Study Guide

Romeo and Juliet Act 1, Scene 5

By William Shakespeare

Act 1, Scene 5

  • At the shindig, Capulet welcomes his guests to the party and invites everyone to get their groove on. He also threatens that if any young girl refuses to dance, he'll tell everyone she "hath corns" on her feet. (We're not kidding.)
  • Now, for the moment we've all been waiting for. Romeo sees Juliet dancing and…falls in love at first sight. Rosaline who?
  • Meanwhile, Tybalt, a.k.a., that dude who did all the fighting before (a.k.a., Juliet's easily angered cousin), recognizes Romeo.
  • Blood boils right about…now.
  • Tybalt tells Lord Capulet that he's going to beat up Romeo for crashing their party.
  • Lord Capulet orders him to relax and leave Romeo alone—Romeo seems to be a nice enough kid. Plus, Lord Capulet wisely reasons that parties tend to get ruined by open brawls. Once the cops get called, everyone's fun is ruined.
  • Tybalt just swears he'll make Romeo pay for this supposed insult later. Cue the dramatic and ominous music.
  • Romeo approaches Juliet and delivers one of the coolest pickup lines to ever come out of the 16th century: "If I profane with my unworthiest hand this holy shrine, the gentle sin is this: My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss." Translation: Your hand is clearly holy, so if I've offended you by touching it with my rough, unworthy hand, let me make things better with a kiss.
  • Instead of getting annoyed and walking away, Juliet is intrigued. She banters back, telling him not to be so hard on himself. By holding her hand he's just showing devotion, the same way that pilgrims touch the hands of saints' (as in the statues of saints they worship). She also points out that placing their hands together, palm to palm, is like kissing. 
  • Romeo suggests that their lips should do what their hands are doing and gives her a kiss.
  • (Count it: he says a total of 67 words to her before the lip-lock.)
  • A second later, he comes up with another excuse and they kiss again. Meanwhile, their dialogue has formed a perfect Shakespearean love sonnet, rhymes and all. Not too shabby.
  • Juliet's nurse interrupts them and sends Juliet away, and Romeo asks her the name of the girl he's been kissing.
  • And … she's a Capulet. Oops.
  • The party starts breaking up.
  • Juliet, who is already completely in love, asks her nurse to find out the identity of the first guy she has ever kissed. The answer: "His name is Romeo, and a Montague, the only son of your great enemy."
  • Juliet is not too happy to hear this, but she still manages to be poetic about it: "My only love sprung from my only hate?"