Romeo and Juliet: Act 5

Act 5, scene 1

  • Romeo is told of Juliet’s death from Balthazar who is his servant. Romeo and devastated by the news,
  • He buys some poison from an apothecary (a person who prepares and sells medicines and drugs) and returns to Verona to visit Juliet’s tomb.

What do we learn in scene 1?

  • Romeo believes that Juliet is really dead.
  • Friar Lawrence did not get the message to Romeo in time.
  • Romeo has purchased poison to kill himself.

Act 5, scene 2

  • Friar John reveals to Friar Lawrence that because of an outbreak of disease he was stopped from leaving Verona. As a result, Romeo did not get the message letting him know that Juliet isn’t really dead.
  • Friar Laurence worries about what may happen since the message was not delivered to Romeo. He then quickly hurries to the Capulet tomb.

What do we learn in scene 2?

  • Friar Lawrence went to collect Juliet because he knew that Romeo did not get his message.

Act 5, scene 3

  • Paris visits Juliet’s body to mourn her death. He is disturbed by Romeo, they fight and Romeo kills Paris although he doesn’t realize who it is at the time.
  • Romeo then goes to see Juliet’s body, takes the poison and dies.
  • Friar Lawrence finds Juliet just as she is waking up but she refuses to come with him. A noise frightens Friar Lawrence and he leaves Juliet behind. Juliet takes Romeo’s dagger and kills herself.
  • The Prince arrives and discovers the dead bodies in the tomb and the Capulets see Juliet with a knife wound. Finally, Lord Montague arrives and tells us (the readers) that Lady Montague has died.
  • The Friar returns to tell everyone what has happened. Capulet and Montague agree to end the feud that has taken so many lives with Lord Capulet saying.

What do we learn in scene 3?

  • Paris is deeply upset by Juliet’s death because he really cared for her. When he is mourning in the tomb, Romeo kills him by mistake.
  • Friar Lawrence leaves Juliet in the tomb when he hears a noise.
  • Romeo and Juliet both take their lives, fulfilling the destiny described in the prologue.
  • The families find their bodies and agree to end their feud.

Why is Act 5 important?

  • Act 5 marks the resolution of the story.
  • Romeo and Juliet both die, believing the other to be dead, and their families agree to a truce after witnessing so much death.

Questions to be asked to aid discussion:

  • (At the end of parts 8 & 9) Notice how Friar Lawrence behaves throughout Act 5. Why does he go to the tomb and how does he react to finding Paris and Romeo there? Why do you think he leaves Juliet and runs away? He blames himself at the end of the play and claims he is responsible. Do you agree or disagree with him?
  • (At the end of parts 8 & 9) Take note of the clues that Shakespeare gives us about the setting of the Capulet tomb. Romeo claims that he could not see Paris. That suggests that the tomb is dark. How else does Shakespeare create a picture for the audience of how it feels to be in the Capulet tomb?
  • (At the end of parts 8 & 9) Look closely at the resolution/end of the play. Who instigates ending the Capulet and Montague grudge? What do you think the most important facts about ending the grudge were? How do they intend to remember Romeo and Juliet?
  • (At the end of parts 8 & 9) How many people have died and what are their relationships to the Prince, Lord Capulet and Lord Montague? Why would Shakespeare include this reconciliation? How does it make the audience feel at the end of the play? Why is this important? This play takes place over a very short timescale, lasting no more than five days. What is the impact of this?

Act 5 Journal Questions

The exercise is to be completed and emailed to BEFORE 27 MARCH 2020. REMEMBER to put your name in the assignment

  • Have you ever had a friend or family member make a terrible decision? What was the cause of the terrible decision? Could the decision have been different if the person had been more patient or thoughtful? Why or why not? (Romeo, scene 1) (5 marks)
  • Have you ever been frightened by things you imagined? What did you imagine? Why was it so frightening? (Friar Lawrence, scene 2) (5 marks)

Ms. Gumbs English Literature OCS 2019-2020