Romeo and Juliet Act 5, Scene 3 Full Summary {Step by Step Guide}

Romeo and Juliet Act 5, Scene 3 Full Summary {Step by Step Guide}

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Romeo and Juliet Act 5, Scene 3 Full Summary| Romeo and Juliet Act 5, Scene 3 Summary

Paris and his Page (young servant) go to the Capulet tomb where Juliet is buried. Paris tells his Page to give him his torch.

Then Paris changes his mind and tells the boy to put out the torch because Paris does not want to be seen. He tells the boy to go under the yew tree, put his ear to the ground, and listen for anyone coming near.

The boy puts out the torch, gives Paris the flowers, and goes under the yew tree (also known as the tree of life or the resurrection tree).
He talks to himself, saying he is afraid to be alone with the graves in the churchyard, but he will do as he is told.

As Paris puts flowers around the Capulet tomb, he talks to Juliet. He calls her his “sweet flower and says he is decorating her bridal bed. He says it is so sad that the canopy (cover or top) of her bed has dust and stones.

He says he will water the tomb every night or, if not, he will make her tomb wet with his tears. He will perform his obsequies (remembering ceremonies for the dead) every night.

He will cry and put flowers on her tomb. Paris hears his Page whistle to warn him that someone is coming. Paris is unhappy that someone is interrupting his obsequies and rituals of “true love.”

As Paris watches from his hiding spot, Romeo and Balthasar appear. Romeo takes a mattock (a digging tool like a pickax), a crowbar, and a torch from Balthasar. Romeo gives a letter to Balthasar and tells him to take it early in the morning to Romeo’s father.

Romeo tells Balthasar to promise in his life that no matter what he sees or hears, Balthasar must not stop Romeo from doing what he has planned.

Romeo says that he is going down into the “bed of death” (the tomb). He says he wants to see his lady’s face.” Romeo lies and says he also wants to go in to get a ring that he will use for some important business.

Romeo tells Balthasar to leave. Romeo says that if Balthasar gets curious and comes back to watch Romeo, Romeo will tear Balthasar’s body apart and throw the limbs and pieces around the churchyard.

Romeo says “the time” and “intents” (the situation and Romeo’s plan) are “savage,” “wild” “fierce,” and “inexorable” (uncontrolled, wild, strong, and unstoppable.)

Romeo says he is wilder than a tiger with an empty stomach or the waves of an angry sea. Balthasar says he will go away and will not stop Romeo.

Romeo says he is happy Balthasar is showing his friendship, gives Balthasar some money, and tells him to live and be prosperous (be well and successful). Romeo says, “farewell” (a goodbye that is sometimes said to someone that will not be seen for a long time or never again.)

Balthasar moves away from Romeo but tells himself that he will hide nearby because he is worried about how Romeo looks so upset and he is worried about Romeo’s plan. Balthasar lies down on the ground and falls asleep.

Romeo talks to the tomb. He says, “Thou detestable maw, thou womb of death/ Gorged with the dearest morsel of the earth/ Thus I enforce thy rotten jaws to open,/ And, in despite, I’ll cram thee with more food!”

He is saying that the tomb is a maw (a mouth) and a womb of death. The tomb is like a womb because it holds bodies within, but unlike a mother’s womb, the bodies are dead. Romeo says the tomb has gorged itself (eaten quickly) the “dearest morsel” (dearest piece).

Romeo means the tomb has eaten Juliet – taken her inside. Now Romeo will open the tomb’s jaws (doors) and feed it more food (Romeo, himself).

Paris is watching and says to himself, “This is that banished… Montague,/ That murdered my love’s cousin…” Paris says that it is believed that Juliet died because she was so sad about her cousin Tybalt’s murder.

Romeo must have come to do something bad to the bodies of Tybalt and Juliet. Paris says he will apprehend (catch) Romeo. Then he yells, “Stop…” to Romeo.

Paris asks Romeo if he is carrying out the Montague- Capulet feud even after his victims are dead. (Paris has no idea that Romeo had married Juliet.

Paris only knows that Romeo killed Tybalt and that the Montagues and Capulets have been killing each other for a long time.) Paris tells Romeo that he must go with Paris to the watch (the law officers) because Romeo must die.

(The Prince had said that Romeo would be killed if he ever returned to Verona.) Romeo agrees that he must die. Romeo says that is why he has come to the tomb. (Again, Paris does not understand.)

Romeo calls Paris a “good gentle youth” and asks him to not make Romeo add to his sins by making him kill another man (Paris). Romeo says that he is armed against himself (wants to kill only himself).

Romeo tells Paris to leave, live, and tell everyone that a “madman” showed mercy by asking Paris to run away.

