Act 1 summary

First prologue

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare begins with a prologue in the form of a sonnet. It is delivered by the chorus, which was normally played by a single actor. A prologue typically introduces the scene, the main characters, and the main themes.

However, this prologue reveals the ending as well. We are told that the violent strife between two wealthy families in Verona will result in the death of their children – two “star-crossed lovers” – who must die before their families make peace. This means that the audience watches the entire play knowing that it will end in tragedy.

Scene 1: Verona. A public place

Despite being a tragedy, the first scene of the play is a comical one. Servants from the Capulet and Montague families fight in the streets of Verona, Italy. Romeo’s sensible fri...

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