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Romeo And Juliet - Condensed

Home | Characters | Act I | Act II | Act III | Act IV | Act V

Act I

The play starts out with two Capulet servants, Sampson and Gregory, walking in Verona.  They spot two Montague servants and begin to mock them with verbal insults and by biting their thumbs. The four get into a fight. Benvolio, a Montague, come and draws his sword in an attempt to restore order. The Capulet Tybalt comes by at about the same time, and doesn't belive Benvolio is trying to stop the fight with his sword out. Tybalt engages in combat. Lords Capulet and Montague arrive and nearly get into a duel with one another. Prince Escalus enters and demands all fighting between the houses end by penalty of death. He asks Lord Capulet to meet with him on the issue, and tells Lord Montague to come by later to have the same discussion.

Lady Montague asks Benvolio if he's seen Romeo. Benvolio says he'd seen Romeo sulking around a grove of trees. They discuss how something seemed to be bothering him, and Benvolio goes to find out what. Romeo tells him that he is in love with Rosaline, but she doesn't love him back. Benvolio suggests he look for someone else, but Romeo refuses. 

Lord Capulet is walking through Verona with Paris, discussing marraige between Paris and Juliet. Lord Capulet tells Paris to come to his ball that night to woo Juliet. He gives the list of invitations to his servant, who cannot read. As the Capulet servant is walking away, he passes by Benvolio and Romeo. Unaware that they are Montagues, he askes them to read the list for him. Romeo does, and the servant says they are welcome to attend as long as they are not Montagues. Benvolio encourages Romeo to meet other women there, and Romeo agrees to attend because Rosaline's name was on the list. 

Lady Capulet is speaking with Juliet about marraige, mentioning Paris in a positive tone. Juliet agrees to 'feel him out' at the party to see if he'd be right for her. A servant announces the beginning of the feast.

Benvolio, Romeo, and Mercutio are on their way to the party. Romeo is still sulking, and Mercutio is trying to cheer him up.  Mercutio becomes too involved, and Romeo steps in to calm him down. Benvolio then turns their attention back to getting to the feast.

The Montague crowd arrives at the party and gains entrence.  It is crowded and energetic, and Capulet is going around his groups of friends encouraging all to have a good time. Romeo spots Juliet from across the room. He forgets all about Rosaline, and believes he has fallen in love with this stranger. Romeo begins moving around the room trying to get to her. Tybalt spots him and recognizes he is a Montague. He is about to make a scene when Lord Capulet stops him, not wanting to have his party crashed. Tybalt decides to himself to get revenge later. Romeo finds Juliet and convinces her to kiss him. They kiss twice before the Nurse comes to get Juilet as her mother wishes to speak with her. Romeo asks the Nurse what Juliet's name is, and discovers she is a Capulet. Juliet asks the Nurse who Romeo was, and finds out he is a Montague. Both are stunned.