ROMEO & JULIET
The Prince of Verona
Old Capulet, head of the great Capulet family of Verona.
Lady Capulet, his wife.
Juliet, their daughter.
Paris, her suitor.
Tybalt, a member of the family.
Rosaline, a member of the family.
Old Montague, head of the great Montague family of Verona.
Lady Montague, his wife.
Romeo, their son.
Benvolio, his friend.
Mercutio, another friend. (Tim Abell)
Friar Lawrence, a priest.
Written by William Shakespeare
Two families of Verona, the Montagues and the Capulets are old enemies. So old is their enmity that their hatred pervades all parts of the family both near and far, from the head of the family to the most distant cousin. If members of the opposing families meet inevitably it leads to arguments and more than likely violence.
Against this background the Capulets decide to throw a great Ball with all the good and glorious of Verona invited apart from their oldest and nearest enemy. Romeo, son of Montague had a crush on Rosaline, a Capulet and wanted to see her. Egged on by his friend, Benvolio, Romeo is goaded into attending the Ball but in disguise. Benvolio persuaded Romeo by telling him that once he saw his wondrous Rosaline up against the other available Verona beauties he would realise what a dog she was. Romeo, being the simple soul that he was believed Rosaline would outshine all the other girls who were present and decides therefore to go to prove Benvolio wrong and Rosaline's beauty.
Benvolio, Romeo and their friend Mercutio go to the Ball masked. Rosaline is something of a stuck up coward and doesn't really pay Romeo much attention, ignoring his protestations of affection. At some point during the evening Romeo sees Juliet. He does not know who she is, but he is entranced. He is overheard expressing his feelings by Tybalt a relative of Juliet, who obviously knows who she is. Tybalt also recognises Romeo and immediately wants to remonstrate with this interloper but is restrained by Old Capulet. Tybalt obeys the old man but stays angry.
Romeo continues to watch Juliet and finally plucks up the courage to approach her. She leaves him and Romeo tries to discover who she is. He succeeds, she is Juliet, heir to old Capulet. Our hero, Romeo is enraptured despite the fact that she is "the enemy". Juliet does her own detective work and finds out who Romeo is, but she too is smitten.
By the end of the party Romeo decides he cannot leave. He hangs around the garden of the house and spots Juliet on her balcony. Not knowing he is there she expresses her love for Romeo and of course our hero overhears her. He lets her go on until finally he interrupts her and proposes marriage. Juliet is called inside by her nurse but she returns and tells Romeo that if his proposal is serious then she will send him a messenger tomorrow to set a time for their nuptials.
The two lovers had talked all night and when Romeo leaves Juliet it is dawn. Our hero is on cloud 9. He journeys to a monastery to visit Friar Lawrence. Telling the Friar of his tryst with Juliet, Romeo pleads with the Friar to marry them. The Friar agrees. He is an old friend of the family and believes that if the two young people marry it could heal rifts between the families. Juliet sent her messenger who was informed of the arrangements; the Friar's cell early the next day. The two meet as arranged and marry. Juliet returns home to wait for that night when Romeo will come to her as he had before in the garden.
Later that day, around noon Benvolio and Mercutio meet a group of Capulets including Tybalt, who is still angry. Romeo also happens upon the group. He is in such a good mood that he tries to reason with Tybalt but things do not go as Romeo wishes and they fight. Tybalt kills Mercutio. Romeo loses his temper with Tybalt and kills him. The fight has attracted a large crowd including the Capulets and Montagues and the Prince of Verona. The Prince banishes Romeo for his part in the crime.
Juliet receives the news of the murder and Romeo's banishment. She is angry with Romeo for the murder. Meanwhile our hero is hiding out at the Friar's cell. He is devastated, he thinks he will never see his beloved again, but a message arrives from Juliet. The Friar counsels Romeo to go to Juliet that night say goodbye to her and then go. He tells Romeo to let time go by and the news of his marriage come out. The Friar is convinced that the news will reconcile the two families and then the Prince will be forced to pardon him. Romeo is convinced. He goes to Juliet and they spend the night together. In the morning Romeo goes to Mantua.
The banishment is only a few days old when Old Capulet announces Juliet is to marry Paris. Obliviously Juliet doesn't want to marry this man and she pleads with her father not to make her. Old Capulet insists and sets a date. Juliet, devastated, goes to the Friar for help. The Friar tells her the night before the wedding she should drink a phial of liquid which will make it seem as though she were dead for 42 hours. After her apparent "death" she would be placed in the family vault. The plan is that the Friar would be there when she woke and he would take her to Mantua and to Romeo.
Juliet accepts the priest's advice and takes the liquid. All goes according to plan and she is assumed dead and placed in the vault. To reassure Romeo the Friar has sent a messenger to Mantua but bad news travels faster than good and Romeo receives news of Juliet's "death" before the Friar's messenger can get to him. He is distraught and irreconcilable, he buys poison determined to end his own life.
He goes to Juliet, to the vault and finds her body. At the same time Paris turns up to mourn his lost love. The two men argue and fight. Romeo kills Paris. Laying down besides Juliet he takes his own life.
After 42 hours pass the Friar goes to the family vault and discovers Paris and Romeo lying dead.. Juliet awakes. Hearing a noise the Friar becomes scared and runs off. Juliet finding Romeo dead looks to see if there is any poison left for her to take. There is none. She hears the same noise the Friar heard only louder now and searching round she finds a dagger. She stabs herself and dies.
Unknown to all when Paris attended Juliet he had taken with him a page. When Paris had confronted Romeo the page had run off and alerted the powers that be. It was a crowd who now approached warned that something was amiss. The Friar was apprehended trying to escape and as the two families, the crowd and the Prince gather in the tomb, the Friar explains all. In the last moments of the play the Prince rebukes the families saying their hate is too blame and that is punishment enough.