Note: Using this as an "into" for the play will be especially helpful for ELLs in becoming more comfortable with the language of this play. Prepare for this oral/choral reading by having the whole class recite the "all" passages together, preferably twice, then having pairs of students, preferably mixed ability, practice their individual #1 through #18 "parts" before the oral/choral reading.
ROMEO & JULIET
Teacher: The minute this play begins, you know that there are two families in a town in northern Italy named
all: Fair Verona!
They hate each other, and this hatred is old and bitter. Folks are yelling
all: Down with the Capulets!
while other folks are yelling
all: Down with the Montagues!
There is a brawl so violent that the Prince of the town has to come out and lay down the law.
all: If ever you disturb our streets again,
Your lives will pay the forfeit of the peace!
Then we see Romeo wandering around and learn that he has been staying out all night and sleeping all day because he is
all: In Love!
with a lady named "Rosaline," who does not love him back. And we meet "the boys" -- Romeo's friends Benvolio and Mercutio -- who are headed for a party at
all: The Capulets!
It's a masked ball, so they can sneak in wearing costumes and no one at the ball will know that they are from the hated
Benvolio is excited because going to this ball will give Romeo a chance to get over his infatuation with the proud and aloof Lady Rosaline.
#1: GIVE LIBERTY TO YOUR EYES. EXAMINE OTHER BEAUTIES!
When the boys arrive in disguise, Lord Capulet does not recognize them as his enemies
all: the Montagues!
and so welcomes them.
#2: YOU ARE WELCOME, GENTLEMEN! COME, MUSICIANS, PLAY!
It is at this party that Romeo first sees young Juliet. He does not realize that she is the daughter of his hated host. He is blown away by her beauty!
#3: O SHE DOTH TEACH THE TORCHES TO BURN BRIGHT!
They dance. They kiss. Juliet says:
#4: YOU KISS BY THE BOOK
Only at the end of the party do they learn that the other is one of the "enemy."
But they don't feel like enemies. After the party, Romeo escapes from his buddies, climbs the wall into the Capulet family orchard, and delivers his famous lines:
#5: BUT SOFT, WHAT LIGHT THROUGH YONDER WINDOW BREAKS?
Juliet comes out on the balcony. Without knowing that Romeo is right below her, she says:
all: O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name
And I'll no longer be a Capulet!
They talk passionately of love, but then Juliet hears her mother calling. Romeo says:
#6: WILT THOU LEAVE ME SO UNSATISFIED?
Juliet is no fool. She replies:
all: If that thy bent of love be honorable,
Thy purpose marriage, send me word tomorrow.
You would think that marriage between these two would be unthinkable because of the feud between their families.
all: But Love is Love!
They enlist the help of Juliet's nurse and Friar Lawrence, a local member of the clergy who hopes their union will bring an end to the feud. In secret, Friar Lawrence marries them. But the families, knowing nothing of this marriage, continue their feud. In the town square, Tybalt
all: A Capulet!
and a hot-headed cousin of Juliet's, comes looking for a fight with
all: A Montague!
Romeo's equally hot-headed friend Mercutio takes him on, saying:
#7: TYBALT, YOU RAT-CATCHER, WILL YOU WALK?
Tybalt yells back:
#8: I AM FOR YOU!
They fight. Mercutio dies and Tybalt flees. But look:
all: Here comes the furious Tybalt back again!
Romeo will not let his friend Mercutio die in vain. Even though Tybalt is Juliet's cousin, Romeo kills him, and regrets it almost immediately. In despair over his action, he laments:
#9: O, I AM FORTUNE'S FOOL!
all: Of Fair Verona!
banishes Romeo to the nearby town on Mantua, but before Romeo leaves, he spends a night with Juliet. As he leaves, he says:
#10: THEN WINDOW, LET DAY IN, AND LET LIFE OUT!
But moments after Romeo leaves, Juliet's mother enters to inform her daughter that Lord Capulet has arranged for Juliet to marry an older man named Count Paris, a local nobleman. She expects her daughter will be very happy with this news, telling her that:
all: Early next Thursday morn,
The gallant, young and noble gentleman
The County Paris, at Saint Peter's Church
Shall happ'ly make thee there a joyful bride!
But even though Juliet has been an obedient daughter in the past, she says:
#11: NOW BY SAINT PETER'S CHURCH, AND PETER TOO
HE SHALL NOT MAKE ME THERE A JOYFUL BRIDE!
Her father does not like his daughter's tone of voice one bit. He says:
#12: HANG THEE YOUNG BAGGAGE! DISOBEDIENT WRETCH!
Juliet is desperate. With the help of Friar Lawrence, she comes up with a plan to take a special drink that will make her appear to be dead. That way her parents will put her body in the family tomb, and after that Friar Lawrence will fetch her and take her to Romeo in Mantua.
As Juliet drinks the special potion, she says:
#13: ROMEO, I COME! THIS DO I DRINK TO THEE!
It works. Juliet's nurse and her mother Lady Capulet find her in the morning.
#14 & 15: ALACK THE DAY! SHE'S DEAD! SHE'S DEAD! SHE'S DEAD!
And they put her body in the family tomb, just as Juliet and Friar Lawrence had planned.
Unfortunately, one small detail has been left out. Romeo has not heard of the plan! All he hears is that Juliet is dead.
Many people head for Juliet's tomb. Romeo, who stops to buy some poison, is going there to join Juliet in death. Friar Lawrence is going there to get Juliet and take her to Romeo. Count Paris is going there to mourn for his almost-wife.
Paris gets there first. Romeo finds him there and kills him. Count Paris says:
#16: O, I AM SLAIN!
Then Romeo sees Juliet's body and takes the poison he has brought with him, saying:
#17: HERE'S TO MY LOVE! . . THUS WITH A KISS I DIE!
Friar Lawrence arrives just too late, finding Romeo dead and Juliet just waking up. As usual, he has great advice for Juliet:
all: Come, come away.
Thy husband in thy bosom there lies dead
And Paris too. Come, I'll dispose of thee
Among a sisterhood of holy nuns!
This does not sound like any sort of a plan to Juliet. Friar Lawrence then flees from the tomb and Juliet decides to join Romeo in death. Since there is not enough left of Romeo's poison to kill her, she stabs herself, saying:
#18: O HAPPY DAGGER. THIS IS THY SHEATH!
Romeo and Juliet are found in the tomb by their feuding parents, who finally realize that their quarrels have gone too far. They vow to make peace, concluding sadly that:
all: Never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and Romeo