Romeo and Juliet Act 4, Scene 5 Full Summary {Step by Step Guide}


Romeo and Juliet Act 4, Scene 5 Full Summary {Step by Step Guide}

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Romeo and Juliet Act 4, Scene 5 Full Summary| Romeo and Juliet Act 4, Scene 5 Summary

The Nurse, happy and excited, walk into Juliet’s room. She calls out Juliet’s name. Hearing no answer, the Nurse calls Juliet, “love,” “sweetheart,” “Madame,” and “bride.”

The Nurse says it is good that Juliet has slept because she will not sleep when Paris is making love to her after they are married.

The Nurse walks to Juliet and says, “What, dress’d! and in your clothes!… I must needs wake you; Lady! lady! lady!” The Nurse touches Juliet and says, “Help, help! my lady’s dead!… My lord! my lady!” The Nurse says she wishes she had never been born to see this day.

Lady Capulet comes in and asks what all the noise is about. The nurse says it is a sad day. Lady Capulet asks what is the problem. When the nurse just repeats herself, Lady Capulet touches Juliet and sees that she is dead.

Lady Capulet cries out, “O me, O me! My child, my only life. Revive, look up, or I will die with thee! Help, help! Call help.”

Lord Capulet walks in, saying that it is “shameful” (disrespectful) that they are making County Paris wait to see his bride.

Capulet walks farther into the room. The Nurse says, “She’s dead, deceased, she’s dead…” Lady Capulet says, “she’s dead, she’s dead, she’s dead!”

Lord Capulet says, “Let me see her.. she’s cold: Her blood is settled, and her joints are stiff; Life and these lips have long been separated: Death lies on her like an untimely frost upon the sweetest flower of all the field.”

The Nurse says that it is a sad day. Lady Capulet says that it is a sad time. Lord Capulet says that death has taken Juliet away and has made him cry, and now it is tying his tongue and he cannot speak.

Friar Laurence (who expects that Juliet has taken the sleeping potion, but who is pretending that Juliet will be ready for her wedding) enters Juliet’s room with county Paris and musicians. The Friar asks, “Come, is the bride ready to go to church?”

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Lord Capulet tells Friar Laurence that Juliet is ready to go to church, but she will never leave there. (She will be buried in the churchyard.)

Capulet tells Paris that death got into Juliet’s bed the night before Paris could marry her. Juliet had been a flower (a virgin), but death had taken her.

Capulet says that “Death” is his “son-in-law.. [and] heir…” Capulet says that Death married his daughter and when Capulet dies, Death will have everything that Capulet now has.

Paris says he cannot believe he has waited so long for the morning of his wedding, but now the morning gives him only death.

Lady Capulet says it is an “unhappy” and “hateful” day. She, like Paris, talks about time. She says the time has created the “most miserable hour” with his “labor” (work) during his “pilgrimage” (journey or trip).

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She says she had only “one poor and loving child” to give her happiness and comfort, and “cruel death” has taken that child away. The Nurse says it is the most “woeful day” (a day full of sadness) she has ever seen. It is a “hateful day” and a “black” day.

Paris says Death tricked, “wronged,” “divorced,” and killed Juliet. There is no life, only his dead love Juliet. Capulet calls out “Uncomfortable time” and asks why time chose Juliet’s wedding day to “murder” his child. He says Juliet was his “soul,” not just his child.

He says when Juliet is buried, all of his “joys” will be buried too. Friar Laurence tells everyone to stop.

He understands their “confusion,” their inability to understand why Juliet has died now, but, he says, “Confusion’s cure” will not be found by confusingly asking why Juliet has died or by being angry. They and heaven each had a part in making Juliet. Now heaven has all of Juliet.

Friar Laurence says that the Capulets could not keep Juliet’s body, the part of her they had made, from dying. Now Juliet has gotten a “promotion” to heaven. They should be happy for her.

They had tried to promote her, to make her life better, by giving her a wedding. Instead, Juliet, by dying “is advanced/Above the clouds, as high as heaven itself..”

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The Friar asks the Capulets if they love their daughter so little that they become crazy when they see that she is well in heaven. He says that it is better to marry well and die young than to be married a long time.

Now they should stop crying, put rosemary (a plant that is a symbol of love) on Juliet’s body, and take her to church. Human nature tells people to be sad when someone they love dies, but people’s “reason” (intelligence) should tell them to be happy that their loved one is in heaven.

Capulet says that he will turn the wedding celebration into a “black funeral.” The instruments will play sad music. The flowers will cover a corpse (dead body) instead of a bride. Everything will be used for the opposite of what he had planned.

Friar Laurence tells the Capulets and Paris to get ready to follow Juliet’s beautiful body to her grave. The Friar says that the heavens are angry with them for some “past sin,” so they should not make the heavens angrier. The Capulets, Paris, and the Friar leave.

Note: Many versions of the play leave out the rest of Act 4, Scene 5. The rest of the scene is comic relief.

After all of the sadness of Juliet’s pretend death, which seems real to everyone except Friar Laurence, Shakespeare puts in some comic lines to change the mood and timing of the play. The comic relief section is next.

The first musician says they can put away their instruments and go home. The Nurse agrees and tells them it is a sad “case” (situation), and
they should go.

The musician plays with the word “case” and says the case may be fixed. (He is joking about the box for his instrument, not Juliet.)

The Capulets’ long-time servant Peter comes in. He asks the musicians to let him live by comforting him with the song “Heart’s Ease.” Peter asks the musicians to play that happy, but sad song.

The first musician says no, but Peter says he will “give it” to him if the musician does not play. The musician asks what Peter will give, and Peter says he will give an insult Peter calls the musician a “minstrel” (a low-class musician). The musician gets mad and calls Peter a “serving-creature” (a low-class servant.)

Peter says he will use his “‘Serving-Creature’s Dagger” to hit the musician on the side of his head. Then Peter plays with the words “re” and “fa.”

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He makes puns by saying he will “re” and “fa” the musician. (“Re” and “fa” are musical notes, but the word ray” also meant “to make dirty, and Fay meant “to clean up.”

Peter is saying he will fight the musician, but his words are supposed to be funny. He asks the musician to “note” Peter’s words. Peter is using the meaning “to notice,” but a note is also a tone a musician plays.

Peter continues to insult the musicians by giving them each a name that includes a part of a violin. Peter says their names are “Simon Catling,” “Hugh Rebeck,” and “James Soundpost.”

A catling is a violin string, made of catgut; a rebeck is a kind of violin, and a soundpost is also part of a violin.

Peter sings a little song, and asks each musician why music is said to have a “silver sound.” The first musician (whom Peter calls Simon Catling) says silver has a “sweet SOund.”

The second musician (called Hugh Rebeck by Peter) says musicians play to earn silver. The third musician (called James Soundpost by Peter) says he does not know why music is said to have a “‘silver” sound.

Peter says the third musician is a singer, and Peter will tell him the answer. He says music has a “silver sound” because musicians have no gold. Peter then sings again; his song says that music helps people feel better when they are sad. Then Peter leaves.

After Peter leaves, the first musician says that Peter was an irritating man. The second musician tells him to forget Peter.

They should stay, wait for the people to come to visit the Capulets to say how sad they are about Juliet’s death and stay long enough to eat dinner. They leave the room.

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