the secnt - we hope and maybe expect that the situation in the tomb will be resolved - somehow, a mistake, a miracle or whatever-like the dream. All the more shock then, when we, like the parents,realize that the repentance of the feuders is too little too late - they will not rise again.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In my opinion, the only real purpose of this dream is to serve as foreshadowing for what is going to happen later on in the play.

In this dream, Romeo is dead.  But then Juliet comes and sees him.  She kisses him on the lips and he rises from the dead.

This is foreshadowing in sort of an ironic way because his dream will sort of come true.  Romeo will be dead in the tomb where he killed himself.  Juliet will kiss him.  But he will not come back to life.

So the dream is a bit of foreshadowing and dramatic irony.