Jule Romans is a retired English teacher and college instructor. She has taught Shakespeare and advanced literature because that over 25 years.

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If you space struggling come make feeling of the prologue come Romeo and Juliet, try this comfortable line-by-line analysis. Us start first with the prologue in that entirety and also a quick an overview of the facts. Then, we relocate on come a translation and explanation of each line individually.

The Prologue come Romeo and Juliet

Two households, both alike in dignity(In same Verona, whereby we lay ours scene),From old grudge break to new mutiny,Where civil blood provides civil hand unclean.From soon the deadly loins the these two foesA pair that star-crossed lovers take your life,Whose misadventured piteous overthrowsDoth through their fatality bury their parents' strife.The fear passage of your death-marked loveAnd the keep going of your parents' rage,Which, yet their children’s end, naught can remove,Is currently the 2 hours' traffic of ours stage—The which, if you v patient ear attend,What right here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.


Summary of the Romeo and Juliet Prologue

The prologue come Romeo and also Juliet is a sonnet through 14 currently of iambic pentameter in one ABAB CDCD EFEF GG rhyme scheme.It to adjust the scene because that the play by hinting at many of the activity to come.the an initial stanza explains the setting and simple conflict the the play.The second stanza defines the young lovers and also their dilemma.The third stanza tells how the household feud will certainly finally end in tragedy, and also explains the focus of the play.The last two lines remind the audience that there is an ext to come once the beat is plot onstage.
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Two households, both alike in dignity

(In fair Verona, whereby we lay ours scene),

From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,

Where civil blood renders civil hands unclean.


Romeo and also Juliet Prologue Analysis: first Stanza, happiness Scheme

Rhyme Scheme and also Iambic Pentameter

The happiness scheme, as you may note, is ABAB, and all lines space in iambic pentameter. Note how the lines have been damaged up to display the meter:

<1> 2 house / holds, both / alike / in dig / nity (A)

<2> (In fair / Vero / na, where / we lay / our scene), (B)

<3> native an /cient grudge / rest to / brand-new mu / tiny, (A)

<4> whereby ci / vil blood / makes ci / vil hands / unclean. (B)

Review Iambic pentameter and also Romeo and Juliet sonnets.

Two high-class family members have been fighting because that years in the city that Verona, Italy. Castle are shortly to come to be embroiled in violence again. Your old grudges will certainly erupt in bloodshed and stain your hands.


Two households, both alike in dignity

Two families, both equally respected

Note the perfect iambic pentameter of this line: two HOUSE/ holds BOTH / a choose / in dig /ni TY. The two family members referred to right here are the Capulets and Montagues.


This heat "Two households..." has actually its own thorough interpretation the can assist you better understand Romeo and also Juliet.

The Montagues and The Capulets

Both family members are same high in rank within the city of Verona. Remember the in the time period of the play, a "household" might include expanded family, friends, and also servants. So, the two families could comprise a large part of the populace of a smaller sized town.

(In fair Verona, where we lay ours scene),

In the pleasant city of Verona, where this play will certainly take place

Verona is in north Italy. The beat is intended to take ar in the 14th or 15th century. That would certainly be about 100 year in the past, come Shakespeare's audience.

This line simply makes clear the the setup of the play will certainly be in Italy, no England.

From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,

An old grudge and also simmering resentment in between the two households will to explode into new violence.

The Capulets and Montagues have a long-standing feud the affects everyone in town. Even their servants hate each other. Though this feud has actually not erupted in violence because that awhile, it will certainly soon perform so.


The very an initial scene of the beat (the one that complies with this prologue) is a brawl that starts since of some harsh words in between the servants of both families.

Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.

The violence that the fighting in between these households puts blood on the hands of civilians.

The Montagues and also Capulets gain blood on your hands, when they need to really be preventing this kind of low-class brawl.

A twin Meaning

Consider the pat on words below with the two supplies of the word "civil." even though lock are an alleged to be "civil" or seemly, decent, and also well-behaved families, no soldiers, lock still burned blood and are guilty that violence.


Also think of the image produced by hands gift unclean and also stained through blood. This two things are instances of the poetic usage of language in this prologue.

From soon the deadly loins of these 2 foes

A pair that star-crossed lover take your life,

Whose misadventured piteous overthrows

Doth with their fatality bury their parents' strife.

Romeo and Juliet Prologue Analysis: 2nd Stanza

Rhyme Scheme and Iambic Pentameter

Note the rhyme system that proceeds according come the sample of a sonnet. The iambic pentameter continues as well, also though it is no marked.

<5> native forth the fatal loins that these 2 foes (C)

<6> A pair the star-crossed lovers take their life, (D)

<7> who misadventured piteous overthrows (C)

<8> Doth through their fatality bury their parents' strife. (D)


Two lovers space born from these warring families. Their fatality will reason the Montagues and Capulets to finally finish their feud.

