Romeo and Juliet: The Prologue and Act I Study Guide
Prologue:
1. Romeo and Juliet starts with a prologue. This sonnet would be read by one man on stage
alone. In the sonnet, Shakespeare summarizes the main idea of Romeo and Juliet. Based on the
prologue, what do we already know will happen to the “star-crossed lovers”?
They kill themselves.
Scene 1:
2. Sampson and Gregory are bragging about what they will do to any man or woman who is a
Montague. When they see two Montague men coming towards them, what do Sampson and
Gregory do? How do the Montague men react?
They bite their thumbs at them, which is a huge insult! They’re trying to cause trouble! The
Montague men want to fight back- they think that Sampson and Gregory are antagonizing them.
3. When Benvolio enters the scene, what does he try to do? How does Tybalt respond?
Benvolio tries to stop the fighting by drawing his sword. Tybalt thinks that Benvolio wants to
fight, and Tybalt wants to fight back. Tybalt hates “peace” and all “Montagues” which tells us
he is a fighter.
4. What information does the prince reveal once the fight is broken up? How does he feel
towards the Montagues and Capulets?
There have been 3 street fights lately between the Montagues and Capulets. The Prince is
extremely angry with these 2 families and the feuds between them. He’s sick of the trouble they
bring to Verona.
5. What does the prince threaten to do if the Montagues and Capulets disturb “the quiet of our
streets” again?
If he finds them fighting again, he will put them to death as their punishment. He says their
“lives will pay”.
6. Who are Lady and Lord Montague worried about? Why are they worried? Who offers to help
them?
They are worried about Romeo because he has been staying away from his friends and family
lately. He has been seen hiding in the woods, crying, and sighing. He locks himself in his room
and doesn’t want to see anyone.
7. Why is Romeo upset? Based on his words, how would the actor demonstrate Romeo’s
feelings?
Romeo loves a girl but she doesn’t love him back…she wants nothing to do with him.
8. How does Benvolio respond to Romeo? What does Benvolio suggest to help Romeo feel
better?
He tells him to “go see other beauties” and find love with some other girl. Romeo says that there
is no one else better than this girl.
Scene 2
9. Capulet discusses the future with Paris. What does Paris want? How does Capulet respond?
Paris wants to marry Juliet, and Capulet says she isn’t ready to get married. She doesn’t get out
much, and he wants Paris to make Juliet fall in love w/him.
10. In scene 2, Capulet makes plans to hold a party at his house. Who accidentally learns about
the party?
Romeo and Benvolio
11. How do they learn about the party?
They learn about the party from the servingman b/c the servingman can’t read and needs help
from Romeo.
12. What do they decide to do? Why?
Romeo and Benvolio are going to crash party. Romeo wants to see Rosaline, and Benvolio wants
to prove to Romeo that Rosaline isn’t nearly as pretty as the other girls. He wants to make
Romeo forget about Rosaline.
Scene 3
13. The nurse and Lady Capulet are talking to Juliet about her future. How old is Juliet?
14. What does her mother (Lady Capulet) want for Juliet? How does Juliet respond to her
mother’s wish?
Scene 4 Summary: Romeo, Benvolio, and their friend Mercutio are on their way to the
Capulet’s party. Romeo is depressed because Rosaline does not love him, and he knows he will
see her tonight at the party. He tells his friends that he had a dream, but before he can tell his
friends about his dream, Mercutio jumps in and says that he also had a dream. When telling his
dream, Mercutio talks of Queen Mab, the fairy who controls everyone’s dreams. Once Mercutio
finishes his story, Benvolio tells him that dreams are pointless and meaningless. At the end of the
scene, Romeo shares that he is worried that going to this party will cause something terrible to
happen.
Scene 5
15. Who overhears Romeo talking about Juliet? Why is he angry? How does Lord Capulet
respond to this man’s concerns?
16. After Romeo and Juliet meet and kiss, what terrible news does Romeo learn? What does this
news mean for the couple?
17. When Juliet realizes that she loves Romeo, what does she call him that seems to contradict
her love? (See line 141.)
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Romeo and Juliet: The Prologue and Act I Study Guide