Act I - Scene V

Capulet's House.

Servingmen come forth with napkins.

1. SERV:
Where's Potpan, that he helps not to take away?
He shift a trencher! he scrape a trencher!
2. SERV:
When good manners shall lie all in one or two
men's hands, and they unwash'd too, 'tis a foul thing.(5)
1. SERV:
Away with the joint-stools, remove the court-cupboard,
look to the plate. Good thou, save me a piece of
marchpane and, as thou lovest me, let the porter let in
Susan Grindstone and Nell. Anthony, and Potpan!
2. SERV:
Ay, boy, ready.

Enter Third and Fourth servants.

1. SERV:
You are look'd for and call'd for, ask'd for and(10)
sought for, in the great chamber.
3. SERV:
We cannot be here and there too. Cheerly, boys!
Be brisk awhile, and the longer liver take all.


Enter the Maskers, Enter, (with Servants) Capulet, his Wife, Juliet, Tybalt, and all the Guests and Gentlewomen to the Maskers.

Welcome, gentlemen! Ladies that have their toes(15)
Unplagu'd with corns will have a bout with you.
Ah ha, my mistresses! which of you all
Will now deny to dance? She that makes dainty,
She, I'll swear, hath corns. Am I come near ye now?
Welcome, gentlemen! I have seen the day(20)
That I have worn a visor and could tell
A whispering tale in a fair lady's ear,
Such as would please. 'Tis gone, 'tis gone, 'tis gone!
You are welcome, gentlemen! Come, musicians, play.
A hall, a hall! give room! and foot it, girls.
Music plays, and they dance. (25)
More light, you knaves! and turn the tables up,
And quench the fire, the room is grown too hot.
Ah, sirrah, this unlook'd-for sport comes well.
Nay, sit, nay, sit, good cousin Capulet,
For you and I are past our dancing days.(30)
How long is't now since last yourself and I
Were in a mask?
2. CAP:
By'r Lady, thirty years.
What, man? 'Tis not so much, 'tis not so much!
'Tis since the nuptial of Lucentio,(35)
Come Pentecost as quickly as it will,
Some five-and-twenty years, and then we mask'd.
2. CAP:
'Tis more, 'tis more! His son is elder, sir;
His son is thirty.
Will you tell me that?(40)
His son was but a ward two years ago.

To a Servingman.

What lady's that, which doth
enrich the hand
Of yonder knight?
I know not, sir.(45)
O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiop's ear—
Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!
So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows(50)
As yonder lady o'er her fellows shows.
The measure done, I'll watch her place of stand
And, touching hers, make blessed my rude hand.
Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight!
For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.(55)
This, by his voice, should be a Montague.
Fetch me my rapier, boy. What, dares the slave
Come hither, cover'd with an antic face,
To fleer and scorn at our solemnity?
Now, by the stock and honour of my kin,(60)
To strike him dead I hold it not a sin.
Why, how now, kinsman? Wherefore storm you so?
Uncle, this is a Montague, our foe;
A villain, that is hither come in spite
To scorn at our solemnity this night.(65)
Young Romeo is it?
'Tis he, that villain Romeo.
Content thee, gentle coz, let him alone.
He bears him like a portly gentleman,
And, to say truth, Verona brags of him(70)
To be a virtuous and well-govern'd youth.
I would not for the wealth of all this town
Here in my house do him disparagement.
Therefore be patient, take no note of him.
It is my will; the which if thou respect,(75)
Show a fair presence and put off these frowns,
An ill-beseeming semblance for a feast.
It fits when such a villain is a guest.
I'll not endure him.
He shall be endur'd.(80)
What, goodman boy? I say he shall. Go to!
Am I the master here, or you? Go to!
You'll not endure him? God shall mend my soul!
You'll make a mutiny among my guests!
You will set cock-a-hoop! you'll be the man!(85)
Why, uncle, 'tis a shame.
Go to, go to!
You are a saucy boy. Is't so, indeed?
This trick may chance to scathe you. I know what.
You must contrary me! Marry, 'tis time—(90)
Well said, my hearts!—You are a princox—go!
Be quiet, or—More light, more light!—For shame!
I'll make you quiet; what!—Cheerly, my hearts!
Patience perforce with wilful choler meeting
Makes my flesh tremble in their different greeting.(95)
I will withdraw; but this intrusion shall,
Now seeming sweet, convert to bitt'rest gall.