Paris says he will not leave. He says he will catch Romeo because Romeo is a felon” (a criminal). They fight and Paris’s Page runs to
get the watch. Suddenly, Paris says, “O, I am slain (killed)! If thou be merciful,/ Open the tomb, lay me with Juliet.” Paris dies.

Romeo says he will put the man he has killed into the tomb with Juliet. Romeo looks at the face of the man he has just killed. He sees that he has killed Paris, a cousin of Romeo’s dead friend – Mercutio. He remembers that Balthasar had told him County Paris was supposed to marry Juliet.

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Romeo looks at the body of Paris. He says, “O, give me thy hand.” Then he picks up Paris. Romeo says that both he and Paris had “misfortune.” (Neither was able to be with Juliet. Also, Romeo will soon be dead like Paris.) Romeo says he will bury Paris in a great tomb (Juliet’s tomb).

Romeo puts Paris in Juliet’s tomb and tells Paris the room is not a grave. Although the room holds the bodies of many Capulets, including the body of Tybalt, Romeo says the room is a “lantern” (a room full of light from many windows).

Although there are no windows in a tomb, Romeo says the light comes from Juliet’s beauty, and he tells Paris to rest in the tomb. He says Paris is a dead man buried by a dead man (because Romeo himself will soon be dead).

As Romeo looks at Juliet and prepares to kill himself, he speaks about his thoughts of dying. He says that often when someone is about to die, family members and doctors have reported that the dying person seems to experience lightness. Romeo wonders why.

How is it possible? He looks at Juliet and says that Death has “sucked the honey” from her breath, but Death has not yet taken away her beauty.


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Juliet has not been conquered. Romeo says that Beauty’s “ensign” (flag) is the “crimson” (red color) in her lips and cheeks and it has not lost to Death’s “pale flag.”

(Romeo has no reason to think that the color in Juliet’s face is proof that she is not dead, only sleeping The audience, though, is reminded by his words, that Romeo is about to needlessly kill himself.)

Next, Romeo looks at Tybalt. He asks if there is anything better that he could do for Tybalt than to use the same hand that killed Tybalt to take the life of Tybalt’s enemy – Romeo, himself. (Romeo will even score by taking his own life to make up for killing Tybalt.) Romeo asks for Tybalt’s forgiveness.

Romeo looks again at Juliet and asks her why she is still so beautiful. He asks if Death is in love with her. He asks if Death – the “monster” – is keeping Juliet for himself.

Romeo says he is afraid of Death keeping Juliet, so Romeo will kill himself and “never from this palace of dim night depart again.” He says he will remain with the “worms that are [her] chambermaids.”

Romeo says he will rest in the tomb forever and finally get away from the stars (heaven, God, or fate) that have made it impossible for him and Juliet to be happy together.

Romeo tells his eyes to take their last look, his arms to take their last hug, and his lips (the “doors of breath”) to take their last kiss. Romeo
kisses Juliet and says it is “a righteous kiss” that finishes forever the deal he has made with Death.

Romeo takes out the poison he bought from the apothecary. He calls it his “guide” and his “pilot” and says it is time to crash the ship (Romeo’s body) on the rocks.

He says, “Here’s to my love!” He drinks the poison. He says the apothecary told the truth that poison would kill Romeo quickly. Romeo says, “Thus with a kiss | die.” Romeo dies.

After learning that Romeo does not know about the plan for Juliet to fake her death, Friar Laurence is hurrying to the tomb, carrying a lantern, a shovel, and a crowbar. He prays to Saint Francis for speed.

He says he has been tripping over the graves. He hears something and asks who is there. Balthasar answers, saying it is a friend, someone who knows the Friar well.

Friar Laurence blesses Balthasar and asks what torch is burning in the Capulet tomb to uselessly give light to worms and “eyeless skulls.” Balthasar says the torch in the tomb belongs to his master.

The Friar asks who Balthasar’s master is. Balthasar says his master is someone the Friar loves Romeo.

The Friar asks how long Romeo has been in the tomb. Balthasar says Romeo has been there for a half-hour. The Friar asks Balthasar to go with him to the tomb. Balthasar says he cannot go with the Friar because Romeo said he would kill Balthasar if he interfered.

The Friar says he will go alone. He says he is full of fear that something bad has happened. Balthasar says while he had been sleeping under the yew tree, he had dreamed that his master had fought someone and killed him.

When Friar Laurence gets to the tomb’s entrance, he sees blood and swords. He asks why there are bloody swords here which have been left behind by their masters. He asks why discolored swords are next to a “place of peace.”

