Act4.ppt - Introducing Adam Morton

Romeo & Juliet
Act 4
Act IV, Scene i - Summary
 Paris tells the Friar of the wedding (in two days)
 Friar is shocked at haste - it ‘should be slowed’
 Juliet cool towards Paris, cleverly sidesteps his
compliments; Paris is affectionate towards her
 Paris leaves and Juliet threatens to take ‘this
bloody knife’ and kill herself if no help given
 The Friar offers Juliet a sleeping potion which
will induce a coma-like state for 42 hours
 She will lie alone in her chamber (on Wed night)
 Everyone will believe she is dead, and Romeo
will be sent for and they will escape to Mantua
 Juliet agrees instantly
 The dramatic tension in the scene is created
through the meeting of Paris and Juliet
 Juliet and Paris engage in rigid, formal talk
 Paris tries to engage Juliet but she is quick to
respond and curt in manner
 He is courteous suitor, while Juliet proves her
nimble mind as she evades Paris’s questions and
Juliet’s Strength
 She is surprised to find Paris at the Friar’s yet she
presents herself as composed and confident
 She describes the horrors she is prepared to face
rather than marry Paris highlighting her bravery
and the depth of her love for Romeo
 Juliet is prepared to take her life rather than be
without Romeo
 The Friar states that if she has ‘the strength of
will’ to kill herself, then she will have the
courage to take the potion
 She makes this decision quickly suggesting her
determination and resolution to try anything to be
with Romeo
This scene is defining moment in the
structure of the play
In this scene, Juliet’s decision to accept the
Friar’s potion demonstrates her
– commitment to defying her father’s rule
– asserting her independence
– accepting her resolution to die in order to be
with Romeo
Romeo and Juliet - Parallel
 Juliet’s conversation with the Friar parallels Act
III, Scene 3 with Romeo when he threatens to kill
 Juliet, like Romeo, now believes that only death
can offer a solution to her dilemma: “Be not so
long to speak. I long to die / If what thou speak’st
speak not of remedy.”
 As always, Rome and Juliet mirror each other’s
Friar and Fate
 The Friar uses his knowledge of flowers and
herbs when thinking of the potion
 In Act II, scene iii, the Friar described the dual
qualities of plants that are capable of healing yet
have the power to act as a poison
 The Friar’s plan offers hope for Juliet, but due to
the influence of fate, becomes the vehicle of the
At the end of this scene:
Juliet has found an ally
The Friar has proven himself to be wily,
scheming and inventive in aiding Romeo
and Juliet
BUT can he be trusted?
Paris appears to be genuinely interested in
Act IV, Scene ii - Summary
 Juliet returns home where she surprises her
parents by sweetly capitulating to the wedding
 Capulet is so pleased, that he insists on bringing
the wedding forward by one day (to the
Wednesday morning)
 Lady Capulet protests, saying it does not leave
enough time to prepare, but the euphoric Lord
Capulet states he will prepare everything
 Juliet is now to be married the following morning
 This will affect the Friar’s arrangements to let
Romeo know of their plans
 Here, fate twists Juliet’s fortunes once again
 Capulet, in his impulsive zeal, complicates the
Friar’s plan by moving the wedding forward a
full day
 Juliet must take the potion that night and lapse
into a suspended state 24 hours sooner than the
Friar had anticipated
 This development reduces the amount of time the
Friar will have to notify Romeo in Mantua
Juliet - Duplicitous
 Juliet pretends to acquiesce to Capulet’s plan
 She reveals enthusiasm which is somewhat
genuine since she feels hope in the potion
 She reveals her ability to pretend and her
perception in working out what others want
 Juliet displays duplicity as she describes her
meeting with Paris saying she gave him, “what
becomed love I might / Not stepping o’er the
bounds of modesty.”
