Study Guide

Romeo and Juliet Act 5, Scene 1

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Act 5, Scene 1

  • In exile in Mantua, Romeo wakes up feeling good. He has just had a dream in which Juliet found him dead, but then kissed him back to life.
  • That sound you just heard was the anvil of foreshadowing.
  • Romeo's servant Balthasar (ironically the name of a wise man in church tradition) arrives with the news from Verona. There's no good way to say this: Juliet's dead.
  • Um, is there any message from Friar Laurence?
  • Nope.
  • Romeo immediately decides that the only thing he can do is go to Juliet's grave and commit suicide there. He knows a poor apothecary who sells illegal drugs, including poisons.
  • ("Apothecaries" are basically pharmacists—they sell medicine, some of it prescription and some not.)
  • He goes to said "poor apothecary," whose sunken cheeks and hollow looking eyes suggest that he is starving to death, and Romeo convinces him to sell him a dram of poison (even though selling poison is illegal), since, you know, the guy is starving and really needs the money.
  • Then Romeo heads for Verona.

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