Friar Laurence enters the tomb. He sees the pale, dead Romeo. He sees Paris covered in blood. He says that “an unkind hour” is guilty of sad events.

Juliet wakes up and sees the Friar. She is happy to see her “comfortable Friar” and asks where her “lord” (Romeo) is. The Friar hears a noise outside the tomb and tells Juliet she must come out of the “nest/ Of death, contagion, and unnatural sleep” (the tomb).

Friar Laurence says that a power greater than theirs has ruined their plan. He tells Juliet that Romeo is lying dead on the floor and Paris, too, is dead in the tomb.

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He tells Juliet he will take her to some nuns, but she must hurry and leave the tomb. He says the watch is coming (the police) and he cannot stay.

Juliet tells the Friar to go away. She says she will not go. The Friar leaves. Juliet looks at Romeo, sees the cup that had held the poison, and understands that Romeo killed himself to join her because he had thought she was dead.

Juliet says, “What’s here? a cup, closed in my true love’s hand?/ Poison, I see, hath been his timeless end:/O churl! drunk all, and left no friendly drop/ To help me after?”

Juliet wants to die to be with Romeo, but there is no poison left in his cup. She kisses him, hoping there will be enough poison on his lips to ill her. His lips are still warm.

(This fact reminds Juliet and the audience that time is important. If Romeo and Juliet had had time to get their parents to accept their marriage, if the Friar’s letter had gotten to Romeo in time, if the Friar had gotten to the tomb in time, or if Juliet had woken just a little earlier, then they could have lived.)

The watchmen come with Paris’s Page. They ask him to lead them to where Paris and Romeo had been fighting. Juliet hears them and knows she must hurry.

Juliet finds Romeo’s dagger. She takes it and says, “O happy dagger/ This [my body] is thy sheath [case or container]. There rust and let me die.” Juliet stabs herself. Juliet dies.

Paris’s Page tells the watchmen they are in the right place. They should go to where the torch is burning in the tomb. The First Watchman sees bloody ground and tells some of the other watchmen to search the churchyard and arrest anyone they find.

The First Watchman and other watchmen walk into the tomb. The First Watchman says that it is a “pitiful sight” to see County Paris killed and Juliet bleeding and newly dead even though she had been buried for two days.

The First Watchman tells other watchmen to go tell the Prince, the Capulets, and the Montagues what has happened. He tells others to search.

The First Watchman looks at the scene and says, “We see the ground whereon these woes do lie;/ But the true ground of all these piteous woes /We cannot without circumstance descry.”

(He means he and the other watchmen can see the sad results, but they cannot “descry” (see or discover) the cause until they learn the “circumstances,” the story behind what they now see.)

The Second Watchman returns with Balthasar. He tells the First Watchman that he has found Romeo’s man. The First Watchman tells the Second Watchman to keep Balthasar with him until the Prince comes.

The Third Watchman comes in with Friar Laurence. The Third Watchman tells the First Watchman that he has found “a friar that trembles, sighs, and weeps.”

The Third Watchman says he took a spade (a shovel with a narrow blade) and a mattock (a pick-ax) from the friar. The First Watchman says, “A great suspicion.” He tells the Third Watchman to keep the friar in the tomb until the Prince arrives.

The Prince comes in. He speaks about himself in the third person and says, “What misadventure is so early up,/ That calls our person from our morning’s rest?” (What bad thing has happened that I must awaken early?).

Lord and Lady Capulet run in and ask what everyone in Verona is yelling about. Lady Capulet says that some people in the street are yelling “Romeo,” some are yelling “Juliet,” some are yelling “Paris,” and all are running to the tomb.

The Prince asks the First Watchman to explain what has happened. The First Watchman tells the Prince that County Paris has been killed, Romeo is dead, and Juliet who was supposed to have been dead for some time is now warm and newly dead.

The Prince tells the First Watchman to investigate and learn how the “foul murder” happened. The First Watchman says he has a friar and dead Romeo’s man (Balthasar). He tells the Prince that the Friar and Balthasar had tools for opening “dead men’s tombs.”

Lord Capulet tells his wife to look at their bleeding daughter. He says the dagger made a mistake and thought its “house” was in Juliet’s breast instead of in Romeo’s sheath (carrying case).

Lady Capulet says that what she sees makes her feel old and like she, herself, will die soon.

Lord Montague comes to the tomb. The Prince sees him and says Montague is “early up” (awake early) to see his son and heir “early-down” (dead at a young age). Montague does not understand.

He says his wife has just died because she was so sad about Romeo being banished from Verona. He asks the Prince what new sadness has come to him in his old age. The Prince tells him to look.

