Romeo and Juliet
Act 4, scenes 1–2
Summary: Act 4, scene 1
In his cell, Friar Lawrence speaks with Paris about the latter’s impending marriage to Juliet. Paris says that Juliet’s grief about Tybalt’s death has made her unbalanced, and that Capulet, in his wisdom, has determined they should marry soon so that Juliet can stop crying and put an end to her period of mourning. The friar remarks to himself that he wishes he were unaware of the reason that Paris’s marriage to Juliet should be delayed.
Juliet enters, and Paris speaks to her lovingly, if somewhat arrogantly. Juliet responds indifferently, showing neither affection nor dislike. She remarks that she has not married him yet. On the pretense that he must hear Juliet’s confession, Friar Lawrence ushers Paris away, though not before Paris kisses Juliet once. After Paris leaves, Juliet asks Friar Lawrence for help, brandishing a knife and saying that she will kill herself rather than marry Paris. The friar proposes a plan: Juliet must consent to marry Paris; then, on the night before the wedding, she must drink a sleeping potion that will make her appear to be dead; she will be laid to rest in the Capulet tomb, and the friar will send word to Romeo in Mantua to help him retrieve her when she wakes up. She will then return to Mantua with Romeo, and be free to live with him away from their parents’ hatred. Juliet consents to the plan wholeheartedly. Friar Lawrence gives her the sleeping potion.
Summary: Act 4, scene 2
Juliet returns home, where she finds Capulet and Lady Capulet preparing for the wedding. She surprises her parents by repenting her disobedience and cheerfully agreeing to marry Paris. Capulet is so pleased that he insists on moving the marriage up a day, to Wednesday—tomorrow. Juliet heads to her chambers to, ostensibly, prepare for her wedding. Capulet heads off to tell Paris the news.
Analysis: Act 4, scenes 1–2
Friar Lawrence is the wiliest and most scheming character in Romeo and Juliet: he secretly marries the two lovers, spirits Romeo to Mantua, and stages Juliet’s death. The friar’s machinations seem also to be tools of fate. Yet despite the role Friar Lawrence plays in bringing about the lovers’ deaths, Shakespeare never presents him in a negative, or even ambiguous, light. He is always treated as a benign, wise presence. The tragic failure of his plans is treated as a disastrous accident for which Friar Lawrence bears no responsibility.
In contrast, it is a challenge to situate Paris along the play’s moral continuum. He is not exactly an adversary to Romeo and Juliet, since he never acts consciously to harm them or go against their wishes. Like almost everyone else, he knows nothing of their relationship. Paris’s feelings for Juliet are also a subject of some ambiguity, since the audience is never allowed access to his thoughts. Later textual evidence does indicate that Paris harbors a legitimate love for Juliet, and though he arrogantly assumes Juliet will want to marry him, Paris never treats her unkindly. Nevertheless, because she does not love him, he represents a real and frightening potentiality for Juliet.
by DenerioWillis19, October 18, 2012
I really like how they translated the quotes into modern day time.
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by darklove123, December 17, 2012
Everything in the translation is correct, but a huge part was not included. The last few sentences which makes a HUGE difference, Shakespeare said not to be stupid and think the play is about what the SPARKNOTES TRANSLATION says. In fact he says star-crossed lovers are not real and not to depend on it, our futures are determined by us, and not some stupid stars. He wrote this entire play to make the point Romeo and Juliet are only the symptoms of the tragedy. The tragedy is the loss of humanity in Verona as you can see in the play.... Sorry
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by Shookie219, December 18, 2012
This site is wonderful but it doesn't point out some literary elements I think it should such as dramatic irony. In Act IV Scene I one of the first occurrences of dramatic irony is that Paris believes Juliet is weeping over Tybalt's death but she is weeping over Romeo which the audience knows.
It would be nice to have dramatic irony's pointed out a little!
38 out of 52 people found this helpful1