S C E N E 1
Enter Friar Lawrence and Paris
Friar Lawrence. On Thursday, sir? That's so soon.
Paris. My father-in-law to be, Capulet, wants it that way. I'm not going to tell him no.
Friar Lawrence. You say you don't even know if the lady wants you or not. That's a bit iffy, isn't it? I don't like it one bit.
Paris. She's over-the-top with her grieving for Tybalt, so she's not really interested in love at the moment. People don't really fall in love when they're mourning, do they? Her father is not pleased about the way she's grieving so desperately. He thinks that getting her to marry soon will help her get over all the sadness and crying. Having someone by her side will help her tremendously. There! You know the real reason for the rushed marriage now.
Friar L. (Aside) I wish I didn't know the real reason why this marriage has to be stopped. (To Paris) Look, sir, here's the lady herself to see me.
Paris. So glad to see you, my lady and my wife.
Juliet. That may be the case, sir, but only after I'm married.
Paris. Well, there's no 'may be' about it. We're getting married on Thursday.
Juliet. What will be will be.
Friar L. Isn't that the truth.
Paris. Have you come to make a confession to Father?
Juliet. To answer that question would be like making a confession to you.
Paris. Don't tell him you don't love me.
Juliet. I will confess to you that I love him.
Paris. I hope you can say the same about me.
Juliet. If I do, it will be worth more if I say it behind your back than to your face.
Paris. Poor soul. Your face has suffered many tears.
Juliet. My face looked bad even before I started crying.
Paris. You're being unfair to your face by saying that.
Juliet. No. That's the truth.
Paris. Your face is mine, and you've said unfair things about it.
Juliet. That may be true because my face is certainly not my own. Do you have time to see me now, Father, or should I come to see you after evening mass?
Friar L. I've got time for you, my sad daughter, right now. Paris, sorry, can we have some privacy?
Paris. God forbid I should disturb your meeting. Juliet, on Thursday I'll wake you early (kisses her). Until then, goodbye and keep this holy kiss.
Juliet. Oh, shut the door. And when you've done that, come and cry with me. I'm past hope, past cure, past help.
Friar L. Oh, Juliet! I already know why you're so sad. I'm at my wits end. I hear you must marry this Count on Thursday.
Juliet. Don't remind me about that again unless you can help me solve the mess I'm in. If you're so wise and you can't help me solve this problem, at least tell me my decision to end it with this knife is a good one. (She shows him a knife). God joined my heart to Romeo's. You joined our hands. Before you use your hands which have joined Romeo and me, to join me to someone else, I will kill myself.
You have years of experience, give me some advice now about what to do, or this knife will make the decision for me. Don't hold out for too long because I'm impatient to die if you can't help me fix this.
Friar L. Hang on, daughter. I see some hope. Desperate times call for desperate measures and this plan is just that! If you would rather die than marry Count Paris, then perhaps you would be willing to try something close to death to get out of this shameful situation. If you're willing, then I have a plan.
Juliet. Anything. I'd rather jump off the highest tower than marry him. You can tell me to sit in a field of poisonous snakes or chain me up with ravishing bears, or shut me up every night in a haunted house full of dead, smelly bodies, or tell me to climb down a freshly-dug grave, or wrap me up with a dead man's shroud. I've been scared just hearing people talk about these things but I will do them at the drop of a hat if it means I can be a wife to my dear Romeo.
Friar L. Okay. Go home and be happy. Give your consent to marry Paris. Tomorrow is Wednesday. Tomorrow night, make sure that you're alone and don't let the Nurse stay with you in your room. (Shows her a vial). When you're ready to go to bed, take this vial, mix the contents with liquor and drink it. It will make you fall into a death-like sleep. Your pulse will stop. Your skin will be cold to the touch and you'll stop breathing. You will turn pale and your breathing will stop. It will look like you're dead and you won't be able to move at all. You'll remain in this state for forty-two hours, after which you will wake up and feel as though you've had a long, pleasant sleep.
Now, when the bridegroom comes to wake you in the morning on Thursday, he'll think you're dead. As is the custom, you will be dressed in your best clothes, put in a coffin and be carried to the Capulet's family tomb. In the meantime, I'll let Romeo know about the plan. He'll come, wait for you to wake up, then take you away with him to Mantua. This fool-proof plan will release you from this shameful situation unless you chicken out like a little, scaredy woman.
