Romeo and Juliet Act 3 - Scene 1 Summary

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  • 0:04 Act 3, Scene 1
  • 1:52 Romeo Takes Revenge
  • 2:35 Romeo's Punishment
  • 3:04 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, you'll find a short synopsis of Act 3, scene 1 of William Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet.' A short quiz follows to test your comprehension.

Act 3, Scene 1

Act 3, scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet begins with Mercutio and Benvolio entering. The scene is set in a public area in Verona. Benvolio is pleading with Mercutio to calm down and go home. He is clearly agitated about something. Soon we find out that there is a conflict with the Capulets, and if they run into them, they won't be able to avoid a fight.

Mercutio accuses Benvolio of being a hypocrite, saying that he picks fights too and shouldn't be telling Mercutio not to get involved. Tybalt enters, saying he wants to talk to Mercutio about Romeo, who is his main target, and Mercutio challenges him to a fight.

Benvolio tries to calm them down and remind them that the Prince of Verona has forbidden the Capulets and Montagues from fighting in public in Verona; they need to either go to a more private place or drop the fight altogether. But, Mercutio says he does not care who sees them.

Romeo enters and sees the tension building between the men. Having just married Juliet, he tells them to stop the fighting and that he loves Tybalt, though he cannot say the reason why. He insists that he means no ill will toward he or any Capulets and physically comes between Tybalt and Mercutio. They continue to challenge each other, however, and finally draw their swords. Tybalt sneakily drives his sword under Romeo's arm and strikes Mercutio.

Tybalt runs away as Mercutio slumps to the ground, severely injured. He blames both families, saying ''A plague o' both your houses'' several times. Though the wound is not very deep or wide, Mercutio knows that it was fatal and tells his friends, ''Ask for me tomorrow, and you will find me a grave man,'' meaning that he will be dead. Benvolio takes him away, and Romeo grows furious at Tybalt, saying that his love for Juliet, his cousin, softened him momentarily and prevented him from properly defending his friend.

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