Romeo and Juliet: Act 4

Act 4, scene 1

  • Paris visits Friar Laurence to plan his wedding to Juliet. He meets Juliet and she lies to him saying she is there for confession.
  • When Paris left, Juliet threatens to kill herself if Friar Lawrence cannot help her.
  • Friar Lawrence comes up with a plan where Juliet will take a potion that will make her appear dead and he plans to let Romeo know the truth via a message so he can collect her from the Capulet family tomb.

What do we learn in scene 1?

  • Juliet is desperate to avoid marrying Paris.
  • Friar Laurence can make Juliet a potion to make her appear dead.
  • The Nurse does not know about this plan but Friar Laurence plans to let Romeo know by sending him a message. The message tells Romeo to meet Juliet in the tomb so they can leave together when she wakes up.

Act 4, scene 2

  • Juliet returns to the family home and begs forgiveness from her father. He is overjoyed and decides to move the date of the wedding to the very next day.

What do we learn in scene 2?

  • Juliet has lied to her father.
  • The change in the date of the wedding is a serious problem for Juliet’s plan.

Act 4, scene 3

  • Due to the change in the date of the wedding, Juliet is forced to take the potion a night early. At first, she worries that maybe the Friar has given her poison so his marrying her to Romeo won’t be discovered.
  • She takes the potion anyway and immediately appears dead.

What do we learn in scene 3?

  • Due to the change in the date of the wedding, Juliet is forced to take the potion a night early. At first, she worries that maybe the Friar has given her poison so his marrying her to Romeo won’t be discovered.
  • She takes the potion anyway and immediately appears dead.

Act 4, scene 4

  • The Capulet household prepares for the wedding.

What do we learn in scene 4?

  • The household has been up all night preparing food, flowers, and music for the wedding.

Act 4, scene 5

  • The Nurse discovers Juliet’s body the body of Juliet.
  • Lady Capulet, Lord Capulet, and finally Paris then also see the body one after the other throughout the scene.
  • Lord Capulet says everything that was made ready for the wedding should now be for her funeral and her body is then taken to the Capulet family tomb.

What do we learn in scene 5?

  • The potion has worked and everyone believes Juliet to be dead. Her family is devastated.
  • Juliet is taken to the family tomb.

Why is Act 4 important?

  • Act 4 is important because it explores Juliet’s reaction to Romeo’s banishment.
  • Juliet plans with Friar Lawrence to fake her own death so that she can run away and be with Romeo.

Ms. Gumbs English Literature OCS 2019-2020