A more in-depth analysis of the Romeo and Juliet death scene reveals the details the the twin suicide whereby the star-crossed lovers die in the Capulet tomb.

From forth the deadly loins that these two foes

These two enemies bore children.

"From soon the deadly loins" is a reference to birth. Loins is an additional word for the area in between the legs. A baby comes forth from its mother's loins.

Referring come them as "fatal" implies instantly that the outcome may be deadly because that the son or parent. "These two foes" space the Montagues and the Capulets.

In the next line, we space to discover that there will be two children, one from each family.

A pair that star-crossed lovers take your life,

Two lovers room born from the families. Your love is doomed by fate because of your birth to warring families.


"Star-crossed" is the expression that implies fate. The stars, or fates, are versus the lover from the start, together if your astrology dooms them. We have the right to assume that one boy will be a boy, and one will be a girl, and that castle will autumn in love.

We do recognize that Romeo is the young born into the Montague family and Juliet is the girl born into the Capulet family.


What go "Take their Life" Mean?

"Take your life" have the right to be read two ways: to take it life indigenous (or it is in born), or to take life far from (or kill). In various other words, the prologue offers you a hint about how this play will end, v the lovers taking their own lives.

"Take your life" means, top top the surface, the these two kids gain life from their mothers. However, due to the fact that we know that both Romeo and also Juliet commit suicide, the phrase "take their life" has actually a double meaning that foreshadows later events.

Whose misadventured piteous overthrows

Whose struggles and also defeats need to inspire our pity.

This line is likely inserted to improve the rate of this sonnet. Its definition is somewhat ambiguous. Misadventures are bad adventures, or poor experiences. Piteous means that we have to feel great sympathy because that the lovers.

The an interpretation of "Misadventured Piteous Overthrows"

The word "overthrows" describes a lesser-known meaning of the word. It is: "a removal native power, a defeat or downfall." In this case, "overthrows" refers to their attempts come thwart the hatred in between the families and also turn it come love.

In your love, Romeo and also Juliet rebel against the family feud. Thus, the lovers will have poor experiences worthy that pity and eventually be defeated. However, store in mind the we have to stretch pretty far to come up with this interpretation.


Doth v their fatality bury your parents' strife.

When the lover die, the Montagues and Capulets ultimately stop fighting.


The fatality of Romeo and Juliet is pre-determined through this line. The audience now knows just how the story will certainly end. The two lovers will certainly die and also the family members will finish the feud due to the fact that of this.

Also keep in mind the double an interpretation of burying strife v death. Once the lover die, they are buried. The conflict between the family members dies as well, and also is buried together with Romeo and Juliet.

The fear passage of your death-marked love

And the keep going of their parents' rage,

Which, however their children’s end, naught might remove,

Is currently the 2 hours' website traffic of our stage—

Romeo and Juliet Prologue Analysis: 3rd Stanza

Rhyme Scheme and Iambic Pentameter

This third collection of four lines is the 3rd stanza. Note the luck scheme proceeds with the sonnet pattern:

<9> The fear passage of their death-marked love (E)

<10> and the continuance of your parents' rage, (F)

<11> Which, however their children’s end, naught might remove, (E)

<12> Is now the 2 hours' website traffic of our stage (F)

The fear-filled and thrilling story of just how the lover died, and how that death was the only thing that can end the feud, these room the things we will perform onstage today. The play will tell the story of just how the feud was finished by the death of the two young lovers.


The fear passage of your death-marked love

The tremble story of your doomed love the will reason them to die

"Fearful passage" is a poetic method of speak the progression of your love is complete of fear. In Shakespeare's time, this likewise meant a story was thrilling come the audience.

Their love is significant for death from the very beginning. We room again reminded the the finish of the story will be tragic. We start the pat by learning the finish of the story.


What we don't know is just how that finish will come about. This keeps the audience and readers interested, and foreshadows the well known balcony step of Romeo and Juliet.

And the keep going of your parents' rage,

And the anger the continues in between the lovers' parents...

This line relies on the following line to do it complete. But, it begins by telling us that the story will encompass the continuing anger between the families. It means that this "rage" will certainly negatively affect everyone.

The real meaning comes in the next line.

Which, but their children’s end, naught might remove,

The anger was so solid that, except for the fatality of their children, nothing can take it away.

Shakespeare has actually a tendency to reverse the order of words. In this line, that is most apparent. What it says is: only the death of the youngsters could take away the rage. "Naught" method nothing.


So once we check out "naught could remove" it way "nothing could remove."

This line combines through the line before it in stimulate to do sense.

The finish meaning, then, is: The proceeding feud between the Montagues and also Capulets will only be ended since of the deaths of Romeo and also Juliet.

