Romeo and Juliet Act 1 - Scene 3 Summary

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  • 2:13 Scene Analysis
  • 2:52 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Katherine Garner

Katie teaches middle school English/Language Arts and has a master's degree in Secondary English Education

In this lesson, we'll take a look at a synopsis and analysis of Act 1, scene 3 of William Shakespeare's famous tragedy about two young star-crossed lovers, 'Romeo and Juliet.'

Scene Synopsis

Act 1, scene 3 of Romeo and Juliet takes place at the Capulets' house. Lady Capulet enters and tells Juliet's nurse to summon Juliet. After Juliet arrives, Lady Capulet tells the nurse to leave but changes her mind, asking her to stay for their conversation. Lady Capulet mentions that Juliet is not yet fourteen and the nurse gives a monologue (or a long speech given in a play by one speaker) about her memories of Juliet as a baby: when she was born, when the nurse weaned her, and a time when she was a toddler and fell on her face while walking. This speech characterizes the nurse as a chatty and somewhat common person, but very fond of Juliet. This contrasts with Lady Capulet's cold distance from her daughter.

Juliet enters the room and Lady Capulet asks her how she feels about getting married. Juliet is not interested, responding, 'It is an honor that I dream not of.' Lady Capulet reminds her that there are many girls of high social standing in Verona who have gotten married and had children at a younger age than Juliet, including Lady Capulet herself. She asks Juliet to start thinking about marriage because a man named Paris would like to marry her.

The nurse exclaims that Paris is a great man. Lady Capulet tells Juliet that Paris will be at the party they are hosting at their house that night, and Juliet should carefully examine him to see if she likes him enough to marry him. Lady Capulet describes Paris as virtuous and handsome and suggests Juliet should do her best to like him. Juliet replies, 'I'll look to like, if looking liking move/ But no more deep will I endart mine eye/ Than your consent gives it strength to fly.' She's saying that she will do as her mother says and try to like him, if looking alone can cause liking. This quote shows that she wants to be obedient but is still not interested - or convinced - that she will want to marry Paris.

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