Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Act IV, Scene 1

Summary

Paris and Friar Laurence discuss plans for Paris’s marriage to Juliet, which Paris hopes will stop her crying. Juliet arrives and converses with Paris until he leaves. Then, she threatens to kill herself if Friar Laurence doesn’t help her prevent the marriage to Paris. Friar Laurence gives her a potion that will make her appear to be dead for approximately 42 hours. He instructs her to take the potion tomorrow night and let herself be placed in the Capulet family vault, as if dead. Meanwhile, Friar Laurence will write to Romeo and tell him to come release Juliet from the vault and take her to Mantua, where they can live happily ever after.

Analysis

Juliet’s lines in this scene are packed with the same double meanings and dramatic irony that they carried in the previous scene. When Paris says, “Do not deny to him that you love me,” Juliet replies, “I will confess to you that I love him.” By “him” Paris meant Friar Laurence, to whom he believes Juliet has come to make confession; in fact, Juliet refers to Romeo. Similarly, when Paris says, “Thy face is mine, and thou hast slandered it,” Juliet replies, “That may be so; for it is not mine own” – a veiled reference to the fact that she is already married.

Contents