If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand(100)
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.
Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this;
For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch,
And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.(105)
Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?
Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.
O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do!
They pray; grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.
Saints do not move, though grant for prayers’ sake.(110)
Then move not while my prayer's effect I take.
Thus from my lips, by thine my sin is purg'd.

Kisses her.

Then have my lips the sin that they have took.
Sin from my lips? O trespass sweetly urg'd!
Give me my sin again.(115)

Kisses her.

You kiss by th’ book.
Madam, your mother craves a word with you.
What is her mother?
Marry, bachelor,
Her mother is the lady of the house.(120)
And a good lady, and a wise and virtuous.
I nurs'd her daughter that you talk'd withal.
I tell you, he that can lay hold of her
Shall have the chinks.
Is she a Capulet?(125)
O dear account! my life is my foe's debt.
Away, be gone; the sport is at the best.
Ay, so I fear; the more is my unrest.
Nay, gentlemen, prepare not to be gone;
We have a trifling foolish banquet towards.(130)
Is it e'en so? Why then, I thank you all.
I thank you, honest gentlemen. Good night.
More torches here!

Exeunt Maskers.

Come on then, let's to bed.
Ah, sirrah, by my fay, it waxes late;(135)
I'll to my rest.

Exeunt all but Juliet and Nurse.

Come hither, Nurse. What is yon gentleman?
The son and heir of old Tiberio.
What's he that now is going out of door?
Marry, that, I think, be young Petruchio.(140)
What's he that follows there, that would not dance?
I know not.
Go ask his name.—If he be married,
My grave is like to be my wedding bed.
His name is Romeo, and a Montague,(145)
The only son of your great enemy.
My only love, sprung from my only hate!
Too early seen unknown, and known too late!
Prodigious birth of love it is to me
That I must love a loathed enemy.(150)
What's this? what's this?
A rhyme I learn'd even now
Of one I danc'd withal.

One calls within ‘Juliet.’

Anon, anon!
Come, let's away; the strangers all are gone.(155)



