Romeo and Juliet Act 1, Scene 5 Full Summary {Step by Step Guide}

Romeo and Juliet Act 1, Scene 5 Full Summary {Step by Step Guide}

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Romeo and Juliet Act 1, Scene 5 Full Summary| Romeo and Juliet Act 1, Scene 5 Summary

Peter, a serving-man, is not happy. He asks another serving-man why Potpan, another serving-man, is not helping to take away the supper things to make the room ready for dancing. Peter tells the serving-man who is with him to take away the stools, sideboards, and plates.

Peter asks his helper to save him a piece of marzipan (almond candy) and to tell the porter to let in Susan Grindstone and Nell. (It looks like the servants are going to have their own party.)

Peter calls loudly for Antony and Potpan. Everyone hurries to clean up, so they can enjoy the rest of the evening. Lord Capulet welcomes Romeo and the other masked guests.

Lord Capulet jokes that the men may dance with any woman with good feet. Only the women with corns (bumps of thick skin) on their feet will not want to dance.

Lord Capulet thinks it is funny that all of the women will now dance because if they say no, everyone will think they have ugly, bad feet.

Lord Capulet says he remembers when he had been young and had worn a visor (a mask that covered only his eyes) and he had whispered into a girl’s ear, flirting while dancing.

He was sad that he is no longer young. He tells the maskers that they are welcome and tells the musicians to begin playing. Lord Capulet tells his cousin that they are too old to dance, so they should both sit down to watch the fun.

Lord Capulet asks his cousin when they had last worn masks to a party. Capulet’s cousin says the last time they had Worn masks had been thirty years ago.

Lord Capulet thinks they had worn masks twenty-five years ago, and the two men begin to talk about the past. Romeo sees a beautiful girl and asks a servant who she is. The servant says he does not know.

Romeo says the girl is so beautiful that she teaches torches how to burn bright. (Her beauty lights up the party.) He says she is like a beautiful bright jewel shining against the background of an African girl’s ear.

Her beauty is too strong for life and too wonderful to be buried on the earth. She is so beautiful that she looks like a white dove, while the other girls look like black crows.

Note: Romeo’s words remind readers that in Act 1, Scene 2, Benvolio had predicted that Romeo would see a girl who would look like a swan and make Rosaline look like a crow.

Romeo says that he has never seen beauty until this night. When the beautiful girl finishes the dance, he will look to see where she is
standing. Then he will touch her hand. His own hand will then be blessed.

Romeo asks himself if his heart has ever been loved before. He asks himself if his eyes have ever been loved before. He tells his eyes to say no to the idea that they have ever loved before because Romeo knows he has never experienced love before this night!

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Tybalt hears Romeo speaking and recognizes his voice. Tybalt is very angry that a Montague has come to the Capulet house. He asks a servant to bring him a sword to use to kill Romeo.

Lord Capulet, Tybalt’s uncle, comes to Tybalt. Lord Capulet asks why Tybalt looks so angry. Tybalt points to Romeo and says that Romeo is an enemy – a Montague who has come to destroy the party.

Capulet asks if the Montague is “young Romeo.” Tybalt says that the Montague is Romeo. Lord Capulet tells his nephew, whom he calls “coz,” to calm down and leave Romeo alone.

Lord Capulet says Romeo is behaving like a “portly gentleman” (a well-mannered gentleman). Capulet says that Romeo is respected by the people who live in Verona.

Capulet says that even if the town gave all of its money to him, he would not take it if he had to insult Romeo tonight in Capulet’s own home. Capulet tells Tybalt to respect him, calm down, stop frowning and act like he is at a party.

Tybalt says frowning and being angry is the right thing to do when a bad person comes uninvited. He says he will not be nice to Romeo.

Capulet calls Tybalt “goodman boy” (little man) and tells him to obey. They are in Capulet’s house, not Tybalt’s. Tybalt must not cause any problems for the guests.

Tybalt tells his uncle that the situation is wrong. (Romeo should not be there.) Capulet tells Tybalt to stop arguing and that it is time for him to be taught a lesson.

Capulet compliments his guests and pretends to be happy. He tells them to keep having fun. Then Capulet tells Tybalt that he is an over-confident boy who should be ashamed. The music plays and the guests dance.

Tybalt says to himself that the need to be patient (to make his uncle happy) combines with his anger to make his body shake. He says he will now leave the party, but he will turn Romeo’s sweet trick of coming uninvited to the party into something bitter and unpleasant.

After Tybalt leaves, Romeo goes to Juliet. He touches her hand with his. He tells her that his hand is not good enough to touch her hand. Her hand is holy (godly) and should be worshipped.

If she is upset by the sin (an act against God) of his hand touching her hand, he will have his lips act like pilgrims (people who travel to religious places). He will kiss her to make things better.

