William Shakespeare: Romeo And Juliet

 Romeo is lovesick for Rosaline until Mercutio persuades him to gatecrash their enemy, Capulet’s, party. Romeo promptly falls for Capulet’s daughter, Juliet, scales a wall, approaches Juliet’s balcony and is well met by moonlight. A conniving Friar secretly marries them the morning after.

Romeo intervenes in a sword fight, inadvertently causing Mercutio to be killed by Juliet’s cousin. He avenges Mercutio’s death. Juliet is upset, Romeo banished.

Juliet feigns death rather than marry Paris, her father’s choice. All suppose her dead, including Romeo, who kills Paris outside, himself inside the tomb. Juliet revives, plucks Romeo’s dagger and perishes beside Romeo.

Key Quotations

  • True, I talk of dreams,
    Which are the children of an idle brain,
    Begot of nothing but vain fantasy,
    Which is as thin of substance as the air
    And more inconstant than the wind, who woos
    Even now the frozen bosom of the north
    And, being anger’d, puffs away from thence
    Turning his side to the dew-dropping south. (Mercutio)
  • With love’s light wings I did o’erperch these walls,
    For stony limits cannot hold love out,
    And what love can do, that dares love attempt. (Romeo)
  • My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
    My love as deep: the more I give to thee
    The more I have, for both are infinite. (Juliet)

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, as a young man he moved to London where he worked as an actor, writer, and part owner of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, later known as the King’s Men, a theatre company.

His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several shorter poems. His plays are performed more often than any other playwright’s and include comedies, tragedies, histories, and genre-crunching tragi-comedies and romances.

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