Romeo and Juliet Act 5 Scenes 1 to 3 Summary

Antonia Blankenberg
Note by , created almost 2 years ago

The tragic end of Romeo and Juliet plays out in Act 5 with the death of Romeo followed by the death of Juliet. Find out more about how the action unfolds with this scene by scene study note.

Antonia Blankenberg
Created by Antonia Blankenberg almost 2 years ago
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Page 1

Act 5 - Scene 1

Romeo wakes up after a dream in which he died and Juliet's kiss brought him back to life.    Romeo's servant, Balthasar, enters and Romeo asks him if he has news from Verona. Romeo comments that nothing can be ill in the world if Juliet is well. He tells Romeo that Juliet has been found dead in her home.   Romeo is shocked and plans to go back to Verona immediately. He proceeds to the apothecary and demands a poison to be sold to him so that if Juliet is dead, then he can take it to be with her.   Analysis: Romeo's soliloquy at the beginning of this scene is full of dramatic irony because the dream anticipates the play's final scene when Juliet awakes in the tomb to find Romeo dead and tries to kiss the poison from his lips.   As fate meddles in Romeo's life, his melodramatic idealism gives way to defiant anger, "I defy you stars!". Romeo rages against the influence of fate. Romeo lamented being "fortune's fool" at the beginning of the play, but now he acts out of frustration and anger.   Haste acts as a vehicle for fate to draw characters through a series of unfortunate coincidences that form the intricately intertwined plot of Romeo and Juliet. Romeo's hasty reaction to Mercutio's death causes his banishment; Capulet's rash decision to move up the wedding day causes Romeo to miss the message from the Friar; and later, Romeo's haste to consume the poison causes him to die just prior to Juliet's awakening.   Important Quotes: "Is it e'en so? Then I defy you, stars!" - Romeo   "Well, Juliet, I will lie with thee tonight. Let’s see for means. O mischief, thou art swift To enter in the thoughts of desperate men!" - Romeo

Page 2

Act 5 - Scene 2

Friar Lawrence asks his friend, Friar John, whether he has delivered the letter to Romeo. He reveals that he was under quarantine for the plague and couldn't deliver the letter to him.    Friar Lawrence becomes upset, realising that if Romeo doesn't know about Juliet’s false death, there will be no one to retrieve her from the tomb when she awakens from the potion.   He then hurries to the Capulet tomb to ensure that Juliet is awoken and does not leave the tomb.   Analysis: What happens to Friar John is another example of the force of fate within Romeo and Juliet.    The scene is driven by an overwhelming sense of desperation as the Friar returns to the Capulet tomb to awaken Juliet.   Important Quotes: "Now must I to the monument alone. Within this three hours will fair Juliet wake. She will beshrew me much that Romeo Hath had no notice of these accidents. But I will write again to Mantua, And keep her at my cell till Romeo come. Poor living corpse, closed in a dead man’s tomb!" - Friar Lawrence

Page 3

Act 5 - Scene 3

Paris arrives at the Capulet tomb to lay flowers at Juliet's grave. His page warns him that someone is approaching and they hide in the bushes outside the tomb. Romeo enters, planning to break into the tomb to be with Juliet.    Paris, thinking that he has come to desecrate the bodies in the tomb, confronts Romeo. Romeo tries to warn Paris off, but Paris challenges Romeo and they fight. Paris becomes wounded and dies, asking for his body to be placed near Juliet's in the tomb. Romeo descends into the tomb carrying Paris’ body. He finds Juliet lying peacefully, and wonders how she can still look as if she were not dead at all. He kisses her and drinks the poison, dying within moments.   The Friar enters, seeing the dead bodies of Paris and Romeo on the floor. Juliet awakens, instantly asking where Romeo is. Upon seeing the bodies of Romeo and Paris, she resolves to remain in the tomb. The Friar soon hears watchmen approaching and asks Juliet to leave with him. She refuses and he leaves her alone in the tomb.   She is horrified to see Romeo dead beside her, trying to drink some of the poison from Romeo's vial. Finding it empty, she tries to kiss some poison from his lips. Hearing the night watchman approach, Juliet fatally stabs herself with Romeo's dagger.   The Prince and the Capulets enter the tomb where Romeo, Juliet, and Paris are discovered dead. Montague arrives, declaring that Lady Montague has died of grief for Romeo’s exile. The Prince acknowledges the Friar's good interests and instead lays the blame for the deaths squarely on Montague and Capulet for their longstanding quarrel. The two families are finally reconciled as the Prince ends the play by saying, "For never was a story of more woe / Than this of Juliet and her Romeo".   Analysis: This last scene takes place in the dark of night. Up until now, Romeo and Juliet's relationship flourished at night and they each provided the other with light. In his final speech, Romeo uses light and dark imagery to describe Juliet as she acts as a source of light in the darkness of the tomb.   When Romeo is struck by the way Juliet's beauty appears to defy death, tension rises, the audience all know that she is, in fact, alive and well.    Romeo and Juliet's parallel consumption of mysterious potions lends their deaths a peaceful symmetry, which is broken by Juliet’s dramatic dagger stroke.   Juliet stabs herself with Romeo's dagger, an image symbolizing the reconsummation of their marriage. Thus as they die in pursuit of reunion, they symbolically reconsummate their marriage, leaving their bodies as monuments to the depth of their love as well as signs of the tragic waste that is the feud between their families.   Important Quotes: "Death, that hath sucked the honey of thy breath, Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty. Thou art not conquered. Beauty’s ensign yet Is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks, And death’s pale flag is not advancèd there." - Romeo   " Eyes, look your last. Arms, take your last embrace. And, lips, O you The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss A dateless bargain to engrossing death." - Romeo   "O churl, drunk all, and left no friendly drop To help me after? I will kiss thy lips. Haply some poison yet doth hang on them, To make me die with a restorative." - Juliet   "O happy dagger, This is thy sheath. There rust and let me die." - Juliet   "A glooming peace this morning with it brings. The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head. Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things. Some shall be pardoned, and some punishèd. For never was a story of more woe Than this of Juliet and her Romeo." - The Prince