Short summary - Romeo and Juliet - William Shakespeare

British literature summaries -

Short summary - Romeo and Juliet
William Shakespeare

The action of the tragedy covers five days of one week, during which a fateful series of events takes place.

The first act begins with a scuffle of servants who belong to two warring families - Montecchi and Capulet. It is not clear what caused the enmity, it is only obvious that it is long-standing and implacable, drawing the passions of the young and old into the whirlpool. Noble representatives of the two houses quickly join the servants, and then their heads themselves. On the square flooded with the July sun, a real battle begins to boil. The townspeople, tired of hatred, hardly manage to separate the fighting. Finally, the supreme ruler of Verona arrives - the prince, who orders to end the clash under pain of death, and angrily leaves.

Romeo, the son of Montecca, appears on the square. He already knows about the recent strike, but his thoughts are occupied by another. As expected at his age, he is in love and suffering. The subject of his unrequited passion is a certain impregnable beauty Rosalina. In a conversation with a friend of Benvolio, he shares his experiences. Benvolio good-naturedly advises to look at other girls and chuckles at the friend's objections.

At this time, Capuletti is visited by a relative of the Prince Count Paris, who asks for the hands of the only daughter of the owners. Juliet is not yet fourteen, but her father agrees to the offer. Paris is noble, rich, beautiful, and one cannot dream of a better bridegroom. Capulet invites Paris to the annual ball that they give this evening. The mistress goes to her daughter's quarters to warn Juliet about the matchmaking. The three of them — Juliet, the mother and the nurse who raised the girl — they lively discuss the news. Juliet is still serene and obedient to parental will.

Several young people from the enemy camp, including Benvolio, Mercutio and Romeo, enter the magnificent carnival ball in the Capulet house. All of them are hot, sharp on the tongue and are looking for adventure. Especially mocking and speechist Mercutio is Romeo's closest friend. Romeo himself is gripped on the doorstep of Capulet's house by a strange alarm.

I do not expect good. Unknown something
is hidden as yet in darkness,
but will arise from the current ball,
untimely shorten my life
stems from some strange circumstances.
But the one who directs my ship,
Already raised a sail ...

In the midst of the ball, among the random phrases exchanged between masters, guests and servants, the views of Romeo and Juliet intersect for the first time, and, like dazzling lightning, they are struck by love.

The world for both is instantly transformed. For Romeo, from this moment, there are no past affections:

Have I ever loved before?
Oh no, they were false goddesses.
I did not know true beauty from now on ...

When he utters these words, his cousin Juliet Tybalt recognizes him by voice, immediately grabbing his sword. The hosts beg him not to make noise at the holiday. They notice that Romeo is known for nobility and there is no trouble, even if he attended a ball. Wounded Tybalt harbors resentment.

Romeo, meanwhile, manages to exchange a few remarks with Juliet. He is dressed as a monk, and behind the hood she does not see his face. When the girl slips out of the hall at the call of her mother, Romeo from the nurse learns that she is the daughter of the owners. A few minutes later, Juliet makes the same discovery - through the same nurse, she finds out that Romeo is the son of their sworn enemy!

I embodied the hateful power of
Nekstati out of ignorance.

Benvolio and Mercutio leave the ball without waiting for a friend. Romeo at that time inaudibly climbs over the wall and hides in the dense garden of Capulet. A flair leads him to Juliet's balcony, and he pauses to hear her pronouncing his name. Unable to stand, the young man responds. The conversation of two lovers begins with timid exclamations and questions, and ends with an oath of love and the decision to immediately unite their destinies.

I am not subject to what I own.
My love is bottomless, and kindness is like the expanse of the sea.
The more I spend, the richer and richer I get

So says Juliet about the feeling that struck her. «Holy night, holy night ... / So exorbitant happiness ...» - Romeo echoes her. From that moment on, Romeo and Juliet act with extraordinary firmness, courage and at the same time caution, completely obeying the love that has swallowed them. Childhood spontaneously leaves their actions; they suddenly transform into people wise by higher experience.

