Summary

The scene is a street in Verona. Sampson and Gregory, two men in the service of Capulet, boast of how they’ll treat anyone they meet of the house of Montague. Abraham and Balthasar, of the house of Montague, appear. They fight. Benvolio enters and attempts to break up the fight. The citizens come out to put down the fighting. The Prince enters, proclaims that anyone who does this again will pay for it with his life, and arranges to meet separately with Capulet and Montague.

Benvolio is left with Romeo’s parents, the Montagues, who want to know what’s been making Romeo unhappy lately. Benvolio promises to try to get the information from Romeo. Romeo enters, and he and Benvolio discuss his problem — he’s in love with his girlfriend, who does not return his affections. Benvolio urges Romeo to look at other ladies instead.

Enter

To come on stage.

Verona

The city of Verona, in Italy.

of the house of Capulet

These two men belong to the household of Capulet. They could be relatives of the Capulets, or noblemen, or even servants; the important thing to remember is that they are loyal to the house of Capulet, and will even fight to the death to defend its honor. The same can be said of the men of the house of Montague, of course, whom we will meet shortly.

The houses of Capulet and Montague have been feuding for years. There is no end in sight to their quarrel.

Bucklers

Small round shields, up to 18 inches in diameter. The men are equipped for fighting.

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Aside

In an aside, the character speaks privately to himself for a moment, or directly to the audience, or privately to some (but not all) of the other characters present.

As a matter of convention, an aside is always a true statement of what the character thinks. A character speaking in an aside may be mistaken, but may not be dishonest.

An aside (again as a matter of convention) cannot be heard by those not spoken to.

Exeunt

Latin, literally “they leave.” Everyone leaves the stage.

Pronounced EX-ee-uhnt.

Exit

The character leaves the stage.