The reason for this posthumous rotation is no doubt down to the fact that multitudes of people attempt to succinctly encapsulate in a few hundred words, the goings on of his most popular plays – on the internet no less; and oh, the beasts, referring to the classic in crass terminology, calling forth on google ‘the Romeo Juliet love story’.
And they don’t come more popular than Romeo and Juliet. So, with apologies to William Shakespeare, the greatest English writer and the greatest writer in the English language ever, we’re going to try and tell you, in a short few paragraphs about ‘the Romeo Juliet love story’. You’ll find out what the romantic tragedy of Romeo and Juliet really is all about, and why you should probably read the full thing if you enjoyed our summary.
Romeo And Juliet: A Synopsis
The first thing to understand about the ‘Romeo Juliet love story’ is that like many of Shakespeare’s classic texts, it is a play, meaning there are a number of characters to keep track of, many of whom we are going to emit right now. The important thing to note is that the play is set in the city of Verona in Italy, and that there are three houses – the ruling house of Verona belonging to which is Prince Escalus (the ruling prince of the city), Count Paris (a kinsman who wants to marry Juliet) and Mercutio (a kinsman and friend of Romeo); the house of Capulet (Juliet, Tybalt and Rosaline, the last two being Juliet’s nephews) and the house of Montague (Romeo and Benvolio, Romeo’s cousin), with the last two houses being sworn enemies. Friar Laurence is friendly with both Romeo and Juliet.
The play starts off with servants of the houses of Montague and Capulet engaged in a brawl. They, just like their masters, are sworn enemies. Prince Escalus intervenes and breaks up the brawl, and exasperated by all of the fighting, decrees that a further breach of peace will be punishable by death.
You with us so far, on this ‘Romeo Juliet love story’ opposing families feud thing? Okay, good. So later, Count Paris asks Capulet for his daughter’s (Juliet’s) hand in marriage, but Capulet asks him to wait a couple of years, instead inviting him to a ball that the Capulets’ are hosting. Benvolio, on the other hand, is concerned about Romeo’s depression, a depression that has to do with Rosaline not returning his love.
Benvolio and Mercutio obviously, convince Romeo to attend the Capulet ball, so as to encounter Rosaline there, but Romeo instead meets and falls for Juliet. Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin, is enraged at Romeo for sneaking into the ball, and plans on killing him, only to be stopped by Capulet who doesn’t want any bloodshed in his house.
After the ball, the famous “balcony scene” takes place, where Romeo, after making his way into Capulet’s orchard, overhears Juliet vowing her love to him, in spite of the Capulet’s hatred of the Montagues. He meets her, they agree to be married, and Friar Laurence, who has the power to unite the two agrees to do so, in an attempt to bring peace to the feuding families through their children.
Tybalt, still incensed that Romeo would dare to sneak into the ball, challenges Romeo to a duel. Romeo, who has now married Juliet, does not agree to the duel as he considers Tybalt his kinsman. Mercutio accepts the duel on Romeo’s behalf and is fatally wounded when Romeo tried to break up the duel. Romeo, wracked with guilt and grief, steps in and slays Tybalt.
The Prince who has now lost a kinsman in the Montague-Capulet feud exiles Romeo from Verona on the condition of death upon return, but Romeo secretly spends the night in Juliet’s chamber. Juliet, overcome with grief herself over Romeo’s fate, is then promised a wedding to Count Paris as Capulet misunderstands her grief. When she pleads for the marriage to be delayed, she is disowned by her mother.
She visits Friar Laurence for help, who then gives her a potion that will put her in a 2-day coma, and Juliet duly drinks it on the day of the wedding, the Friar also promises to send a messenger to Romeo informing him of the plan, so he is at Juliet’s side when she reawakens.
Juliet who is found “apparently dead” on the day of the wedding is laid in the crypt, and as fate would have it, the messenger never reaches Romeo. Believing Juliet to be dead, Romeo buys some poison and visits the Capulet crypt, only to find Count Paris, who had come to mourn alone. Believing Romeo to be a vandal, Paris confronts him and is slain by Romeo.
Not knowing that Juliet is actually alive, Romeo drinks the poison. Juliet wakes up to find Romeo dead, and stabs herself with his dagger. The families as well as the prince arrive at the crypt to find all three dead. The families, devastated by the deaths, reconcile and end their bloody feud.