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Romeo and Juliet Act 2, Scene 3 Summary

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  • 0:04 Recap
  • 0:31 Major Characters
  • 1:09 Act 2, Scene 3 Summary
  • 2:42 Analysis
  • 3:23 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Dori Starnes

Dori has taught college and high school English courses, and has Masters degrees in both literature and education.

The morning after meeting Juliet, Romeo heads to Friar Laurence to set his plans into action. Act 2, Scene 3 represents a turning point in 'Romeo and Juliet' and shows that the best of intentions can turn out in the worst of ways.

Recap

So, by Act 2, Scene 3 of the play we know our lovers and their stories. We know that the two families are feuding, and we know that Romeo and Juliet's relationship, if discovered, will not be tolerated. She tells him in the famous balcony scene that it would mean his death if he is caught there, and she's not exaggerating. Lord Capulet was merciful when Romeo crashed his party, but he wouldn't be so accommodating if he knew Romeo was in love with his only daughter.

Major Characters

Act 2, Scene 3 introduces us to Friar Laurence, who is an important, though mainly off-stage, player in Romeo and Juliet. He is good and wise and embodies all that is both holy and pure in Verona. In that way, he stands apart from the feud that's tearing Verona apart. Friar Laurence's special knowledge is in the usage of plants for their medicinal qualities.

In addition, we learn more about Romeo Montague, who is the teenage scion of the Montague family. He is impetuous and fickle, and once he sets his mind to something he will do anything to master or possess it. Romeo is unwilling to entertain any point of view but his own.

Act 2, Scene 3 Summary

When Act 2, Scene 3 starts, it's early morning, and Friar Laurence enters the scene carrying a large basket. He's working in his garden, filling his basket with plants and flowers. We learn about his deep knowledge of plants and their medical uses, which will become very important later in the play. He points out that every plant has a good and evil usage, much like most everything in the world. While Friar Laurence is still collecting plants, Romeo enters.

Friar Laurence immediately realizes that Romeo hasn't slept at all. His immediate fear - that Romeo has sinned by sleeping with Rosaline - is calmed by Romeo's insistence that he hasn't even seen Rosaline. In fact, he doesn't love her anymore. Friar Laurence is happy to hear this, but his relief doesn't last.

Romeo fills the Friar in on his meeting the night before. He declares his love for Juliet and tells Friar Laurence that they will be married. In fact, Romeo wants Friar Laurence to marry them today. Friar Laurence is taken aback by this sudden swing in Romeo's affections, but by now we probably aren't too surprised.

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