For years, a feud raged between the powerful Capulet and Montague families in the Italian city of Verona. It escalated to the point where chance encounters often led to immediate fighting.
One day, the old Lord Capulet hosted a banquet, inviting all the noble men and desirable women of Verona. Among them was Rosaline, who was loved by Romeo, the son of the old Lord Montague. Although it was extremely dangerous for a Montague to attend the feast, Romeo’s friend Benvolio convinced him to wear a mask and go. This would allow Romeo to see Rosaline and compare her to the most beautiful women in Verona. Benvolio believed this would cure Romeo of his love, as Rosaline always treated him with contempt and it pained his friend. However, Romeo was passionate and even had sleepless nights over his love for her.
Masked, Romeo and Benvolio went to the feast along with their friend Mercutio. The old Capulet welcomed them and showed them the dance floor. The trio started dancing, and suddenly, Romeo was captivated by the beauty of a dancing lady. Her perfection outshone the other women. As Romeo praised her, Tybalt, a nephew of Lord Capulet, recognized his voice. Blind with anger, he wanted to kill Romeo, but his uncle intervened. He didn’t want any injuries at his feast, especially since Romeo had behaved like a gentleman and was known as a decent young man. Tybalt restrained himself but swore revenge.
When the dancing ended, Romeo went to the spot where the woman stood. Under the cover of his mask, he gently took her hand and spoke flattering words to her. The woman felt flattered, and they made innuendos to each other until she was called away by her mother. Romeo asked who her mother was and realized that she was Juliet, the daughter and heiress of Lord Capulet, the Montagues’ great enemy. Without knowing it, he had lost his heart to the enemy. This troubled him, but it didn’t stop him from loving Juliet. When Juliet found out who she had been speaking with, she felt the same way. She considered it a miraculous love. Family ties demanded that she hate him, but she loved her enemy.
It was already midnight, and Romeo and his companions left the party. Romeo was soon separated from them. He couldn’t stay away from the house where he had lost his heart, so he climbed over the wall and returned. Shortly afterward, Juliet appeared at the window. Her exceptional beauty lit up his world. Juliet rested her hand on her chin, sighed deeply, and exclaimed, “Oh, I!” Romeo, who wanted to hear her speak, said softly, without Juliet hearing him, “Speak, my shining angel.”
Juliet, believing she was alone and filled with the passion born that evening, called out the name of her lover: “O Romeo, Romeo!” she said. “Why must you be Romeo? Deny your family name, or if you will not, swear your love to me, and I’ll no longer be a Capulet.”
Juliet repeated these words until Romeo could no longer resist and said, “Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptized. From now on, I am no longer Romeo if that name displeases you.” At first, Juliet was startled by the voice of a man in her garden, but she quickly recognized Romeo’s loving voice. She warned him that he was taking a great risk, and if any of her relatives saw him, he would be killed.
“Ay, there’s the rub,” said Romeo. “There is more peril in thine eye than twenty of their swords. It is better that I die by their hate than live without your love.”
Juliet thought back to her unintended confession of love to Romeo and blushed. She would have liked to play the normal game of love, keeping him at a distance so that he had to work hard to win her over. But she could not go back. Romeo had heard her confession of love. Their tender meeting was abruptly interrupted by her nurse, who said it was time for bed. Juliet quickly told Romeo that she would send a messenger to him the next day to arrange a time for the wedding if his love was true and his intentions were to marry. They wished each other goodnight and parted ways for the evening.
Romeo couldn’t sleep, so he went to visit Friar Lawrence. After some discussion, the friar agreed to marry the young couple that day, partly in the hope that the Capulet and Montague families would resolve their dispute and partly because he was very fond of Romeo. Romeo’s intentions reached Juliet via a messenger, and they were married that same morning.
After the ceremony, Juliet hurried home and eagerly awaited the evening. She had arranged to meet Romeo in the garden of her house. However, that same afternoon, Romeo’s friends got into a fight with Tybalt, who had sworn revenge on Romeo. At first, Romeo tried to calm everyone down, but when his friend Mercutio died, he lost control and killed Tybalt.
The deadly violence in the middle of the day in Verona caused consternation, and the royal house decided to take strict action. The prince decided to banish Romeo from Verona. This was terrible news for Juliet. She had just gotten married, and now, it seemed, forever separated. At first, she was angry with Romeo, but soon those turned into tears of joy that Romeo was not killed by Tybalt. Shortly after, those became tears of sadness because Romeo was banished.
Romeo was broken but was somewhat patched up by Friar Lawrence, with whom he took refuge. He advised him to stay in Mantua temporarily until the friar had found a suitable time to announce his marriage to Juliet. This could possibly lead to peace between the families, and the prince would then give him a pardon. Romeo was convinced and left Verona. The friar promised to send him letters to keep him informed of the situation.
Romeo and Juliet spent that night together, and time passed far too quickly. Just before dawn, Romeo left his beloved with a heavy heart. Juliet watched him sadly and melancholically. This was the beginning of a tragedy. Romeo had only been gone for a few days when Lord Capulet wanted to marry Juliet to Count Paris. A gallant, young, and noble man with substantial wealth. Juliet came up with all sorts of excuses to get out of the wedding, but her father refused to hear any of it.
In desperation, she went to the friar. He asked her if she was willing to do a desperate deed. She replied that she would rather be buried alive than marry Paris while her own husband was alive. The friar advised her to go home and agree to the marriage. The night before the wedding, she had to drink a potion that would make it appear as though she was dead for 42 hours. Romeo would then come to get her out of the tomb and take her to Mantua. Juliet put her fear aside and agreed to this terrible adventure.
At home, Juliet agreed to the wedding and grand celebrations were organized. On Wednesday evening, she drank the poison. She had many doubts, but her love for Romeo made her go through with it. When the young Paris came to pick up his bride the next morning, he found the lifeless body of Juliet. Everyone was deeply saddened and the wedding was turned into a grand funeral.
As bad news always travels faster than good news, news of Juliet’s death reached Romeo before a message from the monk could reach him. Romeo immediately got on his horse and bought poison from an apothecary. If the news was true, he would die with Juliet. With the poison in hand, he rode to Verona to see his wife in her tomb.
When he reached the monument and tried to break it open, a voice cried out, “Stop that!” It was the young Count Paris. Romeo warned him that he would suffer the same fate as Tybalt, but Paris wouldn’t listen and met his death. When Romeo realized, with the help of some light, who he had killed, he took him into the tomb to give him a decent burial.
Romeo walked into the tomb and saw his wife lying there. He looked at her unmatched beauty one last time and kissed her soft lips one last time before drinking the poison. And his poison was not temporary like Juliet’s. It was forever. For Juliet, the 42 hours were almost up and she would soon wake up.
The monk had discovered that his message had not reached Romeo and had come to the tomb to free Juliet. When he arrived at the monument, he found swords and blood and saw Romeo and Paris lying motionless. Before he could figure out what had happened, Juliet woke up. She remembered where she was and immediately asked for Romeo. Startled by the sound from the tomb, the monk fled. Meanwhile, Juliet found her beloved and saw the cup in his hand. She immediately guessed that he had taken poison and, if any was left, she would take it too. She heard a noise, kissed his warm lips, and stabbed herself to death with a sword. Thus, she died side-by-side with Romeo.
Meanwhile, everyone was alarmed and the Montagues and Capulets appeared at the tomb. Together with the monk and the guard, they pieced together the tragic story of the young lovers. The Montagues and Capulets decided to make peace, and the Montagues built a statue for Juliet, and the Capulets built a statue for Romeo.