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Act three scene one

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Romeo and Juliet
Act Three (study guide)  

(This scene marks the climax of the drama.)

  1. Tybalt, still enraged at Romeo's intrusion at the Capulet's ball, is determined to fight, but Romeo refuses. Why?

Because he is in love with Juliet.

  1. How does Mercutio get involved, and what happens to him?

He gets tired of Tybalt insulting Romeo and starts a fight.

  1. How does Romeo react to this?

Romeo tries to break up the fight, but Tybalt kills Mercutio and then Romeo kills Tybalt.

  1. What decree does the Prince make?

He banishes Romeo from Verona.

  1. Explain how this scene serves as the climax or turning point of the drama. (Think of all that has happened between Romeo and Juliet so far.)

The forbidden love (because of the family feud) seemed hopeful. Maybe it would end the feud. Instead, the feud has reignited. Romeo is banished. Can their love survive?


1. Complete this paraphrase of Juliet's soliloquy (lines 1-31)

Hurry up, sun and set so that night will come and Romeo can leap into my bed. Lovers don't need light to make love. If love is blind it best agrees with night. Come on, night, so I can learn to lose the love game. I'll submit to Romeo, and we'll both lose our virginity. Cover my blushing cheeks until I grow bold enough to act out my true love. Come night. Come dark night, and lie with me this night. Give me my Romeo and when I die cut him up into little stars, and he will light the heavens so fine that all the world will be on love with night and not sun. Oh, I have taken the marriage vow, yet I am still a virgin. it's like a child who has new toy, but is not allowed to play with them.

2. Explain the dramatic irony in the beginning of this scene. The audience knows what Juliet does not, that Romeo is the killer, not the killed.

3. How does Juliet react to the nurse's news? She has ambivalent feelings. Tybalt was her cousin so she hates Romeo for killing him. However, she is married to Romeo and loves him.

4. What does Juliet plan to do with the cords? (See lines 132-137) She will put them away since Romeo has been banished.

5. How does the nurse console her? She tells Juliet she will find Romeo for her.


1. How does Romeo react to the news of his banishment? He says he might as well be dead.

2. Complete this paraphrase of Friar Laurence's speech (lines 108-154).

Stop! - Are you a man? You look like a man but you cry like a woman and act like a beast. I'm surprised at you! I thought you were a better man than that. You already killed Tybalt. Will you now kill yourself and by doing so kill Juliet who loves you? What are you complaining about? You're alive aren't you? Shame on you! You are a disgrace to your manhood, trying to kill yourself after vowing to love and cherish Juliet. Your mind that should guide your body and your love is mishandled like a stupid soldier trying to load his gun and kills himself instead of the enemy. What's wrong with you man? Juliet is alive. There, you are lucky. Tybalt would have killed you but instead you killed him. There, you are lucky. The Prince could have sentenced you to death, but he only exhiled you. There, you are lucky. You have much to be grateful for, but instead of counting your blessings, you sulk and whine like a spoiled child. Stop sulking, and go to your wife and comfort her. But don't stay too long, or you won't be able to get past the watchmen to go to Mantua where you can stay until I can tell your families about your marriage, reconcile them, and get the Prince to pardon you so you can come back and live happily. Go, Nurse and tell Juliet to go to bed early because Romeo is coming.


1. How does the action in this scene complicate matters even further? Capulet decides Juliet must marry Paris to ease her grief over the death of Tybalt.

2. How does Capulet's attitude now differ from his attitude when Paris first came to ask for Juliet's hand in marriage? He is anxious for Juliet to marry right away.

3. Explain the dramatic irony in this scene. The audience knows what Capulet and Paris do not. Juliet is already married.


Day breaks, and the two lovers must part after consummating their wedding vows. Juliet is very reluctant to have Romeo leave her and does not want to admit that it is morning. Finally Romeo leaves and Juliet's mother comes to her chamber. Their conversation about Tybalt's death has Juliet speaking in ambiguous terms.

1. Explain the paradoxical phrases in lines 94-103. Juliet uses word play, specifically hesitations, to appear to say what her father and mother want to hear while she is in fact saying quite the opposite.

2. How does Capulet react to Juliet's refusal to marry Paris? He threatens to disown her.

3. What advise does the nurse give Juliet? She tells her to go ahead and marry Paris.

4. What does Juliet decide to do? She decides to go ask Friar Laurence for help.

 5. Find one example in act three of each of the following literary devices:

1. Allusion – Scene 2, Line 73

6. Simile – Scene 3, Lines 133-134

2. Apostrophe - none

7. Oxymoron - none

3. Conceit – Mercutio bragging

8. Metonymy - none

4. Personification – Scene 2, lines 90-94

9. Pun – Scene 1, Lines 87-90

5. Foreshadow – Scene 3, Lines 35-38

10. Irony – Mercutio saying “A plague o’ both your houses.”

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