Study Guide

Romeo and Juliet Prologue

By William Shakespeare


  • The Chorus (kind of like a narrator) appears on stage and gives us the lowdown on the play we're about to watch (or read).
  • The setting is "fair Verona," a town in Italy where two rival upper-crust families (the Capulets and the Montagues) have been feuding for as long as anyone can remember.
  • We're also told how the children of these two families (that would be Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet) will fall in love, but the story's not going to be a happy one. Before the play is over, our infamous "star-crossed lovers [will] take their life" (commit suicide), which will put an end to their parents' feud.
  • Finally, the Chorus invites us to sit back and relax while we enjoy the "two-hours' traffic of [the] stage," which is sixteenth-century theater speak for "the next two hours it's going to take for the play to be performed."
  • Brain Snack: In director Baz Luhrmann's 1996 film adaptation of the play (Romeo + Juliet), the Chorus is replaced by a TV anchorwoman who delivers the lines as an evening news story.