Their attorneys are the monk brother Lorenzo, the confessor of Romeo, and the nurse, Juliet's confidante. Lorenzo agrees to secretly marry them - he hopes that the union of the young Montecca and Capulet will serve the world between the two families. In the cell of brother Lorenzo, a ceremony of marriage is performed. Lovers are overflowing with happiness.

But Verona still has a hot summer, and "blood begins to boil in the veins from the heat." Especially among those who are already quick-tempered as gunpowder and looking for a reason to show their courage. Mercutio spends time in the square and argues with Benvolio, which of them loves quarrels more. When the bully of Tybalt appears with friends, it becomes clear that a hassle is indispensable. Exchange of caustic barbs interrupted by the arrival of Romeo. "Leave me alone!" Here is the person I need, »Tybalt declares and continues:« Romeo, the essence of my feelings for you is all expressible in the word: you are a bastard. » However, the proud proud Romeo does not grab hold of the sword, he only tells Tybalt that he is mistaken. After all, after marrying Juliet, he considers Tybalt to be his relative, almost a brother! But no one knows this yet. And Tybalt continues bullying, until the infuriated Mercutio intervenes: «Cowardly, despicable humility! / I must wash away her shame with blood! »They fight on swords. Romeo, horrified by what is happening, rushes between them, and at that moment Tybalt from under his hand deftly strikes Mercutio, and then quickly disappears with his accomplices. Mercutio dies in Romeo’s arms. The last words he whispers: «Take the plague of both of your families!»

Romeo is shocked. He lost his best friend. Moreover, he understands that he died because of him, that Mercutio was betrayed by him, Romeo, when he defended his honor ... "Thanks to you, Juliet, I become too soft ..." mutters Romeo in a fit of remorse, bitterness and rage. At that moment, Tybalt reappears in the square. Having exposed his sword, Romeo flies at him in "fiery anger." They fight silently and frantically. After a few seconds, Tybalt falls dead. Benvolio in fear tells Romeo to flee urgently. He says that Tybalt’s death in a duel will be regarded as a murder and that Romeo faces execution. Romeo leaves, suppressed by everything that happened, and the area is filled with indignant citizens. After Benvolio’s explanations, the prince pronounces a sentence: Romeo is now sentenced to exile — otherwise death awaits him.

Juliet learns about the terrible news from the nurse. Her heart is contracting with mortal anguish. Grieving over her brother’s death, she is nevertheless adamant about Romeo’s acquittal.

Spouse condemn me?
Poor husband, where is the good of you to hear the word,
When the wife does not say it at the third hour of marriage ...

Romeo at this moment gloomily listens to the advice of brother Lorenzo. He convinces the young man to hide, obeying the law, until he is granted forgiveness. He promises to send letters to Romeo regularly. Romeo in despair, exile for him is the same death. He is weary of longing for Juliet. Only a few hours can they spend together when at night he secretly sneaks into her room. Lark trills at dawn inform lovers that it is time for them to leave. They can not tear themselves apart from each other, pale, tormented by the impending separation and alarming forebodings. Finally, Juliet herself persuades Romeo to leave, fearing for his life.

Lady Capuletti, who entered the bedroom of her daughter, catches Juliet in tears and explains this grief over Tybalt's death. The news that the mother reports makes Juliet colder: Count Paris is rushing to the wedding, and his father has already decided on the wedding the next day. The girl prays to parents to wait, but they are adamant. Either an immediate wedding with Paris - or "then you are no longer my father." After leaving her parents, the nurse persuades Juliet not to worry: «Your new marriage will overshadow the first ones with your benefits ...» «Amen!» Juliet notes in response. From this moment on, she no longer sees the friend, but the enemy. There remains the only person whom she can still trust - Brother Lorenzo.

And if the monk does not help me,
there is a means to die in my hands.

«Everything is over! There is no more hope! »Juliet says lifelessly when she is left alone with the monk. Unlike the nurse, Lorenzo does not console her - he understands the girl’s desperate situation. With all his heart sympathizing with her and Romeo, he offers the only way to salvation. She needs to pretend to be the obedient will of her father, prepare for the wedding, and in the evening take a miraculous solution. After that, she should plunge into a state resembling death, which will last exactly forty-two hours. For this period, Juliet will be buried in the family crypt. Lorenzo will let Romeo know about everything, he will arrive at the moment of her awakening, and they will be able to disappear for a better time ... «This is the way out if you don’t get scared / Or do not confuse anything,» the monk concludes, without concealing the danger of this secret plan. «Give me a bottle! Do not talk about fear, »Juliet interrupts.

