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Free Study Guide: Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare - Free BookNotes

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ROMEO AND JULIET: FREE STUDY GUIDE / BOOK SUMMARY

LITERARY ELEMENTS

SETTING

The play is set in the thirteenth or fourteenth century in Italy in Verona and Mantua. Much of the action takes place in Julietís house. Two cities of Venice are also mentioned in the play. The Capulets and the Montagues, the main families of the play, are from noble lineage and wealth; they dress well, live in fancy surroundings, and are served by many attendants. The playís basic setting, therefore, is rich and elegant.


CHARACTER LIST

Major Characters

Romeo
The hero and one of the protagonists of Romeo and Juliet. The son of Old Montague, he is at first in love with Lord Capuletís niece, Rosaline. When he goes to a feast given by Capulet, he attends the feast in a mask, meets Capuletís daughter Juliet, falls in love with her, and becomes passionate and impulsive.

Juliet
The heroine and one of the protagonists of the play. She is the thirteen-year-old daughter of Capulet. She is a happy, romantic, and an innocent girl who falls in love with Romeo.

Friar Lawrence
The person who is responsible for helping Romeo and Juliet. He is a good man with good intentions.


Nurse
A friend, guide, confidante, and educator of Juliet. She has raised Juliet and is truly fond of her. She is a realist, who is fond of talking and joking. She often provides comic relief to the play.

Minor Characters

The Montagues
One of the two major families of Verona. They are bitter enemies of the Capulets.

The Capulets
One of the two major families of Verona. They are bitter enemies of the Montagues.

Escalus
The Prince of Verona. He is tired of the fighting in his city and threatens anyone who disturbs the peace with death.

Paris
A young nobleman and kinsman of the Prince. He is handsome and courteous and favorable to the Capulets. They arrange for Juliet to marry him since they do not realize she is married to Romeo.

Benvolio
A nephew of Montague and a friend of Romeo.

Mercutio
A relative of the Prince, who relies on satire and serves as comic relief to the melancholy mood of Romeo. He is responsible for making the young lovers aware of the practical aspects of love.

Tybalt
Lady Capuletís nephew, who is quick to anger. He constantly provokes Romeo to fight. In the end, Romeo kills him.

Friar John
A Friar in the same church as Friar Lawrence. He is sent to deliver a message to Romeo in Mantua about Friar Lawrenceís plan for the lovers.

Lady Capulet
The young wife of Capulet, who has an ugly temper. She is humbled by the death of her daughter Juliet.

Lady Montague
The wife of Montague who hates the violence that plagues Verona. When she learns of the suicide of her son Romeo, she grieves herself to death and becomes another victim of the old family conflict.

Balthazar
Servant to Romeo.

Samson and Gregory
Servants to the Capulets.

Peter
Servant to Julietís nurse. He helps keep the family quarrel alive.

Abraham
Servant to the Montagues. He also helps keep the family quarrel alive.


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Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare: Free BookNotes Summary


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