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___________________________Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare

STUDYWORLD STUDYNOTES

Romeo and Juliet

Analysis of Act I

The play begins with a formal prologue telling of the quarrel between the families and announcing the lover's fate. It serves to make it clear that the fate or the two young lovers is not their fault; instead, it is their misfortune for which they are not entirely responsible.

The first scene emphasizes the age-youth theme. Capulet is mocked by his wife when she tells him that a crutch would be more appropriate for him than a sword. Montague's wife cries, "Thou shalt not stir a foot to seek a foe".

The second scene consists of two sets of conversations: that between Capulet and Paris, and that, between Romeo and Benvolio. In the former, we again find the age-youth theme. Walking beside young Paris, Capulet, talks of his old age, and of his daughter's youth.

Scene three introduces Juliet and shows her to be polite and obedient. She is thirteen years old, and marriage for her is already being discussed. Again the emphasis is on youth as the idea of love and marriage is new to her.

Scene four shows Romeo, Benvolio and another friend, Mercutio on their way to Capulet's house to attend the masked ball. Mercutio attempts to cheer up Romeo by telling him a delightful story about Queen Mab, who brings strange dreams to mankind.

Scene five brings Romeo and Juliet together and has them fall in love. Their meeting is couched with a bit of irony: both Juliet and Romeo were reluctant to attend the ball, but consented - Romeo to see Rosaline and Juliet to see Paris. They both realize the danger of their situation being from two rival houses.

Their meeting sets the story moving and is the initial incident of the tragedy.

When Tybalt threatens to duel with Romeo, Capulet, as head of the house, refuses to allow it. He appears to be more angry with Tybalt's bad manners that would ruin the party than he is with Romeo's intrusion. Verona speaks well of him, and Capulet is doing his best to obey the Prince's command to keep the peace.

  • Biography of Willaim Shakespeare

  • About the Play

  • Quick/Fast Review

  • Character List

  • Summary of Act 1

  • Review of Act 1

  • Summary of Act 2

  • Review of Act 2

  • Summary of Act 3

  • Review of Act 3

  • Summary of Act 4

  • Review of Act 4
  • Summary of Act 5

  • Review of Act 5

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