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SCENE SUMMARY AND NOTES
Act III, Scene 4
Juliet receives Romeo in her room on that same evening. Ironically, Lord and Lady Capulet are talking to Paris downstairs. Capulet is apologetic that he has not yet discussed the marriage plans with Juliet due to the death of Tybalt. Paris expresses his condolences and prepares to leave. Capulet delays him and sets the day of the wedding for Thursday, which is three days away. They agree to invite only a few friends for the ceremony. After Paris departs, Capulet sends his wife off to Juliet to inform her of the marriage and make preparations for it.
This scene is filled with dramatic irony and again points out how fate intervenes in the life of these lovers. Lord and Lady Capulet have no inkling of the wedding of their daughter. While Juliet is receiving Romeo in her room to consummate the marriage, Capulet is talking to Paris about his plans to marry Juliet. Although the father has not discussed the proposed marriage with his daughter, he is certain that the obedient Juliet will consent to the plan He sets the day of the wedding for Thursday and plans to invite only a half dozen friends because of the death of Tybalt. Lady Capulet leaves to inform Juliet of her marriage and to make preparation for it, a situation that heightens the dramatic suspense of the play since the audience knows that Romeo is in Julietís room. The mother, however, is certain that Juliet has shut herself away because of her sorrow over Tybaltís death. She also feels that the wedding plans will lighten Julietís sorrow.
It is important to note the sense of time in this scene. It was earlier on this same day that Romeo married Juliet and that he also killed Tybalt. Romeo, from the beginning of the play, has been a passionate, impulsive, and impatient youth. Old Capulet, however, acts with the same haste as Romeo in this scene. When Paris first consults with him about marrying Juliet (Act I, Scene 2), the father is hesitant to agree, stating that his daughter is too young and that Paris should wait awhile. Now, he has a sudden change of heart and quickly sets the marriage to take place in three days. There is no explanation for this uncharacteristic change in Lord Capulet, and the audience must accept it as fate.