Action in Act III


Tiffany Howe

SCENE ONE    SCENE TWO    SCENE THREE   SCENE FOUR    SCENE FIVE

3.1

SUMMARY

 Mercutio and Benvolio are discussing the hot day and the possibility of a quarrel. Tybalt enters looking for Romeo and rudely addresses them.  Mercutio and Tybalt are about to fight when Romeo enters.  Romeo tries to avoid the conflict because he is now married to a Capulet.  Mercutio cannot stand Romeo submitting to Tybalt's cruelty and draws his sword to fight.  Romeo and Benvolio try to stop the fight.  Tybalt stabs Mercutio under Romeo's arm and leaves.  Mercutio ends up dying.  Romeo realizes his love for Juliet has made him soft and now seeks revenge.  Tybalt returns and they fight.  Romeo kills Tybalt and then flees after reflecting on what he has done.  The citizens, the Prince, the Montague's, and the Capulet's all come to survey the scene.  Benvolio tells the story of what happened.  Immediately, the Prince exiles Romeo.

ANALYSIS

 This action packed scene incurs the first instance of tragedy for the young lovers.  Romeo is forced to deal with the reality of his marriage.  He has married a Capulet—his lifetime enemy.  He also chooses to avenge a friend's death rather than spare Juliet's sorrow.  A dying Mercutio sets up the action for the rest of the play when he repeatedly exclaims,  "A plague o' both your houses!"  This reminds the audience of the tragedy that will soon occur and propels Romeo.  Tybalt's untimely return drives Romeo, acting on emotion, to kill him.  Romeo contrasts his earlier effort to avoid confrontation increasing the dramatic tension in the scene.  He struggles with resisting the urge to fight and then acting on impulse.

3.2

SUMMARY

 Juliet is waiting for the nighttime when she and Romeo will consummate their marriage. The Nurse brings the ladder but also has news of Tybalt's death and Romeo's banishment.  Juliet is upset about Tybalt's death but thinks Romeo's banishment is even worse than had he also been dead.  The  Nurse tells her that Romeo is hiding at Friar Laurence's cell.  Juliet asks her to go find Romeo so that they can say goodbye.  She also gives the Nurse a ring to give to Romeo.

ANALYSIS

 The consequences of Juliet's speedy actions earlier in the play are now catching up with her.  Juliet is first mad at Romeo for killing Tybalt but then takes her role as a wife and shows support for him.  Her age is reflected in this conflict.  She impulsively gets mad at Romeo but tries to behave as an adult by supporting Romeo's duty to avengs his friends death.  The action is completely driven by the Nurse who delivers the bad news to Juliet and agrees to go find Romeo.

3.3

SUMMARY

 Romeo is at the Friar's cell awaiting his punishment.  The Friar tells him he has been exiled.  Romeo says exile is worse then death and the Friar tries to comfort him.  The Nurse arrives and mentions the grieving state of Juliet.  Misunderstanding the Nurse, Romeo attempts to kill himself.  The Nurse explains that Juliet is sad because she may never see her beloved Romeo.  She was not crying because of Tybalt.  The Friar gives Romeo hope by proposing a plan.  Romeo will go see Juliet that night to say farewell and then go to Mantua until it is safe for him to return to Verona.  The lovers can then be safely reunited.  The Nurse also gives Romeo the ring and he is revived.

ANALYSIS

 The experience and wisdom of the Friar save Romeo and Juliet's love.  The Friar has a hard time relating to Romeo's intense situation but comes up with a proposal.  This scene parallels the despair of Juliet in the previous scene.  Both Romeo and Juliet, driven by emotion, need the help of elders to intellectually plan their action.

3.4

SUMMARY

The Capulet's are discussing with Paris his marriage to Juliet.  They decide that because of Tybalt's death they can not have a celebration too soon.  However, Capulet decides that Thursday would be good and sends Lady Capulet to tell Juliet the news.  Paris leaves happily.

ANALYSIS

The focus of the action changes from Romeo and Juliet's struggle to the Capulet family.  This is one of the few scenes where either Romeo or Juliet is not present.  However, Old Capulet's rash, secretive decision is like Romeo and Juliet's courtship.  Thus, predicting another tragedy as a result of haste.  The scene is short, quick and to the point, suggesting Old Capulet's authority and power.

3.5

SUMMARY

Romeo and Juliet are in Juliet's chamber after their consummation arguing over whether it is still night or if it is the morning.  The Nurse warns them that Lady Capulet is coming.  Romeo and Juliet part wondering if they will ever see each other again.  Lady Capulet sees that Juliet is upset and mistakes it for grievance of Tybalt.  She tries to cheer Juliet by telling her that she will marry Paris on Thursday.  Juliet abhors the idea of marrying so soon.  When Old Capulet finds out that Juliet does not want to marry Paris he feels unappreciated and his temper rages.  He tells Juliet that she better marry Paris or he never wants to see her again.  Juliet seeks comfort in her mother but she is refused.  The Nurse even suggests that Juliet forget about Romeo and try to live a normal life with Paris.  Juliet, seeking a way out, goes to visit the Friar.

ANALYSIS

The beginning action of this scene is in sharp contrast to the latter parts.  It begins with the two youth lovers peacefully parting but ends with anger and demands from the elders.  There are forwards that suggest when Romeo and Juliet meet again they will be in a tomb. "Methinks I see thee, now thou art so low, as one dead in the bottom of a tomb."   The harsh actions of Old Capulet drive Juliet to feel hopeless.  Old Capulet is upset that he will not be able to host another celebration and that his daughter doesn't like the suitor he has picked out.  However, the outrage of Juliet's father justifies the secretive marriage and fuels the power of the feud.
 
 
 

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