Romeo and Juliet Act I notes
Prologue • Who? Montagues and Capulets • Where? Verona • What’s going to happen to the children? They’re going to DIE! • How long is it going to take to do this play? Two hours…for us it’s going to take DAYS • Fate- in Shakespeare’s time, most ppl believed that fate, not humans, determine their destiny.
Act I Scene 1 • We meet Sampson and Gregory in the market place. • Sampson and Gregory want to start a fight with the Montagues. We learn that Sampson is quite cocky yet can’t follow through with his talk. • Sampson bites his thumb at Abram, which causes an argument.
Act I Scene 1 • Benvolio tries to break up the fight, but Tybalt steps in to restart the fight with him. • Both Lord Montague and Lord Capulet come out to join this fight. • Prince arrives and breaks up the fight. He declares that if they fight again, they will be killed.
Act I Scene 1 • Lord M tells Benvolio that he was glad that Romeo wasn’t here and wanted to know who started the fight. • Benvolio tells Lord M that Tybalt did and he saw Romeo this morning but did not go after him. • They all notice that Romeo is sad but do not know why.
Act I Scene 1 • It’s Benvolio’s job to find out R’s dilemma. • Through the discussion, Benvolio finds out that Romeo is in love with a woman, who vows to live “chaste” and does not love him in return. • Benvolio advises him to forget about her and to look at other women, but Romeo refuses to compare others to someone as beautiful as she is.
Act I Scene 2 • We meet Lord Capulet with County Paris. • LC tells Paris that he can marry Juliet for another two years. BTW, she’s almost 14! • Paris says that’s it ok to marry her that young, but LC tells him that she’s the only child he has left. • LC retracts his previous decision and tells Paris that if he can get Juliet’s heart then he has LC’s consent to marry her.
Act I Scene 2 • LC plans to hold a party so that Paris and Juliet can meet and see if they like each other. • LC sends his illiterate servant through town to notify ppl of his party. Everyone except the Montagues… • The servant leaves and runs into Benvolio and Romeo, who are arguing about why Romeo should meet new women.
Act I Scene 2 • The servant misunderstands Romeo at first b/c R says it’s his misfortune that he can read if he knows the language. • After reading the letter, Romeo is informed by the servant of who is master is and is invited to the party. • The situation involving the letter is an example of .
Act I Scene 2 • Benvolio suggests that they go to the party so that he may show Romeo the many beauties of Verona. • Romeo says he’ll go just so he can see Rosaline, the woman with whom he’s in love! Ha…you thought it was Juliet! • Benvolio says he’ll show Romeo how to compare women since he hasn’t done so with Rosaline.
Act I Scene 3 • At the Capulet house, people are getting ready for the party. • Lady Capulet tries to tell her daughter important news but cannot do so due to her inadequacies as an absentee mom. • She has the Nurse, whom Juliet trusts most, stay with them. • The Nurse intervenes with comic relief during a serious conversation about marriage. She’ll do this a lot!
Act I Scene 3 • Lady Capulet reveals that Paris wants to marry her, but Juliet reveals that she really hasn’t thought about marriage. • Lady C says that she was married and had a baby by Juliet’s age. • Lady C and the Nurse try to convince Juliet that Paris is the perfect, handsome gentleman, the best in Verona.
Act I Scene 3 • Juliet says that she’ll meet Paris but won’t consider him any more until they meet. • The Nurse tells her to go and be happy tonight so that happy days will come (i.e. Hang out with Paris because she may like him and get married to him).
Act I Scene 4 • Setting: At night on Verona’s street • Romeo, Benvolio, Mercutio and crew are going to the Capulet party. • Benvolio tells Romeo to chill b/c they’re crashing a party and that all they’re going to do is dance and have a good time. • Romeo is still sad and Mercutio, his friend, tries to cheer him up.
Act I Scene 4 • Mercutio tells R to cheer up and calls him a lover who wins over hearts. • R says, “I have a soul of lead…” this means. • They argue about why they should or should not go. R’s excuse is that it’s not a smart idea to go to the Capulet house. • Romeo also says that he dreamt a dream.
Act I Scene 4 • This is the most important part of the play. Mercutio’s Queen Mab speech on pg • He says that Queen Mab is smaller than a fairy and does all sorts of things to people when they sleep like giving sweet dreams or fearful nightmares and blisters to those who offend her. The whole point to his speech is to tell R how silly dreams are and to not take them seriously.
Act I Scene 4 • Romeo says he’s afraid of something that Fate has control over. He foresees his death if he goes to this party but decides to go ahead and go if that’s what Fate has set for him. • Here again, evidence of how the Elizabethan ppl revered and hated Fate, something they thought they couldn’t control.
Act I Scene 5 • Shakespeare adds in the servants for a little light humor to show what goes on among servants. • Lord Capulet talks to people and gets them to get up and dance. • Romeo notices a beautiful girl, Juliet, but he doesn’t know it’s her! • If we know something that Romeo doesn’t know, this is irony
Act I Scene 5 • Tybalt notices Romeo by the sound of his voice and tries to go over to start a fight, but Lord Capulet stopped him. • LC tells him that Romeo is known throughout Verona as a good kid and to leave him alone. • LC and Tybalt argue about Romeo’s presence and LC wins and tells T to get over it! T says that he’ll get his revenge.
Act I Scene 5 • Romeo approaches Juliet and tries to woo her. She realizes his game. • In this section, you have the pilgrims’ hands speech. Pilgrims traveled to faraway places such as Canterbury to be absolved of their sins. If a pilgrim kissed a saint’s hands or feet, he/she could be absolved of that sin. Romeo= Pilgrim Juliet=Saint • They kiss twice. Once to give the sin to Juliet and the other to get the sin back from Juliet
Act I Scene 5 • At the end of this scene, the Nurse told Romeo who Juliet is; she also said whoever marries Juliet will be rich! • Likewise as Juliet is coyly asking the nurse who certain gentlemen are as they leave, the nurse tells her that the man who would not dance is Romeo. • Juliet declares her love for Romeo without even knowing him!