The Prologue

Scene—Verona; Mantua.

Enter Chorus.

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes(5)
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;
Whose misadventur'd piteous overthrows
Doth, with their death, bury their parents’ strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their parents’ rage,(10)
Which, but their children's end, naught could remove,
Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.



  1. Notice that this play begins with a sonnet that unveils the entire plot of the story. The use of the sonnet here draws our attention to the form, or construction, of the words Shakespeare uses. This literary device coupled with the choice to begin the story with a spoiler suggests that the purpose of this play is not the plot but the way in which the plot is constructed. This prologue asks the audience to pay attention to form.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  2. In Greek tragedy, a chorus was a group of actors that would comment on or interpret the main action of the play for the audience. They usually did so by speaking and moving together. In the Early Modern period, this role was reduced to a single actor who would deliver the prologue and epilogue to a play. The presence of a chorus at the beginning of the play establishes a connection between the audience and the players on stage and commands them to pay attention to the story.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff