Juliet didn’t argue with the Nurse’s choice of clothes for the wedding, nor did she complain about the incessant chatter about how wonderful Paris was. ‘Yes, yes, Nurse,’ she said. ‘I agree with you: these clothes are best.’

It seemed that the Nurse was going to take forever to lay them out. When she had finished at last, she went into the anteroom where she had her own bed. Juliet followed her and sat on the bed. ‘Please, Nurse,’ she said, ‘Leave me to myself tonight. I’m going to spend the night praying that things will turn out better. You know what a mess it all is.’

Lady Capulet appeared at the door, ‘You’ve been busy,’ she said. ‘Are you all ready or do you need my help?’

‘No thanks,’ said Juliet. ‘We’ve done everything. ‘Please let me be alone now. And take Nurse with you – she can stay up and help you: I ‘m sure you all have your hands full with everything that has to be done before tomorrow.’

When they had gone Juliet wondered when she would see them again. She went to a little cabinet and took out the bottle the Friar had given her. There was a dagger in there as well and she placed it on the cabinet’s top, Then she drew the curtains around the bed and lay down.

As she thought about what she had to do fear began to take hold of her. It spread through her veins like iced water and almost paralyzed her. She wanted to call them back and actually opened her mouth and formed the word ‘Nurse’ before pulling herself together. What could the Nurse do for her now? She was alone.

She was clutching the bottle She opened her hand now and looked at it. What if it didn’t work?. Did that mean she’d have to be married tomorrow? She reached for the dagger and placed it beside her on the bed. She’d use it if she had to. She lifted the bottle again. What if it were some poison that the Friar had given her because he wanted her dead? In case they should blame him for her marriage to Romeo? She was convinced of it when she thought about it and yet it couldn’t be: everyone knew he was a holy man.

What if she was in the tomb and woke up before Romeo came to fetch her? That was too horrible to think about. She’d suffocate in the vault – choke in the stench of death – and die, strangled, before Romeo came. Even if she didn’t die there wouldn’t she go mad? Just to think about all those dead bodies: all those corpses! It was a vault where her dead ancestors had been packed for hundreds of years. Tybalt. He was there. Not so long dead. He would be decomposing! And they say that at certain times of night ghosts visit the newly dead. She sat up and looked fearfully at the thick curtains.

She was sure that if she woke earlier than planned – with those loathsome smells and the shrieks of the dead – she would go mad and she would do some desperate things: she would play with her ancestors’ remains and pull the dead Tybalt out of his shroud, and even perhaps take one of her great ancestor’s bones and bash her own brains out with it.

Even here in her bedroom, she was starting to see things. Tybalt ‘s ghost was walking about, looking for Romeo.

‘No,’ she shouted. ‘Don’t Tybalt. ‘Stop.’

She uncorked the bottle and raised it to her lips. ‘Romeo! Romeo! Romeo!’ she cried. ‘I drink to you!’. She flung the bottle from her and fell back on the bed.

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Read more scenes from Romeo & Juliet:

Romeo & Juliet in Modern English | Romeo & Juliet original text
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Modern Romeo & Juliet Act 1, Scene 1 | Romeo & Juliet text Act 1, Scene 1
Modern Romeo & Juliet Act 1, Scene 2 | Romeo & Juliet text Act 1, Scene 2
Modern Romeo & Juliet Act 1, Scene 3 | Romeo & Juliet text Act 1, Scene 3
Modern Romeo & Juliet Act 1, Scene 4 | Romeo & Juliet text Act 1, Scene 4
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Modern Romeo & Juliet Act 2, Scene 1 | Romeo & Juliet text Act 2, Scene 1
Modern Romeo & Juliet Act 2, Scene 2 | Romeo & Juliet text Act 2, Scene 2
Modern Romeo & Juliet Act 2, Scene 3 | Romeo & Juliet text Act 2, Scene 3
Modern Romeo & Juliet Act 2, Scene 4 | Romeo & Juliet text Act 2, Scene 4
Modern Romeo & Juliet Act 2, Scene 5 | Romeo & Juliet text Act 2, Scene 5
Modern Romeo & Juliet Act 2, Scene 6 | Romeo & Juliet text Act 2, Scene 6
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Modern Romeo & Juliet Act 3, Scene 1 | Romeo & Juliet text Act 3, Scene 1
Modern Romeo & Juliet Act 3, Scene 2 | Romeo & Juliet text Act 3, Scene 2
Modern Romeo & Juliet Act 3, Scene 3 | Romeo & Juliet text Act 3, Scene 3
Modern Romeo & Juliet Act 3, Scene 4 | Romeo & Juliet text Act 3, Scene 4
Modern Romeo & Juliet Act 3, Scene 5 | Romeo & Juliet text Act 3, Scene 5
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Modern Romeo & Juliet Act 4, Scene 1 | Romeo & Juliet text Act 4, Scene 1
Modern Romeo & Juliet Act 4, Scene 2 | Romeo & Juliet text Act 4, Scene 2
Modern Romeo & Juliet Act 4, Scene 3 | Romeo & Juliet text Act 4, Scene 3
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Modern Romeo & Juliet Act 4, Scene 5 | Romeo & Juliet text Act 4, Scene 5
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Modern Romeo & Juliet Act 5, Scene 1 | Romeo & Juliet text Act 5, Scene 1
Modern Romeo & Juliet Act 5, Scene 2 | Romeo & Juliet text Act 5, Scene 2
Modern Romeo & Juliet Act 5, Scene 3 | Romeo & Juliet text Act 5, Scene 3

 

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