Romeo & Juliet
The action of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ takes place in just a few days. The timeline below outlines the key events so that you can see the order in which they take place. The pace of the play is incredibly swift but Shakespeare deliberately keeps the action moving on at a breakneck speed in order to keep the audience fully engaged. The time pressures also mean that characters are forced to make quick, sometimes foolish, decisions which means that the plot keeps developing until the final, tragic ending.
There is a street fight between the men from the Capulet and Montague households.
Romeo is pining for the love of the unobtainable Rosaline.
Paris asks Lord Capulet for Juliet’s hand in marriage and is refused.
The Capulets have a masked ball which Romeo attends in disguise.
Tybalt is angry when he sees Romeo but is forbidden to fight by his uncle Lord Capulet.
Romeo and Juliet meet at the ball and fall instantly in love.
Romeo visits Juliet on her balcony and they decide to get married.
Romeo persuades Friar Lawrence to perform a marriage ceremony.
Tybalt sends a challenge to fight Romeo.
Romeo sends a message to Juliet to meet him at Friar Lawrence’s cell.
Romeo and Juliet are married in secret.
Monday Late Afternoon
Tybalt kills Mercutio in a fight.
Romeo kills Tybalt in revenge and is banished by the Prince.
Lord Capulet agrees to marry Juliet to Paris.
Romeo tries to kill himself but the Friar stops this and instead sends Romeo to spend his wedding night with Juliet.
Romeo says goodbye to Juliet after their wedding night together and heads to Mantua.
Juliet refuses to marry Paris and visits the Friar for help. He gives her a potion that will make her appear dead and sends Romeo a letter telling him about the plan.
Returning home, Juliet pretends to agree to the wedding with Paris
Preparations take place for the planned wedding of Juliet and Paris.
Juliet drinks the potion.
Juliet is discovered as ‘dead’ and the Capulets bury her in the family tomb.
Romeo’s servant, Balthasar, heads to Mantua and tells Romeo that Juliet is dead. Overcome with grief, Romeo buys poison and travels back to Verona.
Wednesday Evening to Thursday Morning
Romeo arrives at the tomb to find Paris guarding it.
Paris and Romeo fight and Romeo kills Paris.
Romeo sees Juliet’s ‘dead’ body and drinks poison.
Friar Lawrence discovers that Romeo didn’t receive the letter and hurries to the tomb to be with Juliet when she wakes.
Juliet wakes to see the dead body of Romeo. She stabs herself with his sword.
Everyone arrives at the tomb and the Friar tells the whole sad story.
United in their joint grief, the Capulets and Montagues make peace.