Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Act III, Scene 4

Summary

In the Capulet household, Paris and Capulet are once again discussing Juliet’s potential marriage to Paris – only now, the issue is more than just a possibility. They set a wedding date for Thursday, three days in the future. Both men hope that the wedding will convince Juliet to stop crying, since they believe her lamentations are due solely to her cousin Tybalt’s death.

Analysis

As if the stakes could not get any higher, now Juliet’s marriage to Paris is planned to take place in just three days. In order for Friar Laurence’s plan to reunite the lovers openly to work, he needs time, but time has just been taken away.

This short scene is nevertheless loaded with dramatic irony. Paris and Capulet do not know that Juliet is already married, they do not know she has married Romeo, and they do not know that she is crying because of Romeo’s banishment, not Tybalt’s death. It is what they do not know that leads them to happily create their marriage plans, fully expecting that Juliet will be happy to hear the news.

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