Where and when is Romeo and Juliet set?

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Romeo and Juliet takes place in the northern Italian cities of Verona and Mantua. There is some disagreement about the time the play is set. Some experts believe that we cannot firmly pin down exactly when the play takes place, though conventionally, it is set in Renaissance Italy (which includes the 14th and 15th centuries). However, there is nothing in the play that explicitly dates it to this time. The Nurse in the play mentions that an earthquake occurred eleven years before when she says, "'Tis since the earthquake now eleven years" (Act I, scene 3, line 25). Some experts believe this is a reference to the Dover earthquake of 1580, which would place the action of the play in 1591. However, the exact date when the action of the play unfolds is still a matter of debate among Shakespearean scholars.


Thomas, Sidney. "The Earthquake in Romeo and Juliet." Modern Language Notes Vol. 64, No. 6 (Jun., 1949), pp. 417-419. Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press. DOI: 10.2307/2908604. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2908604

bigdreams1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Romeo and Juliet takes place in the cities of Verona (where the families of the Montegues and Capultes live) and Mantua (where the sword fight takes place), Italy over the course of four days.

It is set in the "olden days" which generally is accepted as during the Renassaince era of the 14th or 15th centuries. However, since the setting is purposely vague, it is a classic tale of starcrossed lovers that has been redone in many eras including the 50's in West Side Story, and even the modern tale of High School Musical.

Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This question has already been asked and answered here on eNotes.  Here are two links for you:  http://www.enotes.com/romeo-and-juliet/q-and-a/what-year-does-romeo-juliet-take-place-75863  and http://www.enotes.com/romeo-and-juliet/q-and-a/where-does-story-romeo-juliet-take-place-hows-does-187487

wanderista | Student
In the beautiful city of Verona, Italy. Parts of the play were also set in Mantua, which is also in Italy! The play was set in Shakespeare's era; during the Renaissance (14th and 15th centuries). This time period is considered the 'olden, classical era' where the greatest art, literature and philosophical ideas were produced like Michelangelo and even the great bard (Shakespeare)! Wowza ;)