Romeo and Juliet – Act 5, Scene 3 – Scene Summary

Romeo and Juliet

Act 5, Scene 3

Scene Summary

Characters: Paris, Romeo, Balthasar, Juliet, Friar Lawrence, Watchmen, Captain of the watch, Capulet, Lady Capulet, Prince, Montague, Page

Time: Friday night

Location: Churchyard in Verona, Capulet tomb

Scene Summary: On Friday night the Capulet tomb has visitors – the County Paris and his Page, Paris has kept his vow of coming to Juliet’s grave and bringing flowers and scented water to spread amongst the tomb. Before sending his Page away, Paris tells him to put the torch out so that he cannot be seen and to stay hidden, if the Page sees anyone arriving he is to signal Paris by whistling. Once Paris is alone he speaks to himself about how he is almost afraid to stand alone in the graveyard but he will take the risk ” I am almost afraid to stand alone Here in the churchyard. Yet I will adventure”. After Paris reaches the Capulet tomb his Page whistles to warn him that someone is approaching, he hides in the shadows while Romeo and Balthasar approach the Capulet tomb. As Romeo and Balthasar reach the graveyard, Romeo gives Balthasar a letter for his father with instructions of delivering it to him early in the morning. Unaware of his master’s plan, Balthasar, obediently takes the letter and hands, Romeo, a mattock, torch and wrenching iron. Romeo tells Balthasar to stay away from him and threatens to tear him apart limb from limb if he interrupts him in his course, Balthasar gets the message and tells Romeo that he will not interrupt his plan, he gives Balthasar money before leaving him at the Capulet tomb. Despite Romeo’s wishes, Balthasar does not leave the churchyard and decides to hide nearby, sleeping under a yew tree. Paris sees Romeo at the Capulet tomb and approaches him “Can vengeance be pursued further than death? Condemnèd villain, I do apprehend thee. Obey and go with me, for thou must die”. As Paris reaches Romeo he says that Romeo must obey and come with him to die, at first Romeo speaks cautiously to Paris and tries to get him to leave “I must indeed, and therefore came I hither. Good gentle youth, tempt not a desperate man. Fly hence and leave me. Think of these gone. Let them affright thee. I beseech thee, youth, Put not another sin upon my head By urging me to fury. O, be gone! By heaven, I love thee better than myself, For I come hither armed against myself. Stay not, be gone. Live, and hereafter say A madman’s mercy bid thee run away”. Paris refuses Romeo’s attempts at getting him to leave safely without a fight, clearly, Romeo’s mind is not in a stable state in this scene. Paris tells Romeo that he refuses and immediately Romeo puts up a fight and intends to win even though he does not want to commit another crime. Page sees the fight taking place from the shadows and disappears to go fetch the watchmen. The end result of the fight between Romeo and Paris is the death of County Paris, whose dying wish is to be laid beside Juliet in the Capulet tomb, Romeo does so before entering the tomb himself. Romeo comments on how even though Juliet is dead her beauty stills fills her tomb with light and even though death has sucked the honey out of her breath she has not yet been conquered for there is still colour in her face “For here lies Juliet, and her beauty makes This vault a feasting presence full of light”. Inside the Capulet tomb, Romeo expresses some of his innermost thoughts about Juliet’s beauty, death being in love with her so that the monster can make her his mistress and what better favour for Tybalt than to kill the man with the same hand that made him die so young “Tybalt, liest thou there in thy bloody sheet? O, what more favor can I do to thee, Than with that hand that cut thy youth in twain To sunder his that was thine enemy?”. Romeo talks about auspicious stars which relate back to earlier in the play when Romeo talks about him and Juliet being star-crossed lovers. Moments before Romeo drinks his poison he yet again refers to himself as a ship at sea, this time crashing the sea-weary ship into the rocks “Come, bitter conduct, come, unsavoury guide. Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on The dashing rocks thy seasick, weary bark”. Romeo kisses Juliet and ends his life by drinking the potion moments before Friar Lawrence arrives at the tomb and Juliet slowly wakes up. Friar Lawrence hurries to the tomb adding that he keeps stumbling on gravestones as if they are things in his way, the Friar sees Balthasar and asks him how long Romeo has been inside of the grave for, Balthasar tells him half an hour while the Friar hurries over to the tomb. As the Friar leaves Balthasar’s presence he speaks about a dream he had while sleeping underneath the yew tree, that his master was fighting with another man and his master killed his opponent. Arriving at the Capulet tomb, the Friar has come to fetch Juliet and instead finds Romeo and Paris both dead in the tomb and Juliet awakening. Juliet awakens from her forty-two-hour long sleep to find herself among her ancestors and the Friar, she asks where her husband is not realising that he is dead beside her. Friar Lawrence hears some noises outside of the tomb and tells Juliet to quickly get up and come with him, he makes plans to place her among a sisterhood of holy nuns. Juliet will not get out of the tomb and sees Romeo’s cup of poison in his hand she makes a comment about him not leaving her even a drop of poison, she then decides to kiss her true love’s lips. When Juliet realises that the poison on Romeo’s lips will not be enough she stabs herself in the chest with a dagger. The head of the watch arrives with the Page and comments on what a pitiful sight the scene of the killings looks, he sends the Page to awaken the Montagues, Capulets, The Prince and others to help search for witnesses. The watchmen return with Friar Lawrence and Balthasar, the only two witnesses that were in the churchyard. The Prince, Capulet and Lady Capulet enter the churchyard, Lady Capulet makes a comment about people crying out in the streets for Romeo, Paris and Juliet and a riot heading toward their monument. The head watchman explains to the Prince what he knows has happened and that the two witnesses Friar Lawrence and Balthasar were carrying tools that could have been used to open the tomb. Montague arrives and makes a statement about his son not having manners and for it not being right for his son to push past his father on the way to his grave. When Friar Lawrence gets questioned by the Prince he explains everything about his plan, the secret marriage, Friar John and the letter being unable to be delivered, and what he experienced that night in the churchyard. The Friar gives himself up and says that he should be the one punished as he was involved the most “Miscarried by my fault, let my old life Be sacrificed some hour before his time Unto the rigor of severest law”. Balthasar hands over the letter that Romeo gave him for his father to the Prince which confirms the Friars entire story of the events. The Prince explains to Montague and Capulet what their feud has done to the inhabitants of Verona, the deaths between their two families and that their two children are the sacrifices of the rivalry between the two enemies. Capulet and Montague join hands and the ancient grudge has ended, they talk about raising statues in pure gold of their two children who died for love. Lady Montague is not present in this scene and it turns out that she died from the grief of her son’s death. The Prince ends the play by speaking up, saying that they will meet and he will decide who will be punished and pardoned “A glooming peace this morning with it brings. The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head. Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things. Some shall be pardoned, and some punishèd For never was a story of more woe Than this of Juliet and her Romeo”.

Quote: Prince “That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love!”

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