Juliet calls Romeo a “good pilgrim” and says he is wrong to insult his own hand. His touch shows his devotion (dedication). Saints (very good, religious people) are honored by the kisses of pilgrims (also known as palmers). Touching the palms of hands together is like a religious kiss.

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Romeo asks if saints and pilgrims have lips. (He knows they do. He is trying to get Juliet to kiss him.) Juliet says saints and sinners use their lips to pray (ask God for something). (Juliet is telling Romeo that he can ask her for a kiss.)

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Romeo calls Juliet a saint and says he prays that she will let his lips do what his hands do – pray. He prays (asks for) a kiss so that his faith (belief) will not become despair (great sadness.) Juliet says saints don’t move (go from place to place or ask for things), but they do answer prayers.

Romeo uses the first meaning of the word “move” and asks Juliet to not move – to stand still so he can kiss her. Romeo kisses Juliet and tells her that his sin has been cleaned by her lips taking his sin away.

Juliet gets Romeo to kiss her again by asking him if her lips now have his sin. Romeo asks to have his sin back and kisses Juliet again.

Note: When Romeo and Juliet speak of their love by using religious words, they make their love seem good, but because Romeo says Juliet should be worshipped, he is lifting her up to God’s level. Romeo is sinning, and this could be one reason why the play cannot end happily.

After their second kiss, Juliet teases Romeo and says he kisses “by th’ book” (like someone who has studied kissing and can get girls to kiss him).  The Nurse comes and tells Juliet that her mother wants to talk to her, so Juliet walks away.

Note: In Shakespeare’s actual words when Romeo and Juliet meet, they speak in poetic lines. Together Romeo and Juliet’s 14 lines make a sonnet (a poem with 14 lines) with a rhyme scheme (pattern) of ababcdcdefefgg. (The letters ababcdcdefefgg show which lines rhyme).

The first and third lines rhyme with each other, so both are labeled with an “a.”) Sonnets are often about love, so it makes sense that Shakespeare uses a sonnet to write about the love Romeo and Juliet feel when they first meet.

Shakespeare also uses a sonnet with the same rhyme pattern at the beginning of the play, in the Prologue, which describes Romeo and Juliet’s future deaths.

Since Shakespeare uses similar sonnets in the Prologue and the description of the couple’s first meeting, he helps audiences see how Romeo and Juliet’s love is connected to a sad future.

Romeo still does not know Juliet’s name, so he asks the Nurse who Juliet’s mother is. The Nurse says that he has been dancing with the daughter of the lady of the house (Lady Capulet).

The Nurse says she knows because she had nursed Juliet and whoever marries the girl will “have the chinks” (have a lot of coins and money).

Romeo says to himself, “Is she a Capulet?” Romeo says it is a heavy debt to pay to have his life in the hands of a Capulet – an enemy of his family.

Benvolio comes to Romeo and says that it is time to leave. The party is at its most fun time. (It can only slow down from this point.)

Romeo agrees that it is time to leave and says that he is even more unhappy now than when he came to the party. Lord Capulet asks them to stay longer, but they and others begin to leave.

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Lord Capulet says good night to his guests, asks for more torches, and tells his cousin that it is getting late and he is going to go to bed.

After Lord Capulet leaves to go to bed, Juliet and the Nurse watch the guests as they leave. Juliet wants to know Romeo’s name, but
she does not want the Nurse to know she is interested in the unknown man, so Juliet asks for the names of several young men.

Finally, Juliet asks for the name of the young man who had not danced. When the Nurse says she does not know, Juliet tells the Nurse to go ask.

After the Nurse leaves to discover Romeo’s name, Juliet says, “If he is married. My grave is like to be my wedding bed” (Lines 134-135 in Shakespeare’s original words in Act 1, Scene 5).

She means that if Romeo is married, she will die unmarried. She will not marry anyone else. These lines also foreshadow her fate (show what will happen later in the play) when her grave does become her wedding bed.

The Nurse comes back and tells Juliet that the man whose name they had not known is Romeo Montague – the only son of the Capulet family’s greatest enemy.

When Juliet learns that Romeo is a Montague, she says, “My only love sprung from my only hate!/ Too early seen unknown, and known too late!

Prodigious birth of love it is to me, / That I must love a loathėd enemy” (Lines 138-141).” Juliet thinks that if she had known Romeo was a
Montague, she wouldn’t have fallen in love with him, but now it’s “too late.” Also, this new love is not beginning well because Romeo is a member of an enemy family.

Note: TheI mark shows the end of each poetic line. Also, although Juliet and Romeo wish they did not love each other because of the fighting between their families, they both seem to think that they are already experiencing unending love.

The Nurse asks Juliet what she is saying. Juliet lies and says she is just saying a rhyme she had heard from someone she had danced with. (A rhyme is when the ends of two words sound the same – like “me” and “enemy” whose ending sounds are [ee].

The Nurse hears someone calling Juliet and says that they should go. All of the guests are gone.

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