Romeo and Juliet is a great story written in a form of writing that is at often times is very difficult to read. A simple analysis or summery of this writing helps the reading of the play run a lot smoother. So, in the next few paragraphs I will briefly summarize the prologue and five acts of the play.
The prologue of the play can probably explain the entire basic plot of the play in a few short lines that can be easily understood by the reader. So that makes it one of the best ways to summarize the prologue.
||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
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;
Whole misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents' strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Which, but their children's end, nought 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.
In that brief passage, William Shakespeare, the author, sheds light onto where this entire story takes place, Verona, Italy. He also gives away the ending of the play by telling the reader that “A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life”. It also says why they do finally take there life, which is there family’s strife with one another. No more of the story is reveled at this point and it is on to Act I.
In the beginning of Act one, we get the Capulets antagonizing the Montigues into a large; seemingly useless fight. This fight then leads to the prince of Verona, Prince Escalus, to reprimand them from fighting in his town. Romeo, a member of the Montigue family, remains in his room sulking over a women that he loves who has chosen to remain chaste for the rest of her life. Paris tries to convince Lord Capulet to allow him to marry his 13 year old daughter, Juliet. Capulet then proceeds to telling Paris that he should wait, but if she says yes to the idea, then all the better. Later that night, the Capulets hold a masked ball that some of the Montigues sneak into. Thus, this is where Romeo meets Juliet for the first time. They share a kiss that night and they both find out each others last name from the nurse. (One interesting point to make about this Act is that Romeo foreshadows his own death before the ball that he crashes; which I quote below …)
||I fear, too early: for my mind misgives
Some consequence yet hanging in the stars
Shall bitterly begin his fearful date
With this night's revels and expire the term
Of a despised life closed in my breast
By some vile forfeit of untimely death.
But He, that hath the steerage of my course,
Direct my sail! On, lusty gentlemen.
In act two, we get the main character, Romeo, jumping the garden wall to Juliet’s balcony, whilst Benvolio and Mercutio look for him. After Mercutio has a long speech with plenty of obscene plays on words, they get bored and leave. Soon after Juliet pokes her head out of the balcony and asks…
||O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I'll no longer be a Capulet.
After Romeo, aside from Juliet, asks himself weather he should hear more or speak at that. They then swear their love for one another, agree to marriage, and agree to send someone to figure out where to meet for the marriage. They both leave and Romeo runs to Friar Lawrence’s cell to tell him the news. When Romeo arrives, the Friar is out collecting poisonous herbs to make medicine. --Something about this doesn’t suit me right. I mean, Romeo and Juliet’s downfall is poison, and in the upcoming scene he agrees to marry the two because it may perhaps heal the family’s fighting. I guess it is just some irony that I am not quite seeing-- Romeo asks Friar Lawrence if he will wed the two of them and he agrees only because it might help fix the two family’s problems. Romeo and Juliet are wed that day and everything ends happily ever after, if the story had ended there.
In the very beginning of Act 3 with Tybalt looking for Romeo to
confront him about sneaking into last nights ball. Romeo arrives
and tries talking to his, now, cousin in law. Marcutio aggravates
Tybalt, and Tybalt stabs Marcutio and runs off. Marcutio dies from
his fatal wounds and Romeo vows revenge. Romeo kills Tybalt and
then is banished from Verona; a far less punishment than what he
could have gotten. The nurse delivers the news to Juliet, whom which
sends the nurse to fetch Romeo. Romeo overreacts to the fact that
he was banished from Verona and agrees with the Friar that he will
leave to Mantua. Juliet’s parents agree with Paris that they will
be wed on the following Thursday. The nurse agrees with Juliet’s
parents, which leads to Juliet’s excuse for leaving, which being
that she was going to Friar Lawrence’s to confess her sins.
Paris, Juliet, and the Friar are all in the Friar cell. The now arrogant Paris is forcibly talking with talking with Juliet. The Friar talks to Juliet alone and devises a plan so Romeo and Juliet can escape together. The plan is that Juliet will take a poison that will make her appear to be dead. She will be put away in a Capulet’s vault where all the deceased are kept. Then, once alone, Romeo can sneak away with Juliet. Juliet then acts willing to marry Paris for the rest of the time. Juliet sleeps alone one night and drinks the poison that the Friar has given her. The plan is successful and the Capulet’s all think she has committed suicide.
Romeo receives word from his servant that Juliet has died and he gets a horse to see if this is true for himself. On the way he buys poison. Friar Lawrence sent Friar John with a letter to give to Romeo which never made it to him. Thus, Romeo had no idea that Juliet’s death was only staged. Romeo arrives at the vault and has a dual with Paris who had been watching guard. Romeo kills Paris and enters Juliet’s tomb. Realizing that the news had been true he seals himself in and drinks the poison he had purchased. He dies kissing Juliet and Friar Lawrence comes not a moment sooner to realize what had happened. Juliet wakes up and stabs herself instead of coming out to the pleading Friar. Each family has a statue of each others lost member. And thus comes the ending quote of the play.
||For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo
My thoughts of the play have remained the same throughout the
reading of the play. A somewhat predictable story that was written
in a style of writing alien to this time. Most people cannot read
it, let alone comprehend the meanings of what is going on during
every important part of the play. Their were several times when
I had to stop and go to Sparknotes(dot)com to look for a summery
or a modernization of the story. Other than that though, the fact
that Romeo never seemed to sleep during the story made it a bit
unbelievable. Also, time practically stood still when you read the
play. All in all, the play was a pretty dry read, but compared to
it, the story was much better.
As is similar for all of my other layouts, mostly just a caffeine
and Pringles induced rage that I felt worked for whatever my current
thoughts were. The layout was done in concept in Photoshop, so I
could see how it was all going to be pieced together. Then it was
carefully cut out of that and then put together using a very helpful
program called Dreamweaver 2004. After everything was written I
made all the titles in Photoshop and then threw in some nice CSS
styles so everything fitted together right. Other than that, it
is just a lot of tables and images… If I could have gone back to
before I started working on this, I would have made a flash animation
instead. It would have been a lot less work than what I did… But,
nevertheless, I am happy that I did it.