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Romeo and Juliet - Synopsis

"Two Households, both alike in dignity ..."

The play begins with a street brawl between Montagues and Capulets. The Prince of Verona, intervenes and declares that the heads of the families will be held accountable for any further breach of the peace. Meanwhile, Count Paris talks to Lord Capulet about marrying his daughter, but Capulet is wary of the suit because Juliet is still too young. Capulet asks Paris to wait another two years and invites him to attend a planned Capulet ball. Lady Capulet tries to persuade her daughter to accept Paris' courtship. In this scene Juliet's nurse is introduced as a talkative and humorous character, who raised Juliet from infancy. After the brawl, Benvolio talks with his cousin Romeo, Lord Montague's son, over Romeo's recent depression. Benvolio discovers that it stems from unrequited love for a girl named Rosaline, one of Lord Capulet's nieces. Persuaded by Benvolio and Mercutio, Romeo attends the ball at the Capulet house in hopes of meeting Rosaline. Romeo and Juliet fall in love, not knowing that they are on opposite sides of the feuding families. After the ball, Romeo sneaks into the Capulet courtyard and overhears Juliet vowing her love to him in spite of her family's hatred of the Montagues. Romeo makes himself known to her and they agree to be married.

With the help of Friar Lawrence, who hopes to reconcile the two families through their children's union, they are married secretly the next day. Juliet's cousin Tybalt, however, is offended that Romeo snuck into a Capulet ball and challenges him to a duel. Romeo, considering Tybalt a kinsman to his wife, refuses to fight him. Mercutio is incensed by Tybalt's insolence, as well as Romeo's "vile submission", and accepts the duel on Romeo's behalf. Mercutio is fatally wounded and Romeo, angered by his friend's death, pursues and slays Tybalt. The Prince exiles Romeo from Verona for the killing. He also adds that if Romeo comes back, "that hour is his last". Lord Capulet, misinterpreting Juliet's grief, agrees to marry her to Count Paris and threatens to disown her when she refuses to become Paris's "joyful bride". Her mother coldly walks away from her when she pleads for her to delay it for even a month.

Juliet visits Friar Lawrence for help, and he offers her a drug which will put her into a death-like coma for "two and forty hours". She takes it and, when discovered apparently dead, she is laid in the family crypt. While she is sleeping the Friar sends a messenger to inform Romeo of the plan, so that he can rejoin her when she awakens.

The messenger, however, does not reach Romeo and he learns of Juliet's apparent death from his servant Balthasar. Grief-stricken, Romeo buys poison from an apothecary, goes to the Capulet crypt. He encounters Paris who has come to mourn Juliet privately. Paris confronts Romeo believing him to be a vandal, and in the ensuing battle Romeo kills Paris. Still believing Juliet to be dead, he drinks the poison. Juliet then awakens and, finding Romeo dead, stabs herself with her lover's dagger. The feuding families and the Prince meet at the tomb to find all three dead. Friar Lawrence recounts the story of the two "star-cross'd lovers" and Montague reveals that his wife has died of grief after hearing of her son's exile. The families are reconciled by their children's deaths and agree to end their violent feud. The play ends with the Prince's elegy for the lovers: "For never was a story of more woe / Than this of Juliet and her Romeo."

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terça-feira, outubro 14, 2008 - 18:45

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