Capulets’ orchard. Walled orchard overlooked by Juliet’s window. A place where domestic comfort meets wild nature, the orchard is the place where the play’s star-crossed lovers pledge their troth, and through which Romeo enters Juliet’s chamber to consummate their secret marriage. There, too, the higher and lower aspects of love are contrasted: Juliet, above, representing true romance; and the lane by the wall, below, where Mercutio taunts Romeo with lewd jests.
Friar Laurence’s cell
Friar Laurence’s cell. Sacred place where the lovers repair from the cruel world to find solace and intimate counsel from their sympathetic priest. There the lovers privately confide in the friar their determination to commit suicide. There too the crucial elements of the tragedy’s plot are devised: plans for the secret marriage, the sleeping potion Juliet takes to avoid marrying Paris, and the miscarried letter to bring Romeo back from banishment in Mantua.
Capulets’ tomb. Place where love and death conjoin in a double suicide on holy ground. Seeming to be dead, Juliet is placed in the tomb, there to awake and find that Romeo has dealt Paris a bloody death and poisoned himself, thinking she is dead. When his lips afford her none of the poison, she plunges his dagger into her bosom. Significantly, the play ends there, not with their deaths, but with the families and townspeople crowding into the holy place to end their feud and honor the dead lovers.
Form and Content
Romeo and Juliet is a five-act tragedy about the protagonists’ ill-fated love. By chance, Romeo, the son of Montague, learns of the annual Capulet party, and he allows his kinsman Benvolio to persuade him to attend, even though the Capulets are mortal enemies of the Montagues. Romeo hopes to see his disdainful love, Rosaline, while Benvolio hopes that Romeo will find another woman there.
At the party, Romeo indeed falls in love with another, Juliet, the only daughter of old Capulet. She also falls in love with him. After the ball, Romeo enters the Capulet garden, where he and Juliet converse in the famous balcony scene. She proposes to marry him, and, before they part, she tells him that in the morning she will send her nurse to learn his answer.
That morning, Romeo tells the nurse to instruct Juliet to meet him at Friar Lawrence’s monastery in the afternoon, and there they secretly marry. Before the lovers can consummate their marriage that night, however, Juliet’s cousin Tybalt meets Romeo and challenges him to a duel. Romeo, now related to Tybalt by marriage, refuses the challenge, but Romeo’s friend Mercutio accepts. As Romeo tries to separate the two combatants, Mercutio is slain. Romeo...
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