Lord Montague looks and tells his dead son that he had bad manners because he pushed ahead of his father to get to a grave. (Romeo,
a beloved son, should not have died before his father.)

The Prince tells Lord Montague to hold back his anger and be quiet until they can learn what caused all of the trouble. Then the Prince will be the cause of Montague’s trouble and maybe even order Montague’s death.

(The Prince thinks the fighting between the Capulets and the Montagues is the cause of the deaths they see in front of them.) The Prince tells the watchmen to bring the men who are suspected of having something to do with the deaths to him.

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Friar Laurence says he is the greatest suspect, but the one who could do the least to stop the tragedy. He says he is the most suspected because he was in the churchyard at the time the watchmen came.

The Friar says he will condemn himself but also excuse himself. The Friar points to Romeo and says that Romeo was Juliet’s husband and Juliet was Romeo’s “faithful wife.”

The Friar says he married Romeo and Juliet on the same day that Tybalt died. The Friar says it was Tybalt’s death that had caused the Prince to banish Romeo from Verona, but it was Romeo’s banishment that had made Juliet so sad.

The Friar tells Lord Capulet that when Capulet had tried to make Juliet happier by marrying her to County Paris, Juliet had gone to the Friar and had told him if he could not stop the second marriage, she would kill herself.

Friar Laurence explains that Juliet looked wild, so he gave her a sleeping potion that would make it look like she was dead. Then the Friar wrote to Romeo to tell him to come and take Juliet from her “borrowed grave” when the potion had lost its force.

Friar Laurence explains how the letter never got to Romeo, so the Friar came to the tomb by himself to let Juliet out. The Friar says he planned to keep Juliet in his cell (small room) until he could send another message to Romeo.

When the Friar got to the tomb, he was surprised to find Paris and Romeo dead. Then Juliet woke up, and the Friar says he told Juliet to come with him.

He says he told Juliet she would need time and patience to understand all of the sadness that heaven had brought. The Friar says he heard a noise and he left the tomb alone because Juliet would not go with him.

Then Juliet must have killed herself. The Friar tells the Prince that is all he knows and the Nurse can tell the Prince that she, too, knew about Romeo and Juliet’s marriage.

The Friar says that if the tragedy is his fault, the Prince should take his old life and punish him as much as the law will allow.

The Prince says he has always known the Friar to be a holy man. Then the Prince asks the watchmen to bring Balthasar to him.

Balthasar tells the Prince that when everyone had thought Juliet was dead, he had taken the news of her death to his master – Romeo. Romeo had ridden from Mantua to Juliet’s tomb in Verona.

At the tomb, Romeo had given Balthasar a letter to give to Romeo’s father. When Romeo went into the tomb, he had threatened Balthasar with death if he did not leave the tomb and Romeo.

The Prince asks for the letter and takes it. Then he asks for the watchmen to bring in County Paris’s Page. County Paris’s Page is brought into the room.

The Prince asks what County Paris was doing at the tomb. The Page says his master had come to put flowers around “his lady’s grave.” Then a man with a torch had come to open the tomb, and his master had pulled out his sword.

The Page had run to get the watchmen. The Prince reads the letter Romeo had written to his father. Then he looks up and says that the letter agrees with what Friar Laurence had said about Romeo buying poison so he could die and be with Juliet.

The Prince asks for the “enemies” (Lord Capulet and Lord Montague) to come to him. He tells them to look at the tragedy that their hate has caused.

The Prince tells them that “heaven finds means to kill your joys with love.” (Heaven found a way to use Romeo’s and Juliet’s love for each other to destroy the happiness of the feuding (fighting) Capulets and Montagues.)

The Prince says that he, too, has been punished because he did not stop the fighting when it had first begun. As a result, his relatives – Mercutio and Paris – had been killed. Heaven has punished all of them.

Capulet asks Montague to shake his hand. Capulet says his hand offered in friendship to Montague is Juliet’s dowry – his wedding present- and asks for Montague to also give his hand in friendship.

Montague shakes Capulet’s hand and says he will give more than a handshake and friendship to Capulet. Montague says he will have a golden statue of Juliet Capulet made.

As long as there is a city named Verona, no one will be honored more than the “true and faithful Juliet.”

Capulet says he will have just as rich a statue made of Romeo to be next to the one of Juliet. Capulet says that Romeo and Juliet were “sacrifices of [their) enmity” (losses because of the hate between the Capulets and Montagues).

The Prince says that the morning brings a dark peace because the sun is too sad to “show his head.” The Prince says it is time to go to discuss who will be pardoned and who will be punished.

The Prince ends the story when he describes it as being full of sadness: “For never was a story of more woe/ Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”

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