Online Guide to Romeo and Juliet

Setting

 The story of Romeo and Juliet takes place in Verona, Italy. When Romeo is banished however, he is moved to Mantua.

Background Information

There were two families namely, the Montagues and the Capulets, who were not at peace with one another. The two families have been quarrelling for a very long time, before the existence of the present generation. Members of the families grew up to know that both families were not cooperative and that neither were willing to forgive the other for the past. Yet, none of them felt the need to address the issue. Sometimes the Montagues and Capulets were even seen quarreling in the streets of the public, so even the townspeople became involved. There was even a time when Prince Escalus had to stop a fight by himself; of course, this attracted a heavy fine for the families. The two families were also warned that one more fight in the public could attract a death sentence. At that time, the protagonist of the play, Romeo, was already in love with Rosaline. At the same time, the Capulets introduced one of their daughters, Juliet, to a very rich man known as Paris, who they wanted to be Juliet's husband. Unfortunately, Juliet did not want to marry the man, Paris.

The Characters

Romeo- A member of the Montague family that soon became to love Juliet and eventually made advances to wed her. He was a young man who was normally driven by his emotions and played a tragic character in the play.
Juliet- A member of the Capulet family. She also eventually falls in love with Romeo and believed that love should be the driving force in any marriage. She was also driven by her emotions.
Lord Capulet- The father of Juliet. He was strict, harsh and inconsiderate. He was obstinate in having Paris as his son-in-law.

Lady Montague- The mother of Romeo. She was also strict and had no time for nonsense.
Price Escalus- The Prince of Verona. He was interested in ending the war between the families.

County Paris- A relation of the Prince who wanted Juliet to be his wife for he very much cared for her.
Friar Lawrence- The Priest in Verona that wedded Romeo and Juliet secretly. He though that their marriage would bring an end to the feud existing between the two families.
Friar John- He was in charge of delivering the letter to Romeo. Unfortunately, Romeo was unable to receive the letter.
Nurse- She took care of Juliet when she was a child. She loved Juliet very well.
Mercutio- Romeo's close friend.
Balthasar- He was Romeo's friend and servant.
Benvolio- Another one of Romeo's friends.

Samson- A servant of the Capulet family.

Tybalt - He is Lady Capulet's nephew. He is known as having a short temper.

Gregory- Another servant of the Capulet family.

Plot Summary

Romeo's relationship with Rosaline was not as good as it used to be. In trying to heal his heart, he went to a party where he found another love, Juliet. To him, it was love at first sight. Later in the relationship, he discovered that Juliet was a member of the Capulet family. Notwithstanding, they continued loving themselves and agreed to marry each other. They contacted the Priest, Friar Lawrence, who also gave them their support and agreed to wed them secretly. The Priest thought that doing this would help to solve the problem between the two families. On the contrary, the bitterness grew worse and a more deadly fight occurred between Romeo's friend, Mercutio, and Juliet's cousin, Tybalt. Tybalt killed Mercutio and Romeo also killed Tybalt to avenge his friend's death. Romeo's crime got him banished from the land.

While this was happening, Juliet's family was busy with preparations for her marriage to Paris. Since Juliet didn't want to get married to Paris, she asked the priest to make her a sleeping potion so that she would appear dead after drinking it. The priest also agreed to send for Romeo after the news of her death spread around so that the two of them would remain together in a place far away from home. Unfortunately, the whole plan was not conveyed to Romeo on time so when he heard about the "death" of Juliet, he went to her tomb, drank poison and died. When Juliet regained consciousness, she found Romeo dead beside her. Juliet could not bear the agony so she stabbed herself with Romeo's sword. In the end, the death of the two lovers made the families grieve and eventually reconcile.

Lessons to Learn

Infatuation- Both Romeo and Juliet could not have really been in love with each other after their first meeting. They rather had feelings though there was no genuine love between them.

Impulsiveness- Romeo was very hasty to falling in and out of love. Both Romeo and Juliet hurriedly got married without considering the negative sides.

Selfishness- This character is seen in the lives of everybody in the play except Benvelio. For instance, Juliet was selfish when she made the death plan for her interest, without making her parents aware. The Capulets were also to blame because they were not interested in knowing what Juliet felt about Paris. The two families were selfish in protecting their pride. Even the priest fled when he discovered what finally happened. Tybalt killed Mercutio for selfish reasons and Romeo did not even consider Juliet's feelings when he killed Tybalt.

Important Points

Quarrelling-The quarrel that existed between the Montagues and the Capulets was the major reason behind the deaths that occurred. Although they were not even fully involved in the trouble that had lasted for years, they did not deem it fit to come together for peace.

Stereotypes- Even members of the two families who did not know themselves were just unable to show forgiveness.

Dreams- Romeo was not very careful although there was a foretaste of the whole incident in one of his dreams.

Decisions- There were many challenging decisions in the play. One of them was Friar’s decision to wed Romeo and Juliet without letting their parents know about it. Juliet also found it difficult to make a decision on pleasing her parents to marry Paris or following her heart desire to marry Romeo. Finally, the family made the most important decision by forgiving themselves.

Sacrifices- Both Romeo and Juliet were ready to give up their family identity to be together as husband and wife.

Fate- Perhaps, it was fate that brought Romeo and Juliet together and also set them apart so that the two families would reunite.

Moral Benefits

It is better to love than lust- Romeo and Juliet didn't have time to study each other for an effective relationship. Instead, they rushed into having a relationship. Also, the two of them were not yet mature for the kind of relationship they wanted. Although they might have really loved themselves, they did not fully understand the qualities of love.

Names can be Insignificant- Although they were from two different families that were at war, this fact did not affect the love they had for each other. Their last names could not break the love that existed between them.

Take Advice- The deaths wouldn't have occurred if the families took the advice of the Friar who warned them to desist from carrying out the plan.
Avoid Revenge- Both families were guilty of seeking revenge for things they did not fully understand. The hunger for revenge also led to the death of Mercutio and Tybalt.

Avoid Taking Rash Actions- Romeo and Juliet took rash decisions to get married. They failed to realize that marriage should be properly planned.

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