  1. Juliet touches on one of the play's major themes with these famous lines. She has fallen in love with Romeo without knowing that he is a Montague. What he is, a Montague, proceeds who he is. Much like the play which is defined as a tragedy before it even begins, Romeo is defined as a Montague before Juliet even meets him. Thus her love, though pure when it began becomes prodigious, or unnatural and monstrous, because of Romeo's predetermined identity.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  2. From the prologue we know that this statement is actually true. While Juliet says it to emphasize her great love for Romeo, the audience hears it as a grim foreshadowing of the end of the play and a reminder to pay attention.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  3. By this Romeo means that his life is now owed to his foe, as he has devoted his life to Juliet, a Capulet. Notice the monetary language used in the exchange between Romeo and the Nurse. The Nurse speaks of Juliet as a prize that will give her husband "the chinks" or money; Romeo talks about his own life in terms of "account" and "debt." The rhetoric about their love has gone from grand images of saints and sin to very real monetary calculations, transporting their love at first sight back into the real world.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  4. Juliet's line completes the iambic pentameter in Romeo's preceding line. "Give me my sin again you kiss by the book" makes a full line of iambic pentameter and completes the ABAB rhyme scheme beginning with line 112.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  5. Notice that the Nurse interrupts a second sonnet from being created. The proceeding four lines make up a quatrain - four lines in a sonnet with an ABAB rhyme scheme - of a new sonnet. While the sonnets occurred in a metaphorical space that played with religious and Biblical authority, the Nurse's interruption signals a return to the real world in which parental authority rules the lovers and their rhetoric.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  6. This is a colloquialism that means to do something expertly. It employs a double meaning though as "the book" also refers to the Bible. Juliet here references Romeo's ability to "kiss by the book" in order to erase the sin metaphors into which they had fallen. Rather than the kiss being something sinful, the kiss becomes something that is sanctioned by "the book" or the Bible. In turn this marks their forbidden love as something that is good and lawful rather than sinful.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  7. The kiss has moved from being compared to a prayer to a sin. Romeo transferred his sin to Juliet by kissing her and now must kiss her again to take the sin back onto his lips. Notice how the religious imagery has moved the two lovers from a saint and a pilgrim to mortals passing sin back and forth.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  8. Notice how Juliet uses Romeo's metaphor in order to deny him his request to kiss her. She reshapes his rhetoric and continually forces him to reframe his desires.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  9. Juliet corrects Romeo's statement that his lips could kiss her as palmer's kiss saints and instead makes the metaphor more literal. She says that pilgrims and saints put their palms together; this is how they kiss, not with the lips. In this way Juliet can be seen as educating Romeo on how to court her.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  10. Notice that the metaphor functioning within this sonnet compares Juliet to a saint and Romeo to a pilgrim worshiping at her shrine. This metaphor conflates the ethereal world of religious belief with the earthly reality of two people kissing. Romeo and Juliet's love here is metaphorically elevated to a space occupied by religion and God.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  11. In the sonnet tradition, the poet would describe his love using the poetic blazon. In this poetic technique, the poet would fragment his love into her parts in order to emphasize the perfection of each part of the woman's body. He would describe her lips as red as cherries or skin as white as snow rather than describing her as a whole person. However, here Romeo reverses this tradition and instead applies the poetic blazon to himself. Juliet remains whole in his gaze while he becomes fragmented by his love for her.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  12. The first lines that Romeo and Juliet speak to each other make up a perfect sonnet, 14 lines of iambic pentameter with an alternating rhyme scheme that ends in a couplet. Beginning with Petrarch's sonnets to the unattainable Laura, the sonnet tradition signifies the quintessential expression of love in the Early Modern period. Romeo and Juliet's ability to speak a sonnet to each other the first time they meet symbolizes their real love for each other. Unlike Rosaline, whom Romeo loved from afar, Juliet is able to engage in his love.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  13. "Choler" is a reference to the humor believed to cause anger. Tybalt's threat to seek revenge comes directly before the first meeting of Romeo and Juliet. Notice how violence and love are interlaced throughout this scene as they are throughout the play.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  14. This phrase means to act without restraint. From this exchange we see that Capulet acknowledges Tybalt's hotheadedness. Despite the feud, Capulet seems to understand the rules of social decorum while Tybalt cares only about the feud. This foreshadows Tybalt's part in bringing about the play's tragic resolution.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  15. It is interesting that in this first speech, Romeo emphasizes Juliet's purity and ethereal nature. He speaks of her the way sonneteers and poets speak of their unrequited loves, and situates his love outside of the real world. Since we know that Romeo and Juliet do not have a chaste love, this could be understood as a mentality that Romeo will grow out of over the course of the play.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  16. Notice that Romeo's first speech about Juliet occurs in heroic couplets, a poetic form used by epic and narrative poetry. Heroic couplets give a sense of poetic closure or finality. The rhyme scheme of these lines suggests that Juliet's beauty is absolute and Romeo perceives his love for her as something complete or perfect.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  17. In the Christian tradition, the Pentecost is the day that Christ descended from heaven after his resurrection to revisit his apostles. The apostles received the spirit by speaking in tongues and were transformed from fearful men to men able to accept martyrdom. This statement essentially means let the days go by as fast as they want.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  18. Capulet reflects on his own youth when he would have been able to wear a mask and charm a young lady. This statement becomes ironic as this is exactly what will happen to his own daughter at this party. This reminiscing also comes across as haunting after the Prologue to this play. While Capulet can reflect on his youth because he has grown old, Romeo and Juliet will never be able to do so; in dying for their love and their parent's strife, they will forever be preserved in their dancing days.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  19. "Makes dainty" is a colloquial phrase that means to hesitate. Here he implies that any woman who does not want to dance has corns, hardened layers of skin on the feet caused by wearing shoes that were too small. Corns were associated with witches and old age much like warts and hairy moles, and would have been something a young lady would want to hide. Notice that while he entreats the men to dance, he shames the women into dancing.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  20. To "have a bout" is to dance with you. Capulet here directly addresses the gentlemen in the room entreating them to dance. This demonstrates Capulet's misogynistic view of both relationships between the sexes and courtship and foreshadows his negative reaction to Juliet defying his wishes.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  21. A "trencher" was a wooden serving platter. Scene five begins with servants clearing away the dinner plates to signal that Romeo and his friends missed dinner. They have arrived just in time for the dance. Notice how Shakespeare uses dialogue to signal location, time passing, and events not figured on stage without directly stating them.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  22. In social heirarchy, a "goodman" is below the ranking of a "gentleman."

    — Jamie Wheeler