Juliet. Give me the vial! Give it to me! Don't talk to me about fear.
Friar L. (Gives her the vial). Now, run along. Be strong and prosperous in this plan. I'll send a friar to Mantua right away with the letter to Romeo.
Juliet. Love will give me strength to do this. Goodbye, dear Father.
They exit separately
End of scene 1
S C E N E I I
Enter Capulet, Lady Capulet, Nurse and two or three servants
Capulet. (Gives paper to first servant) Invite all the people on this list.
Exit first servant
(To second servant) Go and hire twenty of the best cooks.
Second servant. Sir, bad cooks can't lick their own fingers, so only those that can lick their own fingers are going to be hired.
Capulet. Go on, now. We haven't got any spare time to mess around.
Exit second servant
This has come at a time when we're not even prepared for it. Has my daughter gone to see Friar Lawrence?
Capulet. Good. It might do her some good, the spoilt brat.
Nurse. There she is! She's back from confession looking happy and pleased with herself.
Capulet. Hello, my stubborn child. Where were you?
Juliet. Where I learned to repent the sin of being rude and disobedient to you and your rules. I was instructed by Friar Lawrence to fall at your feet and beg your forgiveness (falls on her knees). Please forgive me, I beg you. From now on I'll do as I'm told.
Capulet. Send for the Count and tell him about this. I'll have this wedding done in the morning.
Juliet. I met him at the Friar's cell. I treated him with respect and love within all the right boundaries of being modest.
Capulet. Oh, well, I'm glad to hear this. This is good. Stand up.
Juliet stands up
This is the way it should be. I'll see the Count. Yes, fine. Go and get him. God knows, our entire city owes him a lot.
Juliet. Nurse, will you come with me to my room to help me sort out all this stuff I need for the wedding tomorrow?
Lady Capulet. It's not until Thursday. We've got plenty of time.
Capulet. Go, Nurse. Go with her. We'll have the wedding at the church tomorrow.
Exit Juliet and Nurse
Lady Capulet. We'll be short of supplies for the wedding party. It's already nearly nightfall.
Capulet. Don't worry about that. Everything will be fine. I'll see to it, wife. I promise. Go with Juliet and help dress her up. I'm not going to sleep tonight. I'll take the role of the housewife this once.
Lady Capulet exits
What's going on? They're all gone? Well, I'll walk to the Count's place myself and tell him about tomorrow. My heart is so wonderfully light now that this wayward girl has learned her lesson and is to be married.
End of Scene 2
End of Scene 2
S C E N E I I I
Enter Juliet and Nurse
Juliet. Yes, those clothes are the best. But dear Nurse, can you please leave me alone tonight. I have to say a lot of prayers to ask for blessings and guidance on my troubled and wayward life.
Enter Lady Capulet
Lady Capulet. What's up? Are you busy? Do you need my help?
Juliet. No, madam. We've already decided on the best outfit for me to wear at the wedding. So, if you don't mind, I'd like to be left alone, please. Let the Nurse help you tonight because I'm sure you have your hands full to cater for this sudden preparation.
Lady Capulet. Good night. Get to bed and have your rest. I know you need it.
Exit Lady Capulet and Nurse
Juliet. Good bye. God only knows when we will meet again. There is a cold fear flowing through my veins. It almost freezes up any warmth left in my body. Shall I call Nurse back to comfort me? What would she do to help though? In my desperate state I need to act alone. Come vial (holds out the vial) What if it doesn't work at all. If it doesn't, I'll be married in the morning. No, this will not be. This knife will take care of that (lays her life down).
What if the friar actually mixed poison to kill me. After all, he might be worried that if he does this marriage he'll be disgraced because he's already married me to Romeo. I'm scared that it's poison. But it should be safe. He's a holy man, trusted by many. What if I wake up in the tomb before Romeo comes to get me? It'll be terrible and scary because there is no air to breathe in there. Will I be dead by the time Romeo comes to save me?
