Part One: The Montagues and the Capulets
In the beautiful city of Verona, there were two families—the Montagues
and the Capulets. They hated each other. They had hated each other for
hundreds of years.
One day, two servants of the house of Capulet were walking in the streets.
'If I meet any man or woman from the house of Montague, I'll push them
out of the way,' said Sampson.
'No, you'll run away,' laughed his friend, Gregory.
'Don't worry about that,' said Sampson. 'I will stand and fight.'
Just then, two servants from the house of Montague came into the same
Sampson took out his sword and bit his thumb at them. This was a
great insult. The two groups of servants began to fight.
'The Montagues are better than the Capulets,' shouted the servants of the
'Our masters, the Capulets, are better,' shouted the servants of the Capulets.
Then Benvolio, a member of the Montague family, arrived. He tried to
'Stop, fools! Put away your swords.'
But no-one listened to him. The servants continued fighting and Benvolio
took out his sword to stop them. Then Tybalt arrived. He was a Capulet, the
most dangerous member of the family. He loved fighting.
'Benvolio, you have drawn your sword. Now you must fight with me.
Look at your death!'
'I am only trying to separate these fools,' replied Benvolio.
'Put away your sword or use it to help me keep the peace.'
'Peace!' snarled Tybalt. 'I hate the word. I hate all Montagues and hate
you!'With those words, Tybalt attacked Benvolio with his sword.
Then Lord and Lady Capulet arrived. Lord Capulet was old but he wanted
to fight too.
'Bring me my sword,' he shouted.
'You are too old to fight,' said Lady Capulet. 'You don't need a sword, you
need a crutch.'
Then Lord and Lady Montague arrived. Lord Montague was swinging
his sword although his wife tried to stop him.
More and more people came. Soon everyone was fighting. It was very
dangerous. At last, the Prince of Verona arrived. He was very angry.
'Stop fighting! I want peace in my city! Drop your weapons, or you will
all die! This is the third time that your families have been fighting in the
'Lord Capulet and Lord Montague, you are old but you are not wise. You
must promise not to fight. Lord Capulet, come with me now. We must talk.
Lord Montague, come to see me this afternoon. If your two families fight
again, you will both die!'
Everyone went away except the Montagues. The fight was over.
'How did it begin?' Lord Montague asked Benvolio.
'The servants were fighting. I drew my sword to stop them. Then Tybalt
arrived. He began fighting with me. Soon everyone was involved.'
'Where is my son, Romeo? Is he safe?' asked Lady Montague.
'I saw him this morning, an hour before the sunrise,' replied Benvolio.' He
was walking alone in the fields. He saw me but he didn't want my company.
He went into the forest.'
Lord Montague nodded. 'People have often seen him there in the morning.
He cries. Then he comes home and locks himself in his room. He shuts out
the daylight and spends all his time alone in the dark. Something is wrong.'
'Have you questioned him?'
'Yes, but he gives no answer.'
'But look, he is coming now,' said Benvolio. 'I will ask him about his
'I hope he will answer you. We will leave you to speak privately,' said
Romeo was on his way back from the forest to the city.
'Good morning, cousin,' said Benvolio.
'It is a sad morning,' replied Romeo.
'Why?Why are your days sad and long?'
'I am ...'
'Out of love?'
'Out of my lady's favour. I love her but she does not love me. Love is a
terrible thing, Benvolio. I love and I hate. Love comes from nothing. It is
heavy and light, serious and foolish, hot and cold, sick and healthy. Are you
laughing at me?'
'No, I am sad because you are sad.'
'Love is a madness. Goodbye, cousin.'
'Tell me,who do you love?'
'I love a woman.'
'I know that. But who?'
'I love sweet Rosaline. She is beautiful, intelligent and good. But she
does not love me.'
'Forget her. There are many other girls.'
'No, I can never forget her.'
Lord Capulet decided to have a party.
'I will invite all the important people from Verona. But not the Montagues. '
He wanted his daughter, Juliet, to meet Paris, a lord from Verona, the friend
of the Prince. He hoped she would marry Paris in the future. He called for his
'Here is a list of names. Go and invite the guests.'
The servant met Romeo and Benvolio in the street. He did not know that
they were Montagues.
'Can you help me?' he asked. '] can't read the names on this piece of paper.'
'Look, Romeo. Rosaline will be at the party.'
'I have an idea,' said Romeo suddenly.
Meanwhile, Lady Capulet was talking to Juliet, her thirteen-year-old
daughter. Juliet had an old nurse who looked after her.
'You will meet Paris at the party,' Lady Capulet told Juliet. 'Perhaps you
will marry him one day.'
'Mother, I am too young to get married,' replied Juliet.
'I would love to see my little Juliet married,' said the Nurse. 'You will have
happy days and happy nights.'