Romeo and Juliet act 4


Act 4

Act Four, Scene One

At the chapel, Paris speaks to Friar Laurence about his impending wedding to Juliet. Aware of the complications that will arise from this new match, the Friar is full of misgivings.

Juliet, in search of Romeo, arrives at the chapel and finds Paris there. She is forced to speak with him, and he behaves arrogantly now that their wedding is set. However, Juliet rebuffs him with her vague answers, and then finally asks Friar Laurence if she might speak to him alone. When the Friar assents, Paris is forced to leave.

Friar Laurence proposes a complicated plan to help Juliet reunite with Romeo. The Friar will give Juliet a special potion that will effectively kill her for 48 hours; she will exhibit no signs of life. Following their family tradition, her parents will place her body in the Capulet vault. Meanwhile, Friar Laurence will send a letter to Romeo, instructing him of the plan so that the boy can meet Juliet in the tomb and then lead her away from Verona. Juliet approves of the plan.

Act Four, Scene Two

Happy to know that she will be reunited with Romeo, Juliet returns home and apologizes to her father for her disobedience. He pardons her, and instructs her to prepare her clothes for the wedding, which is now going to happen the next day. Lord Capulet then sets out to find Paris to deliver the good news about Juliet's change of heart

Act Four, Scene Three

Juliet convinces Lady Capulet and the Nurse to let her sleep alone that night. Juliet keeps a knife nearby in case the potion should fail. She then drinks the Friar's potion and falls to her bed, motionless.

Act Four, Scene Four

(Please note that some editions of the play separate this scene into two different scenes.)

When the Nurse arrives to fetch Juliet the next morning, she finds the young girl's lifeless body. Lady Capulet soon follows, and is understandably devastated over her daughter's apparent suicide. When Lord Capulet finds out his daughter is dead, he orders the the wedding music to shift into funeral dirges. The grieving family prepares to move Juliet's body to the Capulet tomb as soon as possible.


As noted in the previous Analysis sections, Shakespeare foreshadows Romeo and Juliet's tragic ending by peppering the whole play with images of death. In Act 4, death finally comes to the forefront. Even though the audience…


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