Romeo: The son of Montague, Romeo is first introduced to us as a
sad, melancholic, apathetic youth. His reason for sadness is universal;
Rosaline his love will not return his affections. Not initially daring, it is
his friends Mercutio and Benvolio who suggest he gatecrash or arrive
uninvited at the Capulet party to see Rosaline. There he meets Juliet
falling instantly in love. From this point on, Romeo no longer is
melancholic, but dynamic and courageous, risking his life at the
Capulet's house to be near Juliet and later breaking a banishment
order which threatens death for him, to see his Juliet again. Well
regarded even by Capulet, his enemy, Romeo is a thoughtful man,
unwilling to provoke fighting unlike the hot-blooded, adversarial Tybalt.
Montague and Capulet: The heads of
two houses opposed to each other.
Their feud has been going on for some
time, described in the Prologue as an
"ancient grudge" (Line 3). We never
learn the cause of it, only that it
continues to this day. Montague's son is
Romeo, Capulet's daughter is Juliet.
The two heads of their respective
households never fight, only it appears
do their servants, nephews and children.
Friar Laurence: A
Franciscan priest, he plays a
crucial role in the play by
marrying Romeo and Juliet's
in his cell in the hope that the
feud between the Montague's
and the Capulet's will now
end. A friend of Romeo, he
initially does not take
Romeo's love for Juliet
seriously, remembering
Romeo's obsession with
Peter: Servant to Juliet's nurse.
Benvolio: Nephew to
Montague, and friend to
Mercutio and Romeo, his role
in the play is minor, serving
mainly as a friend to Romeo.
Abraham: Servant to the
Montague family, he is involved
in the fight in Act I, Scene I.
Lady Montague: The wife of
Montague, she worries about her
son's happiness in Act I, Scene I.
Mercutio: Kinsman to the
Prince, Mercutio displays a fine
if disrespectful tongue, especially
towards Juliet's nurse. An
unlikely source of wisdom, he
tells a depressed Romeo to,
"Prick love for pricking, and you
beat love down" meaning
Romeo should be rough with
love if it is rough with him, and to
regain his enthusiasm for love
(Act I, Scene IV, Line 28) .
Servant to Romeo,
he witnesses the
final moments of
Romeo's life at the
churchyard from a
hiding place. He
later backs up
Friar Laurence's
explanation of
events to Escalus,
Prince of Verona.
Paris: A young nobleman, Kinsman to
the Prince. Introduced to us in Act I,
Scene II, it is Capulet's desire that the
young Paris marry his daughter Juliet.
Juliet later reveals her reluctance to be
married so early in life rather than a
dislike of Paris personally. When Juliet
falls in love with Romeo, Paris is
increasingly ignored by Juliet but
remains polite, perhaps ignorant that
Juliet does not want to marry him nor
that she does not love him.
Escalus: The Prince of Verona,
his continued annoyance with the
ongoing feud between the
Capulet and Montague families
leads him to warn both families
that further fighting between the
two will be punished by death.
Escalus is also responsible for
banishing Romeo from Verona
after Romeo killed Tybalt, an act
of mercy on the Prince's part.
Sampson and Gregory: Servants to
Capulet, these two men initially try to
pick a fight with their opposites from
the Montague family, Abraham and
Balthasar in Act I, Scene I, establishing
the feud that exists between Capulet
and Montague families by showing that
their mutual hatred even extends to
their servants. This fight in a civic space
leads Escalus to warn both families that
further fighting will be punished by
Nurse to Juliet:
In many ways a
surrogate mother
to Juliet, she cares
deeply for Juliet's
best interests, even
encouraging Juliet's
relationship with
Romeo in the hope
that it will make
Juliet happy.
Wife to Capulet: Juliet's mother, we
see her as a distant figure in Juliet's life;
Juliet's nurse remembers more about
Juliet's childhood than Lady Capulet,
suggesting a distance between mother
and daughter. Nonetheless she appears
close to her daughter, assisting her
husband to convince Juliet into marrying
Paris. When Capulet orders Juliet to
marry Paris, Lady Capulet, falls into line,
agreeing with Capulet and betraying Juliet
Tybalt: Nephew to Lady
Capulet, this rash,
hot-blooded young man is
adversarial and hateful
towards all Montagues,
especially Romeo. When
he sees Romeo at the
Capulet party, his
immediate instinct is to
fight, but only the
increasingly firm warnings
from Capulet to hold his
peace restrain him.