The story of Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare is one of the most tragic love stories of star-crossed lovers. Although the play is famous for depicting the love between Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet, it also focuses on the long feud that had existed between two families, the Capulets and the Montagues. The feud between the families played a major role in the tragic ending of the two lovers. The play takes place in Verona where the age-old love tale begins at a party organized by the Capulets.
Fun Facts about Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet Story
There are some interesting things about the Romeo and Juliet tale that make it stand out as one of the greatest love stories of all time.
- Did you know that Romeo was in love with another woman when he met Juliet?
- Did you know that Romeo attended a party he was not invited to and that’s how his fate changes?
- Did you know that Juliet fakes her own death?
Here is a summary of Romeo and Juliet, one of Shakespeare’s finest works.
The Party That Changes Everything
The story begins by introducing us to a feud between two noble families, the Montagues and the Capulets. In the first scene, a fight breaks out between servants of the two families. Meanwhile, Romeo (Montague’s son) runs into Benvolio (his cousin) and they begin confiding in each other. Romeo informs Benvolio that he is in love with a woman called Rosaline, who did not love him back. Seeing that Romeo is despondent about his unrequited love, Benvolio encourages him to forget about Rosaline because he may fall in love with another woman.
As fate would have it, a Capulet servant comes across the two men discussing matters of the heart. The servant informs Benvolio and Romeo of a masquerade party being held by Capulet, Juliet’s father. Benvolio convinces Romeo that they should go to the party so that he can meet other women and get over his heartbreak. A hesitant Romeo eventually agrees to attend the masquerade party but only because he sees Rosaline’s name on the list of guests that the Capulet servant had with him.
Juliet Meets the Love of Her Life
The Capulet party was a strategy by Juliet’s father, who wanted Paris, a relative of the Prince of Verona, to win Juliet’s heart at the feast. Initially, Paris wanted Juliet’s hand in marriage but Capulet was concerned that his daughter was still too young. Capulet told Paris to give her 2 more years and begin to win her heart. Although Juliet is not too excited at the idea of getting married to Paris, she agrees to meet him at the party.
However, when Juliet arrives at the party, Romeo sees her for the first time and immediately falls in love. Romeo, Benvolio, and Mercutio (their friend) managed to successfully sneak into the Capulet masquerade party.
As Romeo continues to admire Juliet, Tybalt (Juliet’s cousin) recognizes him and wants to attack him, but Capulet intervenes. Romeo approaches Juliet who also falls in love at first sight and the two share a kiss without asking each other’s names. With a single kiss, Romeo’s broken heart was healed and Rosaline becomes a distant memory.
The Secret Marriage
Unable to resist their love for one another, Romeo and Juliet try to find out information about each other after the party ends. Both are distraught when they realize that their families are sworn enemies. Overcome with love, Romeo sneaks into Juliet’s garden and they both confess their undying love for each other.
Romeo then leaves to see Frair Lawrence, a confessor and his friend. Romeo reveals that he intends to marry Juliet secretly before her family weds her to Paris, and Frair Lawrence agrees to help them get married quickly and discreetly because he hopes the marriage will help end the feud between the two families. The next day, Romeo and Juliet get married in Frair Lawrence’s office, and Juliet’s faithful nurse helps Romeo sneak into Juliet’s room so that the two could spend their wedding night together.
A Tragic Turn of Events
The hot-headed Tybalt challenges Romeo to a fight the next day, but Mercutio fights him instead when Romeo refuses the challenge. Unfortunately, Mercutio is killed, which angers Romeo. As a result, he pursues Tybalt and kills him to avenge his friend. When the Prince of Verona finds out, he banishes Romeo from the city.
When Juliet learns of her husband’s banishment, she becomes anxious especially when her father, unaware of her secret marriage, wants her to get married to Paris immediately after the death of Tybalt. It angers her family when Juliet rejects Paris but they plan the wedding anyway. Frair Lawrence comes to Juliet’s aid when he helps her fake her death by giving her a sleeping potion, which she takes on the day of her wedding.
The plan works and everyone believes Juliet is dead. Frair Lawrence then sends word to Romeo informing him of Juliet’s plan and urging him to rescue her immediately. Unfortunately, Romeo never receives the message and instead hears that Juliet is dead as the family mourns for their daughter.
Overcome with grief and without knowing the full story, Romeo is unable to live without Juliet so he buys poison, takes it, and dies. When Juliet wakes up in her tomb from her death-like sleep, the Frair informs her of Romeo’s death and her heart shatters. Refusing to live in a world without her beloved Romeo, Juliet stabs herself to death.
And just like that, Romeo and Juliet’s forbidden yet beautiful love comes to a tragic ending.