In Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, why did Romeo drink the poison that killed him and why did Juliet stab herself? What events lead up to this scene?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, the two young lovers belong to feuding families, the Montagues and the Capulets. Romeo and Juliet are infatuated with each other and threaten to commit suicide (a mortal sin) if Friar Lawrence does not help them marry. Juliet's father is committed to having Juliet marry Paris. 

Friar Lawrence gives Juliet a potion to take before the wedding to Paris that makes her fall into a deep coma so that she appears to be dead. She is transported to an open tomb, where Romeo is supposed to meet her. Friar Lawrence's explication of the plot to Romeo goes astray and Romeo thinks Juliet is actually dead. In despair, Romeo, unwilling to live without Juliet, commits suicide by drinking poison. 

Juliet wakes up from her drug-induced sleep and sees Romeo's dead body. Unwilling to live without him, she commits suicide by stabbing herself. 

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