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Romeo and Juliet Act 5, Scene 3 Summary

  • The Capulet tomb seems to be a popular locale. When Romeo arrives, Paris is already there, sadly tossing flowers.
  • Paris sees Romeo and assumes he's there to somehow dishonor the Capulets. To be fair, Romeo looks pretty suspicious—he's carrying a bunch of tomb-breaking-in tools.
  • Paris tries to do a citizen's arrest on Romeo, who is, after all, an outlaw.
  • You can guess what happens next: they fight, and Romeo kills Paris. Oops.
  • He feels a little guilty for killing yet another one of Juliet's male associates, but he's mostly focused on how sad he feels.
  • He breaks into the tomb and embraces Juliet's "corpse." (Juliet, by the way, is still out cold from the potion she drank.)
  • Then, after a final kiss, Romeo chugs the poison and dies beside his wife.
  • …And, thirty seconds too late, the Friar comes in and sees Romeo lying there dead.
  • Then, an agonizing minute too late, Juliet wakes up to find her husband dead at her side.
  • Brain Snack: In the 1996 film Romeo + Juliet, director Baz Luhrmann makes an interesting decision when staging this scene. His Juliet (played by the lovely Claire Danes) wakes up right before Romeo (played by the oh-so dreamy Leo DiCaprio) drinks the poison and dies. Why do you think Luhrmann does this? You can check it out here.
  • The Friar tries to convince her to run away—the noise of the fighting has attracted attention, and Verona's citizens are about to do what they do best in Romeo and Juliet—show up at the scene, but Juliet won't.
  • In fact, she tries to drink the rest of the poison so she can die with him, but none is left. So, she does the next best thing: pulls out her dagger and stabs herself.

(Click the summary infographic to download.)

  • (Psst. Check out "Symbols" to hear some thoughts on these methods o' death.)
  • When the Prince, the Capulets, and the Montagues show up, the see Romeo and Juliet, both dead, lying beside each other.
  • The Prince's guards drag in the Friar, who apparently left Juliet alone in the tomb at some point. He tells the whole story.
  • Ugh, fine. Lord Capulet and Lord Montague swear to end their feud and to build statues to commemorate each other's child.
  • The Prince says that some of those involved in Romeo and Juliet's death will be pardoned, and some will be punished.
  • "For never was a story of more woe," the Prince says, "Than this of Juliet and her Romeo."
  • The end.

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