Key players

  • Capulet: Head of household feuding with the Montagues
  • Romeo: Son of Montague
  • Tybalt: Nephew of Lady Capulet
  • Juliet: Daughter of Capulet
  • Nurse: Juliet’s Helper
  • Benvolio: Nephew of Montague, friend of Romeo
  • First Servant/Second Servant
  • Second Capulet
  • Servant

Summary of key events

  • In the hallway of Capulet’s house four servingmen clear away the dinner dishes. Lord Capulet comes out to greet his guests, asking them to dance and make merry. He admits that his “dancing days” have long since past, but he loves to watch others enjoy themselves.
  • Romeo, seeking Rosaline through the crowd, sees Juliet instead.  He is awe-struck by her grace and beauty, and he completely forgets Rosaline.

Act I, Scene 5

  • Romeo’s heart is racing as he
    exclaims, “O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!/It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night/As a rich jewel in an Ethiop’s ear” (page 65, lines 44-46)
  • Tybalt, a cousin to Capulet, recognizes Romeo’s voice and shouts for his sword. Tybalt is prepared to slay Romeo in front of the guests, but Lord Capulet stops him, knowing that any fighting will ruin the festivities.

Act I, Scene 5

  • It appears that Lord Capulet is not as hostile towards his perceived enemy as is his violent and head-strong kinsman, Tybalt, as we can see in the following passage:
  • “Content thee, gentle coz, let him alone, he bears him like a portly gentleman; and, to say truth, Verona brags of him to be a virtuous and well-govern’d youth.  I would not for the wealth of all this town here in my house do him disparagement” (page 67, lines 65-70)
  • Tybalt is disgusted by Capulet’s weakness, and leaves the party in a rage

Act I, Scene 5

  • Romeo decides he should leave as well, but first he stops to speak at least a word to Juliet.
  • Dressed as a pilgrim to the Holy Land, Romeo addresses Juliet in character, pretending that he has just come upon a most holy shrine. They exchange pleasantries and Juliet, equally smitten with the handsome Romeo, grants him a kiss.
  • Juliet is promptly called away by her mother, and Romeo learns from the Nurse that she is the daughter of his father’s enemy, Capulet.
  • Act I, Scene 5

    • Deeply troubled by this knowledge,
      Romeo exits the hall with Benvolio and Capulet’s other guests.
    • When everyone has left, Juliet probes the Nurse for information about the stranger with whom she has fallen madly in love.
    • The Nurse tells her that his name is Romeo and he is a Montague.
    • Like Romeo, Juliet is grieved to hear such news and she cries: “My only love sprung from my only hate!/Too early seen unknown, and known too late!” (page 71, lines 138-139)

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