 She also pretends to prepare for the wedding
while preparing for her presumed death
 She has emotionally removed herself from those
who have betrayed her
Lord Capulet
 Capulet is characteristically impulsive, rash, and
 His blind enthusiasm leads him to insist that his
entire family and staff work through the night to
make adequate preparations for the hastened
 He shows disrespect for his wife and Juliet
insulting Juliet by accusing her of “peevish, selfwilled harlotry” and he completely dominates his
wife, disregarding her desire to delay the
wedding and ordering her to Juliet’s room to help
the Nurse
Act IV, Scene iii - Summary
 In her bedchamber, Juliet asks the Nurse to let
her spend the night alone
 She begins to wonder what will happen to her if
she drinks from the vial
 She comes up with reason after reason why
drinking the sleeping potion may cause her harm
– physical or psychological – but drinks it
anyway, telling Romeo ‘I drink to thee’
Juliet – Independence
 Juliet asserts independence by asking Nurse and
Lady Capulet to leave her alone
 She is separating herself from her family and
takes a step toward her plan to be with Romeo
 This request marks a turning point for Juliet
 Previously, she refrained from making her own
decisions (waited for instruction from Romeo
when they would wed and depended on Friar to
provide a plan)
 She has grown more mature and independent
 Places dagger by her side showing her decision
to die if she can’t be with Romeo
Juliet - Strength
 When Juliet is left alone, she is struck by the
horror of her situation
 She imagines gruesome, nightmarish horrors of
13-year-old facing her own mortality: being
buried alive in the airless tomb and facing
Tybalt’s corpse: “festering in his shroud.”
 She is tempted to call for Nurse, but realises she
must act independently
 She displays courage as she defies her parents
and fate itself ad is prepared to die
 She accepts she must trust the Friar’s potion, and
has strength in her ultimate faith
Both the knife, and the poison, hint at the
lovers’ actual deaths
Just as Juliet drinks “poison”, Romeo will
eventually procure poison from an
apothecary and kill himself that way
Juliet will use the knife on herself
Writing Task:
‘Farewell! God knows when we shall meet
Writing task: Re-write this speech in
your own words – tracing all of Juliet’s
changing ideas and emotions as she
contemplates what she is about to do…
Act IV, Scene iv - Summary
Lord Capulet has not been to bed but has
been preparing for the wedding
The Capulet household has been alive
throughout the night with frenetic wedding
preparation activities
The day begins to break, and Capulet hears
music signaling that Paris is approaching
the house
He orders the Nurse to awaken Juliet
 The mood is joyful and excited
 The Capulet house bustles with activity
 Banter with the servants is frenetic and excited
 The atmosphere is electrified with the joyful
expectation of the upcoming marriage
 This provides a striking contrast with the scene
upstairs, where the bride lies in bed, apparently
 This scene relieves the tension from the previous
dark scene
Act IV, Scene v - Summary
 The Nurse enters Juliet’s room and discovers her
seemingly lifeless body on the bed
 The Nurse believes her to be dead and cries out
to the family in desperation
 They dramatically mourn Juliet’s loss
 The Friar expresses the belief that Juliet is in
heaven and that they are partly to blame
 He then arranges for Juliet’s body to be taken to
the family vault
 Capulet orders that the wedding preparations be
changed to funeral preparations
The Nurse opens this with humorous
However, the mood changes quickly when
the Nurse discovers Juliet’s body,
The tone of the scene immediately changes
from excited anticipation to shocked
sorrow creating a sense of shock for the
The parents
 In their mourning for Juliet, they appear as
individuals who have suffered a great loss
 The audience gains an understanding of how
much their hopes for the future had been invested
in Juliet
 And Paris’ grief seems genuine, rather than just
 However, their griefs are centred on themselves
and much of the sadness is shown in repetitive
wailing rather than genuine feeling
At the end of Act IV
 The situation is dire, but there could still be hope
IF the Friar’s plan can be made to work
 Juliet is apparently dead, and is being taken to the
family tomb
 The Friar has to send a message to Romeo
(earlier than he thought) explaining the situation
to him
 Potential for tragedy?

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