If I live, I'll be in there surrounded by death and darkness and the terror of being in the grave with all those horrible, scary dead people. There will be bones of my ancestors, many hundred years old. Even Tybalt's body is in there, freshly buried. His corpse is still rotting. They say that at certain times in the night the spirits of the dead wake up. Oh Gosh, no! I'll wake up and smell the awful stench and hear the shrieks of the ghosts. Their screams have driven the living mad.
Oh, if I wake up too early, won't I go insane being in the midst of all these horrible things? I might start playing with my ancestors' bones or pull Tybalt's body of of his death shroud. I might bash out my own brains with one of my ancestors' bones in my madness. I think I see my cousin's ghost. He's looking for Romeo because he died by his sword. Wait, Tybalt, wait! Romeo, Romeo, Romeo! Here's a drink. I drink to you.
She drinks from the vial and falls down on the bed, hidden by the bed curtains.
End of scene 3.
S C E N E I V
Enter Lady Capulet and Nurse
Lady Capulet. Hang on. Take these keys and get some more spices, Nurse.
Nurse. They're asking for dates and quinces in the pastry.
Capulet. Come on! Wake up! The second cockerel has crowed. The curfew bell has been rung. It's 3 o'clock. Get the baked meats, Angelica. Don't worry about the cost.
Nurse. Why don't you go to bed. You'll be sick tomorrow. You've been up all night.
Capulet. What are you on about? I've stayed up lots of times before, and for less important things. I've never been sick before.
Lady Capulet. Ah, yes. You've been a lady's man in your time. But I keep my eye on what you're getting up to these days.
Exit Lady Capulet and Nurse
Capulet. She's such a jealous woman!
Enter 3 or 4 servants with spits, logs and baskets
Now, guys. What have you got there?
First servant. Stuff for the cook, sir. But I don't know what they are.
Capulet. Go on, then. Hurry up.
Exit first servant
(To second servant) Bring drier logs. Call Peter. He'll show you where the dry ones are.
Second servant. I'm clever enough to go and look for them. I don't have to bother Peter about this.
Exit second servant
Capulet. Okay, then. That guy is pretty funny. He's got logs for brains though. My goodness! It's daylight already. The Count will be here with a band. He said he would. I think I hear him coming now.
Music plays offstage
Nurse! Wife! Hello! Nurse!
Go wake up Juliet and get her dressed. I'll go chat with Paris and keep him occupied. Hurry up because the bridegroom is already here. Hurry up, I say!
End of Scene 4
S C E N E V
Nurse. Mistress! Hey, Mistress! I bet she's fast asleep. Hey, lamb, you lazy bones. Why, love, madam, sweetheart, bride. Why won't you answer me? I bet you're taking your beauty sleep now. After all, from tonight Count Paris won't let you rest. God forgive me. Alleluia and amen. How sound asleep she is! I have to wake her up. Madam! Madam! I bet the Count could wake you up. (Opens the bed curtains) What? Are you still dressed in your clothes and sleeping again? I need to wake you. Lady! Lady! Lady! Oh no! My lady's dead. Oh, curse the day I was born. Get me a strong drink. My lord! My lady!
Enter Lady Capulet
Lady Capulet. What's all this racket about?
Nurse. Oh, sad day.
Lady Capulet. What's the matter?
Nurse. Look, look! What a sad day.
Lady Capulet. Oh my! Oh my! My child, my only reason for living. Wake up, open your eyes, or I'll die! Help! Help! Call for help!
Capulet. Come on and bring Juliet here. Her bridegroom has arrived.
Nurse. She's dead, deceased, she's dead. Curse the day!
Lady Capulet. Curse the day! She's dead, she's dead, she's dead!
Capulet. What? Let me see her. Oh no, she's cold. Her blood has stopped flowing and her joints are stiff. There's no life in her lips. She looks like a pretty, little flower, killed by too much frost.
Nurse. Oh, sad day!
Lady Capulet. So sad.
Capulet. Death has taken her away to make me cry, but now it's tied up my tongue as well and I can't speak.
Enter Friar Lawrence, Count Paris and musicians
Friar Lawrence. Is the bride ready to go to church?
