Romeo and Juliet starts off with a prologue that tells the
general outline of the story foreshadowing future events.
Act One, Scene One
The scene opens on a public square in Verona. Some servingmen from the Capulet
family meet servingmen from the Montague family. Insults start flying and
a fight erupts.
Benvolio, Montague's nephew, and Tybalt, Capulet's nephew enter from different
directions. They become involved in the fight also as well as other bystanders
who have taken sides. Shortly thereafter, Capulet and his wife and Montague
accompanied by his wife appear on the scene. Before they have chance to say
much, Prince Escalus arrives and stops the fight. He warns Capulet and Montague
that the next time another brawl occurs, he will use harsher measures. He
angrily pronounces, "If ever you disturb our streets again, your lives
shall pay the forfeit of the peace."
Shortly after this, Romeo appears and Romeo sadly confesses to Benvolio his
unrequited love for an aloof and indifferent young woman. "[Give] liberty
unto thine eyes; Examine other beauties," was Benvolio's curative. But
Romeo was unmoved: "Thou canst not teach me to forget."
Act One, Scene Two
Paris, a kinsman of the Prince of Verona, asks Capulet for permission to
marry his daughter, Juliet. Capulet agrees but only if Juliet will consent
on her own. He advises Paris to woo the girl gently. That night Capulet is
planning to give a party so Paris could meet Juliet. He calls a servant to
deliver the invitations.
Now the servant could not read, so as he walked along he asked Romeo and
Benvolio to read the guest list to him. In thanks, he told Romeo, "If
you be not of the house of Montagues, I pray come and crush a cup a wine."
Since Romeo's unreceptive Rosaline was named among the guests, Benvolio urges
Romeo to go and find out for himself that Rosaline was a "crow."
Act One, Scene Three
Lady Capulet speaks with Juliet and informs her that Paris is interested
in her and would like to marry her. She tells her that she will be able to
meet him at the festival that night. Juliet agrees to be open minded about
her parents' choice for her.
Act One, Scene Four
Romeo, Mercutio, and Benvolio are on their way to the masked ball. Mercutio
tries to cheer up Romeo with an imaginary story about Queen Mab, who brings
strange dreams to people.
Act One, Scene Five
As Romeo and his friend Mercutio, both wearing masks, searched for Rosaline
among the gathering, Romeo's eyes fell upon the exquisite Juliet - and Romeo
remembered Rosaline no more: "O, she cloth teach the torches to burn
bright! .... Did my heart love till now?" he chimed. However, fiery Tybalt,
Capulet's nephew, overheard Romeo pouring out his heart and reported to his
uncle that a Montague had invaded their festivity. But Capulet was not alarmed
and would have no bloodshed, besides Romeo seemed to be "a virtuous and
well governed youth."
Romeo approached Juliet offering "my lips, two blushing pilgrims,"
to which Juliet replied, "Ay, pilgrim, lips that thou must use in prayer."
But Romeo at last convinced her to press her lips to his - just before Juliet's
Nurse called her away.
Romeo was stunned to find out that the girl was the daughter of his father's
enemy. Juliet, likewise, is surprised when she learns from the Nurse the identity