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Act III The Downfall. Scene I. “A plague o'both your houses” [pg. 123] “O, I am fortune's fool!” [pg. 125] This scene is a reminder to the audience that Romeo and Juliet's lives/love affair is occurring in a male dominated society

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Act iii the downfall

Act III

The Downfall


Scene i
Scene I

  • “A plague o'both your houses” [pg. 123]

  • “O, I am fortune's fool!” [pg. 125]

  • This scene is a reminder to the audience that Romeo and Juliet's lives/love affair is occurring in a male dominated society

    • Verona's society is consumed by masculine honor, pride, and honor

  • This scene also illustrates R&J's fragile state


Scene ii
Scene II

  • Romeo and Juliet's love is tested as the conflict between the 2 families increases

  • Audience sees Juliet maturing, as she acts as a brave and loyal woman/wife

    • She states that her loyalty must remain with her husband's, not with Tybalt's

    • Juliet even reminds the nurse of where her own loyalty should lie


Scene iii
Scene III

  • The Friar remains hopefully and tries to explain to Romeo of how lucky he is

  • Romeo's passionate nature is, yet again, illustrated

    • He collapses onto the floor and throws a fit during his conversation with the Friar

    • Is completely grief stricken; refuses to see his banishment as a gift from Prince

    • Refuses to listen, threatens to kill himself


Scene iv
Scene IV

  • Capulet's reasoning for moving up Juliet's wedding date is unclear

  • Maybe Capulet wants to bring some joy to Verona after Tybalt's death...or maybe Capulet has realized that his family needs all of the political power that they can get

  • Regardless of Capulet's intentions, Juliet's powerlessness as a woman is reinforced

    • Is another reminder that women in Verona have no political or social power


Scene v
Scene V

  • Foreshadowing on pg. 159

    • Juliet: “O God, I have an ill-driven soul! Me thinks I see thee, now thou art so low, As one dead in the bottom of a tomb. Either my eyesight fails or thou lookest pale.”

    • Romeo: “And trust me, love, in my eye so do you. Dry sorrow drinks our blood. Adieu, adieu.”

    • The next time Juliet sees Romeo is right after he has committed suicide.


Scene v1
Scene V...

  • Foreshadowing: pg. 173

    • Juliet: “I'll to the Friar to know his remedy. If all else fail, myself have power to die”

  • This scene demonstrates Juliet's full maturity

    • She has transformed from girl to young woman

    • The Nurse is a symbol of Juliet's childhood

      • Juliet no longer needs the nurse.

        • Juliet will no longer seek her advice

      • She is obedient and dependent upon her husband, Romeo


Scene v2
Scene V...

  • Even though Juliet disobeys her parents, she cannot leave Verona and go live with Romeo in Mantua

    • Women had no way of leaving society

    • Juliet recognizes her powerlessness, but she does not revert back to acting like a little girl

      • She is determined to use her power any way that she can

        • Thus suicide, for Juliet, represents her desire to control and direct her own life

        • This is the assertion of authority over the self



Scene i1
Scene I

  • Friar Lawrence's character is the most scheming within the play

    • He encourages Romeo to go to Mantua

    • Stages Juliet's death

    • Secretly marries R&J

      • He is never presented as a negative character

      • Is always illustrated as a character who is wise and resourceful

      • Never takes the blame for the characters' tragic death


Scene ii1
Scene II

  • Paris's intentions with Juliet seem to be honorable and pure

    • He is somewhat of a neutral character.

    • He favors the Capulet family but only because of his love for Juliet

      • He loves Juliet but does not illustrate any discontentment with the Montagues

      • Like everyone else in the play though he does not know about R&J's relationship

      • Paris represents a real and frightening danger for Juliet


Scene iii1
Scene III

  • Once again, Juliet demonstrates her strength as she decides to follow through on her decision to drink the poison

    • She takes full responsibility for herself

    • She determines its worth to her

    • The drinking of the potion hints at future events


Scene iv1
Scene IV

  • Illustrates the emotional roller coaster throughout the play

    • Tragedy vs. comedy

    • Illustrates the complexity of human emotion

      • Life is full of both happy and sad moments

      • Is Romeo and Juliet really a tragedy?


Scene v3
Scene V

  • Paris's grief for Juliet also seems legitimate

  • The Capulet's love for Juliet is illustrated

    • This allows for character development and growth

    • Lets the audience see Lord and Lady Capulet as more complex characters

      • They truly love Juliet and want whats best for her

        • Lord Capulet has place a tremendous amount of hope into his only child


Scene v4
Scene V...

  • Peter and the musicians [pg. 205]

    • This portion of the play is often cut from performances

      • The scene seems ill placed

  • This portion of the scene illustrates another perspective onto Juliet's fake death

    • Scene is supposed to be comedic

    • As the scene progresses, it becomes clear that the servants do not really care about Juliet's death.

    • They are more concerned that they are now out of a job

    • The great tragedy in the play is not a tragedy to everyone



Scene i ii
Scene I & II

  • “Then I defy you, stars”

    • Another reference to the “star-crossed lovers”

    • Romeo's defiance against his own fate

  • Apothecary: A seller of drugs

    • The selling of poison in Mantua will lead to serious consequences

  • Friar John's character:

    • Illustrates another chance happening event


Scene i ii1
Scene I & II...

  • Illustrates the characters inability to escape their doomed fate

    • Outbreak of the plague

    • Balthasar tells Romeo of Juliet's fake death

    • Romeo also begins to recognize his doomed fate

      • Unfortunately, he only believes that he will be separated from Juliet

      • As Romeo tries to defy his destiny, he brings about his own fate


Something to think about

Throughout the play, Shakespeare consistently links the intensity of young love with suicidal impulses. Romeo's threat of suicide in scene III, for instance, clearly illustrates and foreshadows R&J's suicide in Act V. Time and time again, Shakespeare illustrates that suicide is the only response to the overwhelming experience that is brought upon by [young] love.

Something to Think About...


Scene iii2
Scene III intensity of young love with suicidal impulses. Romeo's threat of suicide in scene III, for instance, clearly illustrates and foreshadows R&J's suicide in Act V. Time and time again, Shakespeare illustrates that suicide is the only response to the overwhelming experience that is brought upon by [young] love.

  • Prince's last words...

    • “A story of more woe/ Than this of Juliet and Romeo”

  • Shakespeare pairs young love with suicide throughout the play...why?

    • Is it for dramatic effect

    • Or is it an essential element of romantic love?

  • No social or political powers have any effect on the lovers' decisions


Scene iii3
Scene III... intensity of young love with suicidal impulses. Romeo's threat of suicide in scene III, for instance, clearly illustrates and foreshadows R&J's suicide in Act V. Time and time again, Shakespeare illustrates that suicide is the only response to the overwhelming experience that is brought upon by [young] love.

  • The death of Romeo and Juliet

    • “The yoke of inauspicious stars. From this world-wearied flesh”

    • Kissing Juliet, Romeo drinks the poison and dies

    • Juliet's last words: “O happy dagger, This is thy sheath.”

    • She dies after stabbing herself with Romeo's dagger


Scene iii4
Scene III intensity of young love with suicidal impulses. Romeo's threat of suicide in scene III, for instance, clearly illustrates and foreshadows R&J's suicide in Act V. Time and time again, Shakespeare illustrates that suicide is the only response to the overwhelming experience that is brought upon by [young] love.

  • Their death transforms the world that they were just living in

  • Their death enables them to escape

  • Love conquers all/hope is not lost

  • “These violent delights have violent ends/And in their triumph die”

  • Do we as an audience feel saddened by their death?