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LINES 121-70

Too late, Friar Lawrence hurries to the tomb so he'll be there when Juliet wakes up. He's afraid that something's wrong: someone else is in the graveyard and there's a torch in Capulet's tomb.

The person he runs into is Balthasar. He tells the Friar that Romeo, "one that you love," is in the tomb, and has been for half an hour. Balthasar remembers Romeo's threats and refuses to go to the tomb with Lawrence. He adds, "I dreamt my master and another fought / And that my master slew him."

Even though the Friar is afraid, he runs to the tomb. There, he finds bloody swords, and the dead bodies of Romeo and Paris. Before he has time to gather his wits, Juliet wakes up and starts asking for Romeo.

Friar Lawrence hears someone coming, and is overcome by guilt and fear. He feels he has to get out of there-after all, there are two dead bodies, and he's partly responsible. He tries to get Juliet to flee with him: he tells her that "a greater power than we can contradict / hath thwarted our intents." (What power does he mean? Would a priest say that the "higher power" was God? Or fate?) When that doesn't work, he tells her that Romeo and Paris are dead, but he'll see to it that she is put in a nunnery. When Juliet says she won't come with him, he feels forced to flee by himself.

Juliet is thinking clearly. She tells the friar to go, then she goes to Romeo. She sees that he's died of poison, and she kisses his lips, hoping that there will be enough poison there to kill her. She discovers that his lips are still warm-she missed him by minutes. The watchman is coming, so she acts fast: she grabs Romeo's dagger, and stabs herself through the heart.


Here we see Juliet left absolutely alone. She is abandoned by Friar Lawrence, her only friend; and, unwittingly, by Romeo. Through the scene, she talks to Romeo as if he were still present, and kills herself as if it's the only way to join him again.

LINES 171-310

Paris' page arrives with the guards, and the Chief Watchman begins the investigation. After finding Paris and Romeo dead and Juliet "bleeding, warm, and newly dead," he sends guards to arrest anyone in the cemetery. He sends others to get the Prince, the Montagues, and the Capulets. Meanwhile, the cemetery guards return with Balthasar and Friar Lawrence.

Prince Escalus is the first to arrive, and he takes over the investigation. The Capulets arrive next, and are shocked to see Juliet newly dead. Lord Montague comes in, already mourning: his wife has died of grief over Romeo's banishment. Now he has the added anguish of his son's death.

The Prince seals the tomb until he can find out what's happened. Three people come forward to piece together the story:

Friar Lawrence has the courage to tell all, even if the truth condemns him. He tells of the secret marriage, Juliet's potion, and the letter of Romeo that went astray. He says he found Juliet in the tomb and told her to bear this "work of heaven" with patience, but then he panicked and fled. The Friar throws himself on the mercy of the law, and the Prince pardons him.

Balthasar says that he told Romeo of Juliet's "death", and gives Lord Montague Romeo's letter. This confirms what Lawrence and Balthasar have said. The letter also explains how Romeo bought poison and came to the vault to die with Juliet.

Paris' Page adds that his master had come to mourn for Juliet. He saw Romeo come, and Paris draw his sword.

So the whole story is made public.

Prince Escalus pronounces that heaven has already sentenced these enemies: "See what a scourge is laid upon your hate / That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love." The Capulets have lost Juliet and Tybalt; the Montagues, Romeo and Lady Montague. The Prince has also lost two relatives: Mercutio (a good friend of the Montagues) and Paris (who would have married into the Capulets).

In the midst of their grief, the two families are reunited. Lord Capulet takes Lord Montague's hand. He says this friendship is Juliet's marriage dowry. Lord Montague says he'll build a gold statue of Juliet, and Lord Capulet offers to build one of Romeo next to it. The Prince adds, "A glooming peace this morning with it brings / The sun for sorrow will not show his head."

Peace has come out of desperate night, but it's not a joyous peace that brings light. Finally, through love, there is an end to the feud, and order is restored. Although some must be punished, some will be pardoned. There will finally be mercy again in Verona.

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