which containsparallels toShakespeare's story:the lovers' parentsdespise each other,and Pyramus falselybelieves his lover Thisbe is dead.TheEphesiaca of Xenophon of Ephesus, written inthe 3rd century, alsocontains severalsimilarities to theplay, including theseparation of thelovers, and a potionwhich induces adeathlike sleep.
- The patriarchof the Capulet family,father of Juliet, husbandof Lady Capulet, andenemy, for unexplainedreasons, of Montague.
- Juliet’smother, Capulet’s wife.
- Romeo’sfather, the patriarch of theMontague clan and bitter enemy of Capulet.
- Romeo’smother, Montague’s wife.
- A kinsman of thePrince, and the suitor of Juliet most preferred byCapulet.
- Montague’snephew, Romeo’s cousinand thoughtful friend.
- ThePrince of Verona. Akinsman of Mercutio andParis.
- AFranciscan friar chargedby Friar Lawrence withtaking the news of Juliet’sfalse death to Romeo inMantua.
- Romeo’sdedicated servant, whoreads on the list, will be there. In Capulet’s household, young Juliet talks withher mother, Lady Capulet, and her nurse aboutthe possibility of marrying Paris. Juliet has notyet considered marriage, but agrees to look atParis during the feast to see if she thinks shecould fall in love with him. The feast begins. A melancholy Romeo followsBenvolio and their witty friend Mercutio toCapulet’s house. Once inside, Romeo seesJuliet from a distance and instantly falls in lovewith her; he forgets about Rosaline completely.As Romeo watches Juliet, entranced, a youngCapulet, Tybalt, recognizes him, and is enragedthat a Montague would sneak into a Capuletfeast. He prepares to attack, but Capulet holdshim back. Soon, Romeo speaks to Juliet, andthe two experience a profound attraction. Theykiss, not even knowing each other’s names.When he finds out from Juliet’s nurse that she isthe daughter of Capulet—his family’s enemy—he becomes distraught. When Juliet learns thatthe young man she has just kissed is the son of Montague, she grows equally upset. As Mercutio and Benvolio leave the Capuletestate, Romeo leaps over the orchard wall intothe garden, unable to leave Juliet behind. Fromhis hiding place, he sees Juliet in a windowabove the orchard and hears her speak hisname. He calls out to her, and they exchangevows of love. Romeo hurries to see his friend and confessor Friar Lawrence, who, though shocked at thesudden turn of Romeo’s heart, agrees to marrythe young lovers in secret since he sees in their love the possibility of ending the age-old feudbetween Capulet and Montague. The followingday, Romeo and Juliet meet at Friar Lawrence’scell and are married. The Nurse, who is privy tomasculine honor).
The Inevitability of Fate
(The mechanism of fateworks in all of the eventssurrounding the lovers: thefeud between their families;the horrible series of accidents that ruin Friar Lawrence’s seemingly well-intentioned plans at the endof the play; and the tragictiming of Romeo’s suicideand Juliet’s awakening.These events are not merecoincidences, but rather manifestations of fate thathelp bring about theunavoidable outcome of theyoung lovers’ deaths).
Light/Dark ImageryOpposite Points of View
(Poison is notintrinsically evil, but is insteada natural substance madelethal by human hands).
(The thumb-biting, as an essentiallymeaningless gesture,represents the foolishness of the entire Capulet/Montaguefeud and the stupidity of violence in general).