Capulet. Ready to go, but never to return. (To Paris) Oh son, death has taken your wife on the night before the wedding day. There she lies. She was a flower, but death deflowered her. Death is my son-in-law. Death is my heir. Death married my daughter. I'll die and leave Death everything - life, wealth - everything belongs to him.
Paris. Have I waited so long for today just to see this?
Lady Capulet. Cursed, unhappy, wretched, hateful day. This is the most miserable day of all time. I had but one child - one poor, loving child. She was the only thing I rejoiced and had solace in. Now cruel death has stolen her from me.
Nurse. O woe! Oh woeful day! The saddest and most painful day that I've ever, ever seen. Oh day, oh day, oh day. Oh hateful day! There was never a day as black as this one.
Paris. She was tricked, divorced, wronged, spited and killed. Most detestable Death tricked her. Oh love! Oh life! My love is dead.
Capulet. Despised, distressed, hated, martyred, killed. Why does this have to happen at a time like this. Why did death have to ruin our wedding. Oh child, Oh child! You're my soul, but now you're dead. My child is dead and with her, all my joys will be buried.
Friar Lawrence. Be quiet. Stop yelling and screaming and reflect for a while. Heaven gave her to you, and now it's taken her back. She's in a good place now. You couldn't stop her from dying some day. Now heaven gives her eternal life. The highest you could hope was for her to marry a wealthy man. Your idea of heaven was that she became rich and moved up the ladder. And now you're crying because she has moved up into heaven itself? What kind of love is this that you go mad when your child is so well. A good marriage is not necessarily one where the woman has been married for a long time. A good marriage can be one where she was happy in it even though she died young. Dry up your tears and put your rosemary on this beautiful corpse. As the custom is, dress her in her best clothes and take her body to the church. It's natural to feel sad, but really, we should be feeling happy.
Capulet. All the things that we organised for the wedding will now be used for her funeral. Our happy music will now be sad. Our rejoicing hymns will be sad music. Our bridal flowers will be used to bury the corpse and everything else will now have the opposite purpose
Friar Lawrence. Sir, you go in. And madam, go with him. You too, Sir Paris. Prepare to follow this lovely corpse to her grave, everyone. The heavens must be punishing you for some sin in your past. Don't make her more angry by trying to go against her will.
Exit Capulet, Lady Capulet, Paris and Friar Lawrence
First musician. Let's just put away our pipes and go home now.
Nurse. That's right, guys. Just pack them away and go. As you know, this is a very sad situation.
First musician. I know. Things will get better.
Peter. Musicians, Oh, musicians, 'Heart's Ease', 'Heart's Ease'. Please play that for me, or I'll die.
First musician. Why, 'Heart's Ease'?
Peter. Because my heart's singing, 'My Heart is Full Of Woe.' Play me some happy sad song to comfort me, please.
First musician. We're not playing sad songs. This is no time to play at all.
Peter. You won't then?
First musician. No.
Peter. Then I'll give it to you soundly.
First musician. What will you give us?
Peter. Not a penny, for sure. But I'll tell everyone you're crooks.
First musician. At least we're not servants.
Peter. I'll hit you across the head with a servant's knife. I warn you. I'm not kidding. You hear me?
First musician. If you make us sing, you'll hear us.
Second musician. Please put your knife away and stop messing around.
Peter. Messing around? I'll mess around as much as I want and I'll put down my knife when I'm good and ready. (Sings)
When griping grief the heart doth wound
And doleful dumps the mind oppress,
Then music with her silver sound-
(Speaks) Why does it say 'silver sound'? What does 'music with her silver sound' mean? What do you say, Simon Catling?
First musician. Well, sir, because silver has a sweet sound.
Peter. That's rubbish! What do you say, Hugh Rebeck?
Second musician. I say, 'silver sound' because musicians play to earn silver.
Peter. That's a rubbish answer too! What do you say, James Soundpost?
Third musician. Well, I don't know what to say.
Peter. Oh, excuse me, but you're the singer. Let me tell you the answer. It says, 'music with her silver sound because musicians have no gold to make musical instruments with.
(Sings) Then music with her silver sound
With speedy help doth lend redress.
First musician. What an annoying man he is!
Second musician. Forget him. Come, we'll wait in here for the mourners and stay for dinner.
End of act 4