Nothing else would certainly be solid enough to finish the hate.

Is now the 2 hours' website traffic of our stage—

Is what we will do for you right here on this stage.

The chorus is now telling the audience that the entirety story just laid out will certainly be perform on the stage.

"Two hours traffic" method that for the following two hours, the performers will certainly come and also go on stage to spreading the story. That is somewhat odd the the line says two hours.


In general, Shakespeare's plays to be much longer than 2 hours. They regularly lasted several hours or even whole afternoon. This anomaly is exciting to world who great to look deeper.

The which, if you v patient ears attend,

What right here shall miss, our toil shall effort to mend.

Romeo and Juliet Prologue Analysis: Couplet and Turn

Rhyme Scheme and also Meaning

Note that the last two lines rhyme v each other, creating a last couplet as forced by the layout of a sonnet.


<13> The which, if you with patient ear attend, (G)<14> What here shall miss, ours toil shall effort to mend. (G)

This couplet has actually a simple meaning. It speak the audience the "If friend pay attention to the play, whatever will become clear. All the details to let go in the prologue will be revealed in the performance."

The which, if you with patient ears attend,

This performance, if you will listen carefully and also be patient

The play will tell the entirety story, if the audience will certainly watch closely. "Attend" way to pay attention. We know that the audience does much more than listen, however Shakespeare chooses to use the word ears, implying that listening to the words will be important. This provides sense since of the poetry of the play.

What here shall miss, ours toil shall strive to mend.

The actors will work tough to do this story and fill in any type of details this prologue pipeline out.

"What here shall miss" means: What has actually not been said here in this prologue. The chorus explains that the upcoming play will certainly cover many an ext events the were mentioned.

Using the words "toil" and "strive" means that the performers will be taking an excellent care to demonstrate the story. The vital thing to keep in psychic is that the whole prologue is a setup come this last line.


This heat is the introduction to the play, preparing the audience to get ready and also pay attention.

The Prologue to Romeo and Juliet

<1>-- 2 households, both alike in dignity (A)<2>-- (In same Verona, where we lay our scene), (B)<3>-- From old grudge rest to brand-new mutiny, (A)<4>-- wherein civil blood makes civil hand unclean. (B)<5>-- From forth the deadly loins of these two foes (C)<6>-- A pair the star-crossed lovers take your life, (D)<7>-- whose misadventured piteous overthrows (C)<8>-- Doth v their fatality bury your parents' strife. (D)<9>-- The fearful passage of their death-marked love (E)<10>- and also the keep going of your parents' rage, (F)<11>- Which, however their children’s end, naught might remove, (E)<12>- Is currently the 2 hours' traffic of our stage— (F)<13>- The which, if you v patient ear attend, (G)<14>- What right here shall miss, ours toil shall strive to mend. (G)


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Friar Laurence witnesses the tragic consequences

J. Northcote, engraved by P. Simon , via Wikimedia Commons


This content is accurate and also true to the ideal of the author’s knowledge and is not supposed to substitute because that formal and individualized advice indigenous a default professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: Why did Shakespeare use the sonnet kind for the prologue?

Answer: we don't know for sure, however it seems possible that the sonnet form was chosen due to the fact that of the sonnet's strict order and also structure.


The occasions of the play will be chaotic. The native of the sonnet call a story of potential violence and also disarray.

Yet, this words are contained in a an extremely orderly poetic form. The contrast of this two points adds complexity and also depth come Shakespeare's prologue.


One other popular theory proposes the the sonnet kind is chosen since Romeo and Juliet is a love story, and sonnets are associated with love. This may be the case.

However, the seems more likely the this theory is an interpretation that we can put top top the prologue together we look back on the play. It may not have been a deliberate choice on Shakespeare's part.

We have actually no way to recognize for sure, together I said, yet it is enjoyable to study and also consider.

Question: can you sophisticated on how love and fate are stood for in Romeo and also Juliet?

Answer: If friend are trying to find representations the love and also fate together, you have to look no more than currently 6 and 7 the the prologue. Both that those lines, taken together, strongly imply that fate dram a huge duty in the play. Use of the ax "star-crossed lovers" is a rather evident reference to fate.

The stars are against Romeo and Juliet. The stars, in fact, are at cross objectives to the young lovers. Therefore, Romeo and Juliet room "star-crossed," and also fated to endure from circumstances beyond their control.


A less apparent representation that fate comes through the expression "misadventured piteous overthrows." there is the feeling of sadness (piteous), and tragic life-altering mistakes (misadventured overthrows). These events are beyond the lovers' control, and a strong representation of fate.

These two lines set up heat 8, whereby the use of "fearful passage" and also "death-marked" are used in direct linkage come the love in between Romeo and Juliet.

Here in the prologue, we watch that fatality is a foregone conclusion, and also that the lovers room fated to dice from their passionate connection.


