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Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.

Romeus and Juliet

Shakespeare's primary source for Romeo and Juliet was Arthur Brooke's Romeus and Juliet, first published in 1562, two years before Shakespeare's birth, and reprinted in 1587, about eight years before the first performance of Romeo and Juliet.

The source of this online edition is:
BEING THE ORIGINAL OF SHAKESPEARE'S 'ROMEO AND JULIET' NEWLY EDITED BY J. J. MUNRO. Ed. J.J. Munro. New York: Duffield and Company; London: Chatto & Windus, 1908.

Annotated Index:
"To the Reader":
In Brooke's moralistic preface, Romeus and Juliet are examples of the bad that happens when people ignore good advice and become prisoners to their desires. (This certainly is not the message of the poem itself.)
"The Argument":
In an irregular sonnet, Brooke sums up the whole story.
Lines 1-24:
The poem opens with a description of Verona, and then Brooke tells how the woeful story makes his hair stand on end.
Lines 25-50:
The grudge between the Capulets and Montagues is, according to Brooke, just a matter of pure envy on both sides.
Lines 51-88:
Romeus falls in love and suffers. (The lady's name is never mentioned; "Rosaline" is Shakespeare's invention.)
Lines 89-140:
An older and wiser friend advises Romeus to find someone else.
Lines 141-154:
Romeus takes his friend's advice and starts to look around, but he's still not too happy.
Lines 155-308:
At the Capulets' Christmas party, Romeus meets Juliet, and they fall in love. (Tybalt is not present, and Mercutio is only someone whose cold hand makes Juliet appreciate Romeus' warm hand.)
Lines 309-340:
The party ends and Juliet has to leave, but before she leaves she pledges her love to Romeus. Afterwards, Romeus discovers that she's the daughter of the head of the Capulet family.
Lines 341-428:
From her nurse, Juliet finds out that Romeus is a Montague. She worries that he might be a deceiver, but then decides that he looked sincere, so he must be sincere. She hopes their marriage will end the quarrel between their two families.
Lines 429-516:
The morning after the party, Romeus sees Juliet at her window and greets her. Then, every night for two weeks, he comes to the garden below her window, looking for her. She is looking for him, too, and wondering if he might be dead. Finally he finds her at the window. She's concerned that he is putting his life in danger by coming there, and he answers that he'd die for her.
Lines 517-544:
Juliet tells Romeus that she loves him and will leave her family for him if he means to marry her, but if he's a deceiver, she wants him to leave her alone.
Lines 545-564:
Virtuous Romeus joyfully tells Juliet that he will marry her. He also says he will go to Friar Laurence for advice and return at the same time the next night.
Lines 565-616:
Friar Laurence is described. Romeus tells him everything. Friar Laurence tries to persuade Romeus to wait, but then agrees to marry Romeus and Juliet, partly because he thinks the marriage might end the feud between the Capulets and Montagues. Friar Laurence tells Romeus that he needs a day to make plans.
Lines 617-630:
Juliet confides in her nurse, and -- with the promise of a bribe -- gets her to act as a go-between.
Lines 631-778:
The nurse goes to Romeus, who tells her the plan. The nurse prattles on about what a beautiful baby Juliet was. Romeus gives the nurse six crowns, which makes her think he's wonderful. The nurse delivers the good news to Juliet, and happily encourages Juliet to find a good excuse for going to confession. Friar Laurence sends the nurse and another chaperone to mass, then marries Romeus and Juliet. Romeus tells Juliet to send the nurse to him to get a rope ladder, by which he will come to her room that night.
Lines 779-826:
The nurse fetches the rope ladder, and Romeus and Juliet impatiently await the night.
Lines 827-918:
Romeus leaps the garden wall and comes to Juliet. They tell each other how much they love one another. The nurse pops in to show them the way to bed. With each other, Romeus and Juliet are as happy as the gods.
Lines 919-954:
For a month or two Romeus comes every night to Juliet, and they are happy. The author reflects on the changes wrought by Fortune, and tells us that Romeus and Juliet's joy will soon turn to woe.
Lines 955-1140:
The day after Easter a band of Capulets, led by Tybalt, attacks some Montagues. Romeus appears and pleads with Tybalt to help him stop the fight, but Tybalt attacks him. Romeus kills Tybalt. Romeus is banished. Juliet mourns Tybalt's death, curses the window which Romeus used to come into her room, and blames Romeus for everything.
Lines 1141-1180:
Juliet changes her mind. She decides Romeus is innocent after all, and she is ashamed of herself for what she thought before. She falls down as if dead, but the nurse revives her.
Lines 1181-1256:
Juliet tells the nurse that she wants to die, but the nurse talks her into a better state of mind and goes to Romeus, who is hiding in Friar Laurence's cell. Meanwhile, Juliet waits between hope and despair, though hope seems to be winning out.
Lines 1257-1348:
Romeus is hiding in Friar Laurence's cell, which is described. The nurse goes to Friar Laurence who tells her that Romeus will visit Juliet that night at the same time and place. The nurse delivers the happy news to Juliet. Meanwhile, Friar Laurence tells Romeus that he has been banished, and Romeus despairs, cursing his life, Fortune, Cupid, himself, and all the world except Juliet.
Lines 1349-1480:
Friar Laurence gives Romeus good advice, telling him to be a man, take action, have fortitude in the face of misfortune, and think of all the happiness he can still have, even when he is in Mantua. Friar Laurence concludes by saying that Fortune's wheel will spin again, and Romeus may be even happier than before.
Lines 1481-1526:
Romeus takes Friar Laurence' advice, and plans to go to Juliet's room. Meanwhile, listening to the nurse has made Juliet hopeful. The author warns that great storms are to come for the lovers.
Lines 1527-1700:
Romeus comes to Juliet's room, and they cry and hug. She tries to persuade him to take her with him, disguised as his manservant, but he persuades her that it's too dangerous and promises he will return in four months. Then he will have won the forgiveness of the Prince, or he will take her away with him to a distant land. She agrees to the plan and they vow their eternal love to one another.
Lines 1701-1780:
Romeus and Juliet sadly part at dawn. (But without any mention of the nightingale or lark.) Romeus goes to Mantua and makes friends, but is extremely unhappy, both night and day.
Lines 1781-1874:
Juliet grieves so much that it worries her mother, who tells her it's time to stop mourning Tybalt. Juliet says she no longer mourns Tybalt, but doesn't reveal the source of her grief. Her mother tells her husband that she thinks Juliet is consumed with envy of her married friends, and he agrees to procure a husband for her, even though she's barely sixteen. (Not Shakespeare's thirteen.) Capulet also wants to know if Juliet already has her heart set on someone, because he doesn't want to marry her to some rich churl who will make her unhappy.
Lines 1875-1990:
Juliet's father arranges for a match with a very eligible man, County Paris. Juliet declares that she'd rather die, and her father threatens to both disown her and lock her up if she doesn't go through with the marriage he's arranged.
Lines 1991-2172:
Juliet's father and mother leave her alone in her room. She goes to Friar Laurence and tells him all. He thinks it over a little then tells her that he can solve her problem with a sleeping potion that will make her appear dead. She is to take the potion the morning of her wedding to Paris. That night Friar Laurence and Romeus will come get her out of the tomb, and she will go with Romeus to Mantua.
Lines 2173-2336:
Juliet returns to her mother and tells her that Friar Laurence has persuaded her to change her mind, and that she's now ready to marry Paris. Juliet's mother tells this to Juliet's father, who immediately arranges a meeting between Paris and Juliet. Juliet puts on such a good show that Paris is impatient for the wedding-day. Juliet tells the same lie to her nurse as she told to her mother, and the nurse thinks that marrying Paris is a good idea. The nurse's reasoning is that Romeus will never return, and if he does, Juliet will have the best of everything -- a husband and a lover. On the night before the wedding-day, Juliet sends the nurse away from her usual place beside Juliet's bed. She tells the nurse that she wants to spend the night in prayer, but that she should come to her room early to curl her hair.
Lines 2337-2402:
Alone in her room, Juliet mixes the powder she got from Friar Laurence with water to make the sleeping potion. Then she begins to fear that it won't work right, and she begins to envision the horrors of waking up in the tomb beside bloody Tybalt. Fearing that she will be overcome by her fears, Juliet quickly drinks the potion and falls in a trance.
Lines 2403-2472:
In the morning, the nurse tries to wake Juliet, then thinks she is dead, and runs to tell Juliet's mother. Juliet's mother, father, and all of the wedding guests mourn Juliet's death.
Lines 2473-2514:
Friar Laurence gives Friar John a letter for Romeus, but when Friar John arrives in Mantua and goes to a convent of his brotherhood to get a companion, he is not allowed to leave because a brother of the order had recently died of the plague. Friar John, who doesn't know what is in the letter, is worried, but thinks he can deliver the letter the next day. Meanwhile, in Verona, the preparations for a wedding have all been converted into preparations for a funeral.
Lines 2515-2610:
The author describes the funeral customs of Verona, by which the deceased is dressed in his/her best clothes and laid in the tomb of his/her family. Romeus' servant sees Juliet's funeral procession and goes to Mantua with news of her death. Romeus resolves to die beside her body. He finds a poverty-stricken apothecary and gives him fifty crowns for a poison that will kill in half an hour. Romeus sends his man back to Verona to procure tools to open the tomb and lights to show him the way to Juliet. Romeus writes a letter telling of his marriage to Juliet and his plan to kill himself at her side.
Lines 2611-2688:
Romeus comes to Verona at night and, with the help of his servant, opens the Capulet tomb. He tells his servant, who doesn't know what Romeus is about to do, to stay away and not interfere. He also tells the servant to deliver his letter to his father in the morning. Romeus kisses, embraces, and looks at Juliet. Finding no sign of life in her, he takes more than half of the poison. He tells Juliet that the best possible death is to die by her side, then sees Tybalt's corpse. He asks mercy of Tybalt, then tells him that he has his revenge for the death Romeus gave him. Romeus prays to Jesus, then dies.
Lines 2689-2808:
Friar Laurence, worried that he hasn't heard from Romeus, and knowing Juliet is about to wake up, goes to the tomb, where he finds Peter, Romeus' servant. The two go into the tomb and see that Romeus is dead. Juliet awakes and grieves. Friar Laurence and Peter are frightened by a noise and leave. Juliet grieves more and stabs herself to death. The watchmen notice a light in the tomb and investigate. They find the dead lovers in each others' arms, and then conduct a search for the murderers, whom they find and put in a dungeon for the night. (In the next section we learn that they have found Friar Laurence and Peter.)
Lines 2809-2914:
To prevent the spread of wild rumors and suspicions, the Prince orders an open inquiry. The bodies of Romeus and Juliet are laid upon a platform in public, and Friar Laurence and Peter are brought forth. In a long speech Friar Laurence says his conscience is clear, then says he will tell how and why Romeus and Juliet died.
Lines 2915-3020:
Friar Laurence tells the story of Romeus and Juliet. Peter supports his story by showing the letter Romeus had given him to be delivered to his father. Prince Escalus passes judgment: The apothecary is hanged; the nurse is exiled; Peter and Friar Laurence go free. Friar Laurence voluntarily retires to a hermitage where he dies, five years hence. The Montagues and Capulets are reconciled, and a monument is built to Romeus and Juliet. The monument may still be seen in Verona.