The house of Capulet is preparing for the wedding. Parents are happy that their daughter will no longer be stubborn. The nurse and mother tenderly say goodbye to her before going to bed. Juliet is left alone. Before a decisive act, fear covers her. What if a monk tricked her? Or does the elixir not work? Or will the action be different than he promised? What if she wakes up ahead of time? Or even worse - will remain alive, but lose his mind from fear? And yet, without hesitation, she drinks the bottle to the bottom.

In the morning the house announces the heart-rending cry of the nurse: «Juliet is dead! She passed away! »The house is filled with confusion and horror. There can be no doubt - Juliet is dead. She lies in bed in a wedding attire, numb, without blood in her face. Paris, like everyone else, is crushed by terrible news. The musicians invited to play at the wedding are still awkwardly stomping around waiting for orders, but the unhappy family is already immersed in inconsolable mourning. The newcomer Lorenzo utters words of sympathy to his relatives and recalls that it is time to carry the dead woman to the cemetery.

... "I had a dream: my wife appeared to me. / And I was dead and, dead, watched. / And suddenly from my hot lips I came to life ... »- Romeo, who is hiding in Mantua, still does not suspect how prophetic this vision will be. While he does not know anything about what happened in Verona, but only, burned with impatience, he is waiting for news from the monk. Instead of the messenger, the servant Romeo Baltazar appears. The young man rushes to him with questions and - about grief! - learns the terrible news of Juliet's death. He gives the command to harness the horses and promises: "Juliet, we will be together today." He demands from the local pharmacist the scariest and fastest poison, and for fifty ducats he gets the powder - "Pour into any liquid, / And be strong in you for twenty, / One sip will lay you down instantly."

At this very time, brother Lorenzo is experiencing no less horror. The monk returns to him, whom Lorenzo sent to Mantua with a secret letter. It turns out that a fatal accident did not allow the commission to be fulfilled: the monk was locked in the house on the occasion of the plague quarantine, as his comrade had been caring for the sick before.

The last scene takes place in the tomb of the Capulet family. Here, next to Tybalt, they just laid dead Juliet in the tomb. Lingering at the tomb of the bride, Paris throws flowers at Juliet. Hearing a rustle, he hides. Romeo appears with a servant. He gives Balthazar a letter to his father and sends it, and he opens a crypt with a crowbar. At this moment, Paris comes out of hiding. He blocks the path of Romeo, threatens him with arrest and execution. Romeo asks him to leave good and "not to tempt the insane." Paris insists on arrest. The fight begins. Paris's page in fear rushes for help. Paris dies from the sword of Romeo and before his death he asks to bring him into the crypt to Juliet. Romeo finally remains alone in front of Juliet’s coffin. He is amazed that in the coffin she looks like she is alive and just as beautiful. Cursing the evil forces that claimed this most perfect of earthly creatures,


Lorenzo is late for a moment, but he is no longer able to revive the young man. He is in time for the awakening of Juliet. Upon seeing the monk, she immediately asks where her husband is and assures that she remembers everything perfectly and feels cheerful and healthy. Lorenzo, afraid to tell her the terrible truth, urges her to leave the crypt. Juliet does not hear his words. Seeing the dead Romeo, she only thinks about how to die herself sooner. She is annoyed that Romeo alone drank all the poison. But next to him lies a dagger. It's time. Moreover, the voices of the watchmen are already heard from the outside. And the girl thrusts a dagger into her chest.

Those who entered the tomb found the dead Paris and Romeo, and next to them was still the warm Juliet. Lorenzo, who gave vent to tears, told the tragic story of lovers. Montecchi and Capulet, forgetting about the old feuds, extended their hands to each other, inconsolably mourning the dead children. It was decided to put on their graves a golden statue.

But, as the prince correctly noted, still the story of Romeo and Juliet will remain the saddest in the world ...