Question: “The which, if you v patient ear attend, what here shall miss, our toil shall effort to mend”. What walk this heat in the prologue of Romeo and also Juliet mean?

Answer: In short, it way "If you will certainly patiently listen to this story which us will soon act out for you right here onstage, what I have not explained here, we will present you in our performance."

Let's break it down:

"The which" describes the lines before. The is, the story that the love and death that Romeo and also Juliet, and also the feud in between the Capulets and Montagues.

"If you with patient ears attend" way "If you will certainly patiently listen"


"What below shall miss" way whatever has been missed, or not fully explained, by this prologue.

"Our toil" is the occupational of the actors in performing the play.

"Shall strive to mend" means that the performance will certainly mend, or fix, any gaps in the story. The power itself will explain any ideas that have actually been to let go by the statements in the prologue.

Thus, the heat means:

"If you will patiently hear to the upcoming performance, every the details that the prologue may have actually left out will certainly be displayed onstage by the actors in this play."

Question: What is the tragic template of "Romeo and Juliet"?

Answer: There are several feasible themes to comment on in "Romeo and also Juliet."

It sounds together though friend are trying to find something the connects well v the meaning of tragedy. In this case, among the themes can be that unrestrained passion is fatal.


We see instances of this kind of thing throughout the play. Friar Laurence has several speeches that admonish versus rash and also violent actions. Tybalt together a finish character displayed the destruction of passionate emotions that space not well balanced with dignity. From the an extremely beginning of the play, unrestrained emotion drives characters to destructive violence.


A common theme that "Romeo and Juliet" might be, simply, "love." however that is as well simplistic.

The TRAGIC design template of the pat is far better stated as: "unrestrained passion deserve to be fatal." Passion definitely was deadly for plenty of of the characters in the play, and not just Romeo and Juliet.

Question: What is the setup of "Romeo and also Juliet"?

Answer: "Romeo and also Juliet" takes place in the 14th century in the city the Verona, Italy.

Question: Why does Shakespeare call us how the story is going come end?

Answer: I know it could seem odd the Shakespeare tells us the ending of the Romeo and Juliet story in the prologue. But, it yes, really wasn't all that unusual in Elizabethan England. This to be a typical practice in theater at the time.

The concept began with Greek theater, and also was restored in Shakespeare's time. Typically, the prologue would reveal the an essential points that the story.

The audience wouldn't mind at all. In fact, some audiences would favor this type of predictable performance.

See more: Why Is Zero Multiplied By Any Number Multiplied By Zero Is Equal To Zero?

Question: Is Romeo and Juliet a tragedy or a comedy?

Answer: Technically, The beat Romeo and Juliet is no a tragedy no one a comedy.


The pat does no fit the classical definition of tragedy. In a classic tragedy, there need to be a main character who starts as a good person, however has a deadly flaw the leads to downfall, and also eventually, death. Prior to death, that key character must additionally have a minute of insight, and express some kind of awareness the there has actually been a loss from grace.

None that the personalities in Romeo and also Juliet fulfill every one of these characteristics. Friar Laurence come closest. However, also though Friar Laurence does proof a deadly flaw, downfall, and insight, that does no die.

Romeo and Juliet both die, the course, yet they execute not show evidence that the progression required to be taken into consideration tragic heroes.

So, Romeo and also Juliet is not conveniently classified together a tragedy.

A shak spa comedy has actually a lighthearted tone and also typically ends through the marriage of several characters, or an additional celebration of part sort. Ns think we deserve to all agree the Romeo and Juliet does not fit v this an interpretation of comedy.

Therefore, Romeo and also Juliet is no classified together a tragedy and also does not fit the needs of a comedy, either.

Question: Why go Shakespeare write a prologue?


Answer: no one is really certain of Shakespeare's motives in creating this prologue. However, the prologue come Romeo and Juliet sets increase the story really effectively.

It would be really common in Shakespeare's time for audiences to know all about a story prior to they ever saw the acted onstage. So, it's not inexplicable that the prologue to adjust the scene and also tells every little thing that is keep going in the play prior to it also begins.


The great thing about this prologue, though, is the it really adds weight to the "star overcome lovers" layout by enhancing the sense of fate.

From the an extremely beginning, the fate that the young lover is currently decided. This template of fate weaves its method throughout the rest of the play and is underscored by the prologue itself.

So, while us don't know specifically why Shakespeare created it, we certainly know why the is a perfect way to begin the play.

Question: what does the chorus asking of the audience in the last 2 lines of Romeo and also Juliet?

Answer: In the last 2 lines the the prologue, the chorus says:

"The which if you with patient ears attend,

What right here shall miss, ours toil shall effort to mend."


The chorus is questioning the audience to salary close fist to the actions that will quickly take place on stage.