Stars were thought to control people’s destinies. However, the Prologue itself creates this sense Of fate by providing the audience with the knowledge that Romeo and Juliet will die even before the play has begun. The audience therefore watches the play with the expectation that it must fulfill the terms set in the Prologue. The structure of the play itself is the fate from which Romeo and Juliet cannot escape. Act 1, scene 1 Sampson and Gregory, two servants of the house of Caplet, stroll through the streets of Verona.
With bawdy banter, Sampson vents his hatred of the house of Montague.
The two exchange punning remarks about physically conquering Montague men and sexually conquering Montague women. Gregory sees two Montague servants approaching, and discusses with Sampson the best way to provoke them into a fight without breaking the law. Sampson bites his thumb at the Montages-?a highly insulting gesture. A verbal confrontation quickly escalates into a fight. Benevolent, a kinsman to Montague, enters and draws his sword in an attempt to stop the confrontation.
Table, a kinsman to Caplet, sees Venison’s drawn sword and draws his own.
Benevolent explains that he is merely trying to keep the peace, UT Table professes a hatred for peace as strong as his hatred for Montages, and attacks. The brawl spreads. A group of citizens bearing clubs attempts to restore the peace by beating down the combatants. Montague and Caplet enter, and only their wives prevent them from attacking one another. Prince Callus arrives and commands the fighting stop on penalty of torture. The Capsules and Montages throw down their weapons. The Prince declares the violence between the two families has gone on for too long, and proclaims a death sentence upon anyone who disturbs the civil peace again.
He says that he will speak to Caplet and Montague more directly on this matter; Caplet exits with him, the brawlers disperse, and Benevolent is left alone with his uncle and aunt, Montague and Lady Montague. Benevolent describes to Montague how the brawl started. Lady Montague asks whether Benevolent has seen her son, Romeo. Benevolent replies that he earlier saw Romeo pacing through a grove of sycamores outside the city; since Romeo seemed troubled, Benevolent did not speak to him. Concerned about their son, the Montages tell Benevolent that Romeo has often been seen melancholy, walking alone among the sycamores.
They add that they have tried to discover what troubles him, but have had no success. Benevolent sees Romeo approaching, and promises to find out the reason for his melancholy. The Montages quickly depart. Benevolent approaches his cousin. With a touch of sadness, Romeo tells Benevolent that he is in love with Rosalie, but that she does not return his feelings and has in fact sworn to live a life of chastity. Benevolent counsels Romeo to forget her by gazing on other beauties, but Romeo contends that the woman he loves is the most beautiful of all. Romeo departs, assuring Benevolent that he cannot teach him to forget his love.
Benevolent resolves to do just that. Act 1 , scene 2 On another street of Verona, Caplet walks with Paris, a noble kinsman of the Prince. The two discuss Parish’s desire to marry Capsules daughter, Juliet. Caplet is overjoyed, but also states that Juliet-?not yet fourteen-?is too young to get married. He asks Paris to wait two years. He assures Paris that he favors him as a suitor, and invites Paris to the traditional masquerade feast he is holding that very night so that Paris might begin to Woo Juliet and win her heart. Caplet dispatches a servant, Peter, to invite a list of people to the feast.
As Caplet and Paris walk away, Peter laments that he cannot read and will therefore have difficulty accomplishing his task. Romeo and Benevolent happen by, still arguing about whether Romeo will be able to forget his love. Peter asks Romeo to read the list to him; Rosalie?s name is one of those on the list Before departing, Peter invites Romeo and Benevolent to the party-?assuming, he says, that they are not Montages. Benevolent tells Romeo that the feast will be the perfect opportunity to compare Rosalie with the other beautiful women of Verona. Romeo agrees to go with him, but only because Rosalie herself will be there.
Act 1, scene 3 In Capsules house, just before the feast is to begin, Lady Caplet calls to the Nurse, needing help to find her daughter. Juliet enters, and Lady Caplet dismisses the Nurse so that she might speak with her daughter alone. She immediately changes her mind, however, and asks the Nurse to remain and add her counsel. Before Lady Caplet can begin to speak, the Nurse launches into a long story about how, as a child, an uncomprehending Juliet became an innocent accomplice to a sexual joke. Lady Caplet tries unsuccessfully to stop the wildly amused Nurse.
An embarrassed Juliet forcefully commands hat the Nurse stop. Lady Caplet asks Juliet what she thinks about getting married. Juliet replies that she has not given it any thought. Lady Caplet observes that she gave birth to Juliet when she was almost Gullet’s current age. She excitedly continues that Juliet must begin to think about marriage because the “valiant Paris” has expressed an interest in her (1. 3. 76). Juliet dutifully replies that she will kick upon Paris at the feast to see if she might love him. A serviceman enters to announce the beginning of the feast.
Act 1, scene 4 Romeo, Benevolent, and their friend Mercuric, all wearing masks, have gathered tit a group of mask-wearing guests on their way to the Capsules’ feast. Still melancholy, Romeo wonders how they will get into the Capsules’ feast, since they are Montages. When that concern is brushed aside, he states that he will not dance at the feast. Mercuric begins to gently mock Romeo, transforming all of Romeos statements about love into blatantly sexual metaphors. Romeo refuses to engage in this banter, explaining that in a dream he learned that going to the feast was a bad idea.
Mercuric responds with a long speech about Queen MBA of the fairies, who visits people’s dreams. The speech begins as a flight of fancy, but Mercuric becomes almost entranced by it, and a bitter, fervent strain creeps in. Romeo steps in to stop the speech and calm Mercuric down. Mercuric admits that he has been talking of nothing, noting that dreams are but ‘the children of an idle brain” (1. 4. 97). Benevolent refocuses their attention on actually getting to the feast. Romeo voices one last concern: he has a feeling that the night’s activities will set in motion the action of fate, resulting in untimely death.
But, putting himself in the hands Of “he who hath the steerage of my course,” Romeos persist rise, and he continues with his friends toward the feast. Act 1, scene 5 In the great hall of the Capsules, all is a-bustle. The servants work feverishly to make sure all runs smoothly, and set aside some food to make sure they have some enjoyment of the feast as well. Caplet makes his rounds through groups of guests, joking with them and encouraging all to dance. From across the room, Romeo sees Juliet, and asks a serviceman who she is. The serviceman does not know.
Romeo is transfixed; Rosalie vanishes from his mind and he declares that he has never been in love until this moment. Moving through the crowd, Table hears and recognizes Romeos voice. Realizing that there is a Montague present, Table sends a servant to fetch his rapier. Caplet overhears Table and reprimands him, telling him that Romeo is well regarded in Verona, and that he will not have the youth harmed at his feast. Table protests, but Caplet scolds him until he agrees to keep the peace. As Caplet moves on, Table vows that he will not let this indignity pass. Meanwhile, Romeo has approached Juliet and touched her hand.
In a dialogue laced with religious metaphors that figure Juliet as a saint and Romeo as a pilgrim who wishes to erase his sin, he tries to convince her to kiss him, since it is only through her kiss that he might be absolved. Juliet agrees to remain still as Romeo kisses her. Thus, in the terms of their conversation, she takes his sin from him. Juliet then makes the logical leap that if she has taken Romeos sin from him, his sin must now reside in her lips, and so they must kiss again. Just as their second kiss ends, the Nurse arrives and tells Juliet that her mother wants to speak with her. Romeo asks the Nurse who Gullet’s mother is.
Cite this Romeo and Juliet Act Summary
Romeo and Juliet Act Summary. (2018, Mar 24). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/romeo-and-juliet-act-summary/