Act IV - Scene III

Juliet's Chamber

Enter Juliet and Nurse.

Ay, those attires are best; but, gentle nurse,
I pray thee leave me to myself to-night;
For I have need of many orisons
To move the heavens to smile upon my state,
Which, well thou knowest, is cross and full of sin.(5)

Enter Lady Cap.

What, are you busy, ho? Need you my help?
No, madam; we have cull'd such necessaries
As are behoveful for our state to-morrow.
So please you, let me now be left alone,
And let the nurse this night sit up with you;(10)
For I am sure you have your hands full all
In this so sudden business.
Good night.
Get thee to bed, and rest; for thou hast need.

Exeunt Lady Capulet and Nurse.

Farewell! God knows when we shall meet again.(15)
I have a faint cold fear thrills through my veins
That almost freezes up the heat of life.
I'll call them back again to comfort me.
Nurse!— What should she do here?
My dismal scene I needs must act alone.(20)
Come, vial.
What if this mixture do not work at all?
Shall I be married then to-morrow morning?
No, No! This shall forbid it. Lie thou there.

Lays down a dagger.

What if it be a poison which the friar(25)
Subtly hath ministr'd to have me dead,
Lest in this marriage he should be dishonour'd
Because he married me before to Romeo?
I fear it is; and yet methinks it should not,
For he hath still been tried a holy man.(30)
I will not entertain so bad a thought.
How if, when I am laid into the tomb,
I wake before the time that Romeo
Come to redeem me? There's a fearful point!
Shall I not then be stifled in the vault,(35)
To whose foul mouth no healthsome air breathes in,
And there die strangled ere my Romeo comes?
Or, if I live, is it not very like
The horrible conceit of death and night,
Together with the terror of the place—(40)
As in a vault, an ancient receptacle
Where for this many hundred years the bones
Of all my buried ancestors are pack'd;
Where bloody Tybalt, yet but green in earth,
Lies fest'ring in his shroud; where, as they say,(45)
At some hours in the night spirits resort—
Alack, alack, is it not like that I,
So early waking— what with loathsome smells,
And shrieks like mandrakes torn out of the earth,
That living mortals, hearing them, run mad—(50)
O, if I wake, shall I not be distraught,
Environed with all these hideous fears,
And madly play with my forefathers’ joints,
And pluck the mangled Tybalt from his shroud,
And, in this rage, with some great kinsman's bone(55)
As with a club dash out my desp'rate brains?
O, look! methinks I see my cousin's ghost
Seeking out Romeo, that did spit his body
Upon a rapier's point. Stay, Tybalt, stay!
Romeo, I come! this do I drink to thee.(60)

She drinks and falls upon her bed within the curtains.


  1. In Shakespeare's time, rich families like the Capulets would be buried in a crypt or mausoleum. A crypt is a cavernous vault or chamber below a church while a mausoleum is a large room build above ground in a grave yard. Bodies would be placed in a crypt or mausoleum instead of burying them in a coffin. This is why Juliet can fake her death without the fear of being buried alive. Instead, her fear is waking up surrounded by the copses of her dead ancestors before Romeo can reach her.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  2. By this Juliet suspects that the potion that the Friar gave her is actually poison instead of a magic humor that will make her appear dead. Since the Friar is the person who married Romeo and Juliet, he could suffer grave repercussions if their union was discovered.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  3. Juliet refers to her dagger to say that if the Friar's potion does not work, she will kill herself in the morning rather than marrying Paris. This is an interesting claim in this speech because she is so tentative to drink the potion. She fears that it will not work, but she also fears that it is actually poison. Her hesitation suggests that her resolve toto kill herself rather than marry Paris may not be as strong as it appears.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff