Act V - Scene III

Verona. A Churchyard; in it, the monument of the Capulets.

Enter Paris and his Page with flowers and a torch.

Give me thy torch, boy. Hence, and stand aloof.
Yet put it out, for I would not be seen.
Under yond yew tree lay thee all along,
Holding thine ear close to the hollow ground.
So shall no foot upon the churchyard tread(5)
(Being loose, unfirm, with digging up of graves)
But thou shalt hear it. Whistle then to me,
As signal that thou hear'st something approach.
Give me those flowers. Do as I bid thee, go.


I am almost afraid to stand alone(10)
Here in the churchyard; yet I will adventure.


Sweet flower, with flowers thy bridal bed I strew
(O woe! thy canopy is dust and stones)
Which with sweet water nightly I will dew;
Or, wanting that, with tears distill'd by moans.(15)
The obsequies that I for thee will keep
Nightly shall be to strew thy grave and weep.

The Page whistles.

The boy gives warning something doth approach.
What cursed foot wanders this way to-night
To cross my obsequies and true love's rite?(20)
What, with a torch? Muffle me, night, a while.


Enter Romeo and Balthasar with a torch, a mattock, and a crow of iron.

Give me that mattock and the wrenching iron.
Hold, take this letter. Early in the morning
See thou deliver it to my lord and father.
Give me the light. Upon thy life I charge thee,(25)
Whate'er thou hearest or seest, stand all aloof
And do not interrupt me in my course.
Why I descend into this bed of death
Is partly to behold my lady's face,
But chiefly to take thence from her dead finger(30)
A precious ring—a ring that I must use
In dear employment. Therefore hence, be gone.
But if thou, jealous, dost return to pry
In what I further shall intend to do,
By heaven, I will tear thee joint by joint(35)
And strew this hungry churchyard with thy limbs.
The time and my intents are savage-wild,
More fierce and more inexorable far
Than empty tigers or the roaring sea.
I will be gone, sir, and not trouble you.(40)
So shalt thou show me friendship. Take thou that.
Live, and be prosperous; and farewell, good fellow.


For all this same, I'll hide me hereabout.
His looks I fear, and his intents I doubt.


Thou detestable maw, thou womb of death,(45)
Gorg'd with the dearest morsel of the earth,
Thus I enforce thy rotten jaws to open,
And in despite I'll cram thee with more food.

Romeo opens the tomb.

This is that banish'd haughty Montague
That murdered my love's cousin—with which grief(50)
It is supposed the fair creature died—
And here is come to do some villanous shame
To the dead bodies. I will apprehend him.
Stop thy unhallowed toil, vile Montague!
Can vengeance be pursu'd further than death?(55)
Condemned villain, I do apprehend thee.
Obey, and go with me; for thou must die.
I must indeed; and therefore came I hither.
Good gentle youth, tempt not a desp'rate man.
Fly hence and leave me. Think upon these gone;(60)
Let them affright thee. I beseech thee, youth,
Put not another sin upon my head
By urging me to fury. O, be gone!
By heaven, I love thee better than myself,
For I come hither arm'd against myself.(65)
Stay not, be gone. Live, and hereafter say
A madman's mercy bid thee run away.
I do defy thy conjuration
And apprehend thee for a felon here.
Wilt thou provoke me? Then have at thee, boy!(70)

They fight.

O Lord, they fight! I will go call the watch.

Exit. Paris falls.

O, I am slain! If thou be merciful,
Open the tomb, lay me with Juliet.


In faith, I will. Let me peruse this face.
Mercutio's kinsman, noble County Paris!(75)
What said my man when my betossed soul
Did not attend him as we rode? I think
He told me Paris should have married Juliet.
Said he not so? or did I dream it so?
Or am I mad, hearing him talk of Juliet(80)
To think it was so? O, give me thy hand,
One writ with me in sour misfortune's book!
I'll bury thee in a triumphant grave.
A grave? O, no, a lantern, slaughtr'd youth,
For here lies Juliet, and her beauty makes(85)
This vault a feasting presence full of light.
Death, lie thou there, by a dead man interr'd.

Lays him in the tomb.

How oft when men are at the point of death
Have they been merry! which their keepers call
A lightning before death. O, how may I(90)
Call this a lightning? O my love! my wife!
Death, that hath suck'd the honey of thy breath,
Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty.
Thou art not conquer'd. Beauty's ensign yet
Is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks,(95)
And death's pale flag is not advanced there.
Tybalt, liest thou there in thy bloody sheet?
O, what more favour can I do to thee
Than with that hand that cut thy youth in twain
To sunder his that was thine enemy?(100)
Forgive me, cousin. Ah, dear Juliet,
Why art thou yet so fair? Shall I believe
That unsubstantial Death is amorous,
And that the lean abhorred monster keeps
Thee here in dark to be his paramour?(105)
For fear of that I still will stay with thee
And never from this palace of dim night
Depart again. Here, here will I remain
With worms that are thy chambermaids. O, here
Will I set up my everlasting rest(110)
And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars
From this world-wearied flesh. Eyes, look your last!
Arms, take your last embrace! and, lips, O you
The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss
A dateless bargain to engrossing death!(115)
Come, bitter conduct; come, unsavoury guide!
Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on
The dashing rocks thy seasick weary bark!
Here's to my love! Drinks. O true apothecary!
Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die.(120)


Enter Friar Laurence, with lantern, crow, and spade.

Saint Francis be my speed! how oft to-night
Have my old feet stumbled at graves! Who's there?
Here's one, a friend, and one that knows you well.
Bliss be upon you! Tell me, good my friend,
What torch is yond that vainly lends his light(125)
To grubs and eyeless skulls? As I discern,
It burneth in the Capels’ monument.
It doth so, holy sir; and there's my master,
One that you love.
Who is it?(130)
How long hath he been there?
Full half an hour.
Go with me to the vault.
I dare not, sir.(135)
My master knows not but I am gone hence,
And fearfully did menace me with death
If I did stay to look on his intents.
Stay then; I'll go alone. Fear comes upon me.
O, much I fear some ill unlucky thing.(140)
As I did sleep under this yew tree here,
I dreamt my master and another fought,
And that my master slew him.
Alack, alack, what blood is this which stains(145)
The stony entrance of this sepulchre?
What mean these masterless and gory swords
To lie discolour'd by this place of peace?

Enters the tomb.

Romeo! O, pale! Who else? What, Paris too?
And steep'd in blood? Ah, what an unkind hour(150)
Is guilty of this lamentable chance!
The lady stirs.

Juliet rises.

O comfortable friar! where is my lord?
I do remember well where I should be,
And there I am. Where is my Romeo?(155)
I hear some noise. Lady, come from that nest
Of death, contagion, and unnatural sleep.
A greater power than we can contradict
Hath thwarted our intents. Come, come away.
Thy husband in thy bosom there lies dead;(160)
And Paris too. Come, I'll dispose of thee
Among a sisterhood of holy nuns.
Stay not to question, for the watch is coming.
Come, go, good Juliet. I dare no longer stay.
Go, get thee hence, for I will not away.(165)

Exit Friar.

What's here? A cup, clos'd in my true love's hand?
Poison, I see, hath been his timeless end.
O churl! drunk all, and left no friendly drop
To help me after? I will kiss thy lips.
Haply some poison yet doth hang on them(170)
To make me die with a restorative.

Kisses him.

Thy lips are warm!


Lead, boy. Which way?
Yea, noise? Then I'll be brief. O happy dagger!

Snatches Romeo's dagger.

This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die.(175)

She stabs herself and falls on Romeo's body.

Enter Paris’ Boy and Watch.

This is the place. There, where the torch doth burn.
The ground is bloody. Search about the(180)
Go, some of you; whoe'er you find attach.

Exeunt some of the Watch.

Pitiful sight! here lies the County slain;
And Juliet bleeding, warm, and newly dead,
Who here hath lain this two days buried.(185)
Go, tell the Prince; run to the Capulets;
Raise up the Montagues; some others search.

Exeunt others of the Watch.

We see the ground whereon these woes do lie,
But the true ground of all these piteous woes
We cannot without circumstance descry.(190)

Enter some of the Watch, with Romeo's Man Balthasar.

Here's Romeo's man. We found him in the
Hold him in safety till the Prince come

Enter Friar Laurence and another Watchman.

Here is a friar that trembles, sighs, and weeps.(195)
We took this mattock and this spade from him
As he was coming from this churchyard side.
A great suspicion! Stay the friar too.

Enter the Prince and Attendants.

What misadventure is so early up,
That calls our person from our morning rest?(200)

Enter Capulet, Lady Capulet, and others.

What should it be, that they so shriek abroad?
The people in the street cry ‘Romeo,’
Some ‘Juliet,’ and some ‘Paris’; and all run,
With open outcry, toward our monument.
What fear is this which startles in our ears?(205)
Sovereign, here lies the County Paris slain;
And Romeo dead; and Juliet, dead before,
Warm and new kill'd.
Search, seek, and know how this foul murder comes.
Here is a friar, and slaughter'd Romeo's man,(210)
With instruments upon them fit to open
These dead men's tombs.
O heavens! O wife, look how our daughter bleeds!
This dagger hath mista'en, for, lo, his house
Is empty on the back of Montague,(215)
And it missheathed in my daughter's bosom!
O me! this sight of death is as a bell
That warns my old age to a sepulchre.

Enter Montague and others.

Come, Montague; for thou art early up
To see thy son and heir more early down.(220)
Alas, my liege, my wife is dead to-night!
Grief of my son's exile hath stopp'd her breath.
What further woe conspires against mine age?
Look, and thou shalt see.
O thou untaught! what manners is in this,(225)
To press before thy father to a grave?
Seal up the mouth of outrage for a while,
Till we can clear these ambiguities
And know their spring, their head, their true descent;
And then will I be general of your woes(230)
And lead you even to death. Meantime forbear,
And let mischance be slave to patience.
Bring forth the parties of suspicion.
I am the greatest, able to do least,
Yet most suspected, as the time and place(235)
Doth make against me, of this direful murder;
And here I stand, both to impeach and purge
Myself condemned and myself excus'd.
Then say at once what thou dost know in this.
I will be brief, for my short date of breath(240)
Is not so long as is a tedious tale.
Romeo, there dead, was husband to that Juliet;
And she, there dead, that Romeo's faithful wife.
I married them; and their stol'n marriage day
Was Tybalt's doomsday, whose untimely death(245)
Banish'd the new-made bridegroom from this city;
For whom, and not for Tybalt, Juliet pin'd.
You, to remove that siege of grief from her,
Betroth'd and would have married her perforce
To County Paris. Then comes she to me(250)
And with wild looks bid me devise some mean
To rid her from this second marriage,
Or in my cell there would she kill herself.
Then gave I her (so tutored by my art)
A sleeping potion; which so took effect(255)
As I intended, for it wrought on her
The form of death. Meantime I writ to Romeo
That he should hither come as this dire night
To help to take her from her borrowed grave,
Being the time the potion's force should cease.(260)
But he which bore my letter, Friar John,
Was stay'd by accident, and yesternight
Return'd my letter back. Then all alone
At the prefixed hour of her waking
Came I to take her from her kindred's vault;(265)
Meaning to keep her closely at my cell
Till I conveniently could send to Romeo.
But when I came, some minute ere the time
Of her awaking, here untimely lay
The noble Paris and true Romeo dead.(270)
She wakes; and I entreated her come forth
And bear this work of heaven with patience;
But then a noise did scare me from the tomb,
And she, too desperate, would not go with me,
But, as it seems, did violence on herself.(275)
All this I know, and to the marriage
Her nurse is privy; and if aught in this
Miscarried by my fault, let my old life
Be sacrific'd, some hour before his time,
Unto the rigour of severest law.(280)
We still have known thee for a holy man.
Where's Romeo's man? What can he say in this?
I brought my master news of Juliet's death;
And then in post he came from Mantua
To this same place, to this same monument.(285)
This letter he early bid me give his father,
And threat'ned me with death, going in the vault,
If I departed not and left him there.
Give me the letter. I will look on it.
Where is the County's page that rais'd the watch?(290)
Sirrah, what made your master in this place?
He came with flowers to strew his lady's grave;
And bid me stand aloof, and so I did.
Anon comes one with light to ope the tomb;
And by-and-by my master drew on him;(295)
And then I ran away to call the watch.
This letter doth make good the friar's words,
Their course of love, the tidings of her death;
And here he writes that he did buy a poison
Of a poor 'pothecary, and therewithal(300)
Came to this vault to die, and lie with Juliet.
Where be these enemies? Capulet, Montage,
See what a scourge is laid upon your hate,
That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love!
And I, for winking at you, discords too,(305)
Have lost a brace of kinsmen. All are punish'd.
O brother Montague, give me thy hand.
This is my daughter's jointure, for no more
Can I demand.
But I can give thee more;(310)
For I will raise her statue in pure gold,
That whiles Verona by that name is known,
There shall no figure at such rate be set
As that of true and faithful Juliet.
As rich shall Romeo's by his lady's lie—(315)
Poor sacrifices of our enmity!
A glooming peace this morning with it brings.
The sun for sorrow will not show his head.
Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things;
Some shall be pardon'd, and some punished;(320)
For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

Exeunt omnes.


  1. The Friar is a controversial character within this play. On one hand, he is a man of the cloth who allows the lovers to be together and keeps their secret until they die. However, he is also the catalyst for the tragedy that ensues in this play. His actions can be seen as a form of cowardice: he gives Juliet the vial so that no one finds out he married the lovers, and he runs in the tomb rather than staying with Juliet and preventing her from killing herself. Even this final speech, in which he tells the prince that he should be prosecuted for his actions, is full of blame for everyone's involvement in the young lovers's deaths. In this way the Friar can either be read as a selfish character who acts and speaks out of self interest, or as the moral center who reminds everyone of their hand in the tragedy.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  2. Juliet's famous dying lines represent the final transformation and bring about the tragic ending. The "happy dagger" finds a new "sheath" in Juliet's body. Some critics have seen this as an erotic suicide in which the dagger replaces Romeo in her heart. Much like previous metaphors in which Juliet likened her marriage bed to a grave, this suicide literalizes the presence of death within her love.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  3. By "true apothecary" Romeo means that the poison he bought in the previous scene is just as potent and deadly as the apothecary promised. Romeo's dying words underscore the theme of telling and believing within this play. Just as Romeo is surprised that the apothecary held true to his word that the poison would kill him instantly, the audience may feel sadness that "with a kiss" Romeo dies despite being told by the Prologue at the beginning that this would happen.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  4. This line gives the play an unfinished ending. The fate of the other characters within the play who had a hand in Romeo and Juliet's deaths is uncertain. While the source text for this play details the banishment of the Nurse, the pardoning of the Friar, and the hanging of the Apothecary, Shakespeare leaves the ending open to deny a sense of closure to the audience.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  5. The finals lines of this play mimic the structure of the end of a sonnet, an ABAB quatrain followed by a rhyming couplet. This could be read as a sense of closure in which the Prince offers the audience the story's moral. It would also be read as another instance in which a character tries to shape the story by adding their own narrative.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  6. Notice that even in their grief, Montague and Capulet are competing for who can build a better monument. This could suggest that the lovers' deaths did not end the feud, simply repurpose it.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  7. Like the Friar, the Prince blames higher powers for the deaths of the lovers. The Prince invokes the idea of fate in order to blame the deaths on the feud between the Capulets and Montagues: the tragedy is karma for their hatred. Notice that this is once again a retelling of what has happened. The many instances of retelling throughout this story ask the audience to focus on not what is being said but how it is being said.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  8. The Friar narrates everything that the audience has just seen for the other characters on the stage. Yet because the Friar is telling the basic points of the story, it is once again a reminder to focus on how something is told rather than what is told. Like the Prologue, this is another instance in which the audience must check if they have paid attention to the right part of the story.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  9. Like Romeo who called the poison "cordial", Juliet sees death as a restorative, or medication. Now that Romeo is dead, Juliet's only relief will come with death. Ironically, the poison is the only "medicine" that can save her.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  10. Notice that the Friar blames chance, the "unkind hour," for the tragedy of Romeo and Paris's deaths. Even though it was the Friar's plan that set up these two deaths, he focuses on the random, uncontrollable forces that made his plan go so awry.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  11. In this metaphor, Romeo compares his suicide to a desperate ship captain intentionally destroying his boat on rocks when his boat is weary. This imagery recalls Romeo's original characterization of his passionate grief as "the roaring sea."

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  12. Romeo fears that Death will keep Juliet as his love, and thus vows to kill himself to protect her from Death. Romeo personifies Death here in order to offer a reason why he must die other than sadness over Juliet's death. If Death is a personified being, then Romeo can protect his love from this "abhorred monster."

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  13. Here, Romeo claims that Tybalt is avenged if Romeo kills himself, just as Mercutio was avenged when Romeo killed Tybalt. Notice that while Romeo sees his own death as justice, he still connects Tybalt with the fault of "sundering", splitting or dissolving Mercutio's youth. In this way, he both justifies and takes responsibility for his action.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  14. Unlike sick men who die surrounded by "keepers," or nurses, and merrily welcome death, Romeo does not greet death with the same joy. In comparing himself to these men who are happy to die, Romeo bring attention to the tragedy of his young death.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  15. This is a moment of dramatic irony. The audience knows that Juliet's cheeks and lips are not pale because she is not actually dead. However, Romeo believes that this is a sign of her everlasting beauty: even in death Juliet is beautiful.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  16. Here Romeo conflates his fate with Paris's fate. Both men were doomed by misfortune in love; both men have lost their love. Notice that Romeo holds no malice towards Paris or anger that he was supposed to marry Juliet. Both men become equal in the face of death.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  17. The Friar here speaks to his own inability to control the events of the story. His plan was thwarted by a series of unlikely and unfortunate events that led to the death that he was trying to prevent. The friar says this in order to recognize his own inability to control fate and death.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  18. Romeo's final words to Juliet reflect his first words to her. It is another example of a reverse-blazon in which the speaker fragments himself by individually describing each of his body parts rather than fragmenting his love object.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  19. Romeo references the graves around them to threaten Paris with death if he interferes with Romeo's plans. Notice how Shakespeare uses the dialogue to establish the setting, and fills that setting with emotional charge based on who is speaking.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  20. A "maw" is a jaw generally associated with a ravenous animal. Here, Romeo conflates the image of death as devouring with the image of death as giving life in depicting it as a womb. His metaphors mix life and death together to suggest that his grief makes them indistinguishable.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  21. Notice how Paris goes back and forth between wedding night imagery and funeral imagery. The "canopy" is not a cloth covering to a bed, but the dust covering a head stone.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff