Here is a brief plot summary of Romeo & Juliet:

On a hot morning fighting by young servants of the Capulet and Montague families is stopped by the Prince who tells them that the next person who breaks the peace will be punished with death.

Capulet plans a feast to introduce his daughter, Juliet, who is almost fourteen, to the Count Paris who would like to marry her. By a mistake of the illiterate servant Peter, Montague’s son, Romeo, and his friends Benvolio and the Prince’s cousin Mercutio, hear of the party and decide to go in disguise. Romeo hopes he will see his adored Rosaline but instead he meets and falls in love with Juliet.

Juliet’s cousin Tybalt recognises the Montagues and they are forced to leave the party just as Romeo and Juliet have each discovered the other’s identity. Romeo lingers near the Capulet’s house and talks to Juliet when she appears on her balcony. With the help of Juliet’s Nurse the lovers arrange to meet next day at the cell of Friar Lawrence when Juliet goes for confession, and they are married by him.

Tybalt picks a quarrel with Mercutio and his friends and Mercutio is accidentally killed as Romeo intervenes to try to break up the fight. Romeo pursues Tybalt in anger, kills him and is banished by the Prince for the deed. Juliet is anxious that Romeo is late meeting her and learns of the fighting from her Nurse. With Friar Lawrence’s help it is arranged that Romeo will spend the night with Juliet before taking refuge at Mantua.

To calm the family’s sorrow at Tybalt’s death the day for the marriage of Juliet to Paris is brought forward. Capulet and his wife are angry that Juliet does not wish to marry Paris, not knowing of her secret contract with Romeo.

Friar Lawrence helps Juliet by providing a sleeping potion that will make everyone think she’s dead. Romeo will then come to her tomb and take her away. When the wedding party arrives to greet Juliet next day they think she is dead. The Friar sends a colleague to warn Romeo to come to the Capulet’s family monument to rescue his sleeping wife but the message doesn’t get through and Romeo, hearing instead that Juliet is dead, buys poison in Mantua.

He returns to Verona and goes to the tomb where he surprises and kills the mourning Paris. Romeo takes the poison and dies just as Juliet awakes from her drugged sleep. She learns what has happened from Friar Lawrence but she refuses to leave the tomb and stabs herself as the Friar returns with the Prince, the Capulets and Romeo’s father. The deaths of their children lead the families to make peace, promising to erect a monument in their memory.


See Romeo & Juliet translated to modern English >>

See summaries of Shakespeare’s other plays >>

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30 replies
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  1. Shakespeare
    Shakespeare says:

    I find it very odd and concerning how nearly eveyone who’s commented has said how true Romeo and Juliet’s love is for each other. They’ve only known each other for about a week. Is that really love? Or is it lust? The only acts of love that they both pine for is sex. How is purely physical and sexual attraction “true love”? That makes me incredibly nervous if everyone’s teachers is teaching them that they have “true love” and that this is an extraordinary love story.

    While I love this piece of literature, I believe that some of the humour found in it is supposed to be how they’ve only just met, and then BAM! They want to bang. If you believe that they have true love, I’m deeply concerned because you do NOT understand this piece of literature.

  2. Bhavya
    Bhavya says:

    Shakespeare in just amazing no writer in future can replace him… A well written summary and really a great love story…

  3. Cat on a cross
    Cat on a cross says:

    Man! This summary has helped me a lot with my project! Thanks to the person who made this excellent summary, I got an A+ on my project!!!!

  4. Leanne Butcher
    Leanne Butcher says:

    Oh my, I love Shakespeare. I’m only 16 years old and I know I still have much to see out there, but I will never be able to find a writer I prefer more than Shakespeare. It just won’t happen, I even prefer some of his pieces over modern time novels.

  5. amber
    amber says:

    true love expencive every one has to pay the price no one can escape it not even in the best love story of all time

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