Romeo and Juliet


Romeo and Juliet is one of the most well known love stories which actually is a tragedy written by Shakespeare. The two young lovers with the names mentioned in the title belonged to two families who hated one another. Their love was able to bring about reconciliation between the two families but only after the two had lost their lives.

The major characters of the play, basically, belong to three groups. The first group includes characters like Prince Escalus, the ruling prince of Verona; Count Paris, a kinsman who wished to marry Juliet; and, Mercutio, another kinsman and Romeo’s friend. These characters form a group representing the ruling house of Verona. The second group is that of the characters belonging to the house of Capulet. It includes Juliet; her father, Capulet; her mother; her mother’s nephew Tybalt; her personal attendant, the Nurse; Lord Capulet’s niece, Rosaline, whom Romeo loved at the beginning; and, the servants of the house Peter, Sampson and Gregory. The third group includes the members of House of Montague. This group includes Romeo; his father, Montague; his mother, Lady Montague; his cousin Benvolio, who is also his best friend; and the servants of the household, Abram and Balthasar. There are some characters other than these also which include Friar Laurence who is Romeo’s confidant also; Friar John; An Apothecary; and, the chorus.

The play is based on the enmity of Montague and Capulet families which went to the extent that Prince Escalus of Paris had to intervene and declare a death penalty in case of any further brawl on the part of any member of the two families. Count Paris wished to marry Juliet but her father asked him to wait for two years. Juliet’s mother and her nurse tried to persuade Juliet to accept the match.

Romeo and Juliet in balconyRomeo had been quite depressed and Benvolio realizes that it was because of his infatuation for Rosaline, Capulet’s niece. He gets ready to attend the ball to be organized at the Capulet house on being persuaded by Benvolio and Mercutio. He hoped of meeting Rosaline there but, instead, met Juliet and fell in love with her. Romeo gets identified at the ball by Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin, but Capulet avoids bloodshed. Following that is the famous ‘balcony scene’ where Romeo overhears Juliet’s confession to her love for him. Romeo confronts her and they decide to get married. Friar Laurence helps them to do that secretly in hope of reconcilement between the two families.

Tybalt, still infuriated, challenges Romeo for a duel but the latter refuses to fight. Mercutio accepts the challenge on Romeo’s behalf and gets fatally wounded. Romeo, in the heat of emotions, fights with and kills Tybalt. The Prince banishes Romeo pronouncing death penalty in case of his return. Romeo spends the night secretly in Juliet’s chamber.

Juliet’s father decides to marry her off to Count Paris. He threatens to disown her when she refused. Her mother also did not support her. She went to Friar Laurence for help who gives her a potion that would put her in a death like situation for 24 hours. He also plans to inform Romeo of the plan.

She is kept in family crypt when discovered to be dead. Romeo does not get the message regarding the plan and, instead, comes to know of Juliet’s apparent death. He buys poison and goes to the crypt. He confronts Paris there who gets engaged in fight with Romeo. Paris gets killed in the battle. Romeo consumes poison still thinking Juliet to be dead. Juliet awakens and kills herself with a dagger after finding Romeo dead. The families find the three dead and they, finally, reconcile with one another. The play ends with Prince’s elegy dedicated to the lovers.

Objective / Multiple Choice Questions

1. Which of these works is not based on the same story as the other three?

  1. Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare
  2. The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet by Arthur Brooke
  3. Palace of Pleasure by William Pinter
  4. Pyramus and Thisbe by Ovid


2. During which of these periods is ‘Romeo and Juliet’ believed to have been written?

  1. 1591-1595
  2. 1585-1590
  3. 1595-1600
  4. None of these


3. When was ‘Romeo and Juliet’ first published?

  1. 1590
  2. 1592
  3. 1597
  4. 1602


4. Which of the following is the most appropriate list of the most unique elements used by Shakespeare as a dramatist:

  1. Sub-plot, comic relief, importance to minor characters, death of most of major characters at the end
  2. Chorus, Songs, Sub plot, death of most of major characters at the end
  3. Chorus, comic relief, importance to minor characters, death of most of major characters at the end
  4. Sub-plot, comic relief, family feuds, death of most of major characters at the end


5. Which of these writers re-created ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and imparted a happy ending to it?

  1. William Davenant
  2. David Garrick
  3. George Benda
  4. Carlo Carlei


6. The chorus in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ reads a prologue:

  1. Only at the beginning of the 1st Act
  2. At the beginning of first 2 Acts
  3. At the beginning of each of the Acts
  4. At the beginning of each of the scenes


7. Romeo went to attend the ball organized at the Capulet house because:

  1. He had been invited to attend the ball
  2. He wanted to meet Rosaline since he loved her
  3. He wanted to meet Juliet since he loved her
  4. He wanted to see Juliet since he had heard a lot about her beauty


8. Romeo was identified at the ball by:

  1. Capulet
  2. Tybalt
  3. Benvolio
  4. Paris


9. Which of these characters did not get killed by Romeo?

  1. Tybalt
  2. Paris
  3. Capulet
  4. All of these got killed by Romeo


10. Which of these was the kinsman who wished to marry Juliet?

  1. Paris
  2. Mercutio
  3. Escalus
  4. Capulet


11. Which of these is not a member of the house of Capulet?

  1. The Nurse
  2. Rosaline
  3. Peter
  4. Mercutio


12.Which of the following is not a members of House of Montague?

  1. Benvolio
  2. Abram
  3. Balthasar
  4. Gregory


13. Who accepted Tybalt’s challenge for a duel on behalf of Romeo?

  1. Mercutio
  2. Benvolio
  3. Peter
  4. Montague


14. The Prince banished Romeo because:

  1. Juliet’s father had complained against him
  2. He had been treacherous to Rosaline
  3. He had had a confrontation with a kinsman
  4. He had killed Juliet’s cousin


15When the Prince banished Romeo:

  1. Romeo spent the night in Juliet’s chamber
  2. Romeo asked for forgiveness and was forgiven
  3. Romeo left Verona
  4. Nothing has been mentioned clearly in the play

Answer Keys

  1. d
  2. a
  3. c
  4. a
  5. c
  6. b
  7. b
  8. b
  9. c
  10. a
  11. d
  12. d
  13. a
  14. d
  15. a

Further Reading

Full Text of Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet in Wikipedia

Study notes on SparkNotes