Study Guide

Romeo and Juliet Act 3, Scene 5

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Act 3, Scene 5

  • Romeo and Juliet wake after their first and (spoiler alert) only night together.
  • They don't want to say good-bye, but they know Romeo will be killed if he gets caught in Verona, especially if he also happens to be in Juliet's bed.
  • Before Juliet has time to fix her hair or anything, her mother comes in. They manage to have a conversation about "that villain Romeo" in which Lady Capulet misinterprets 99.9% of everything that Juliet says.
  • Lady Capulet announces her big, exciting news: in two days, Juliet will be marrying Paris.
  • No way, says Juliet, being a typical thirteen-year-old.
  • Lady Capulet throws up her hands and basically says "Wait 'til your father gets home."
  • When he does get home, he's all pleased with himself for arranging such a great marriage for her, so he's surprised when Juliet rains on his parental-control parade.
  • Lord Capulet blows up. When verbally abusing Juliet doesn't work, he tries a different tactic. If she doesn't marry Paris, he says, he'll throw her out in the street; she can beg for food or starve.
  • After Lord Capulet storms out, Juliet turns to her mother for help. How could a mother turn her own daughter out of the house? Juliet begs her mother to find a way even to delay the marriage with Paris.
  • But Lady Capulet just storms out, too.
  • How about the Nurse?
  • Juliet makes a case for not abandoning the hubby: She's already married, so marrying Paris would be a sin against God, as well as an unthinkable betrayal of Romeo.
  • Maaaaaaybe—but marrying Paris would be a step up on the social ladder. He's better looking and a much better catch. Also, he's not a hated enemy, and um, there's no other option.
  • Unless you count starving on the street which, clearly, the Nurse does not.
  • Juliet cannot believe this is happening. Even the nurse isn't on her side anymore.
  • Juliet has only one ally left: Friar Laurence. If he can't help her, suicide might be her only option.

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