Read Shakespeare’s plays in all their brilliance—and understand what every word means! Don’t be intimidated by Shakespeare! These popular guides make the Bard’s plays accessible and enjoyable.Each No Fear guide contains:
- The complete text of the original play
- A line-by-line translation that puts the words into everyday language
- A complete list of characters, with descriptions
- Plenty of helpful commentary
Read an Excerpt
Romeo and Juliet (No Fear Shakespeare)
By William Shakespeare
SparknotesCopyright © 2003 William Shakespeare
All right reserved.
Chapter OneAct 3
* * *
SCENE I A public place
enter Mercutio, Benvolio, and Men
Benvolio I pray thee, good Mercutio, let's retire. The day is hot, the Capulets abroad, And if we meet, we shall not scape a brawl, For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.
Mercutio Thou art like one of these fellows that, when he enters the confines of a tavern, claps me his sword upon the table and says "God send me no need of thee!" and by the operation of the second cup draws him on the drawer, when indeed there is no need.
Benvolio Am I like such a fellow?
Mercutio Come, come, thou art as hot a jack in thy mood as any in Italy; and as soon moved to be moody, and as soon moody to be moved.
Benvolio And what to?
Mercutio Nay, an there were two such, we should have none shortly, for one would kill the other. Thou! Why, thou wilt quarrel with a man that hath a hair more or a hair less in his beard than thou hast. Thou wilt quarrel with a man for racking nuts, having no other reason but because thou hast hazel eyes. What eye but such an eye would spy out such a quarrel? Thy head is as full of quarrels as an egg is full of meat, and yet thy head hath been beaten as addle as an egg for quarreling. Thou hast quarreled with a man for coughing in the street, because he hath wakened thy dog that hath lain asleep in the sun. Didst thou not fall out with a tailor for wearing his new doublet before Easter, with another for tying his new shoes with an old riband? And yet thou wilt tutor me from quarreling!
Benvolio An I were so apt to quarrel as thou art, any man should buy the fee simple of my life for an hour and a quarter.
Mercutio The fee simple? O simple!
enter Tybalt and others
Benvolio By my head, here come the Capulets.
Mercutio By my heel, I care not.
Tybalt (to other Capulets) Follow me close, for I will speak to them. Gentlemen, good den. A word with one of you.
Mercutio And but one word with one of us? Couple it with something, make it a word and a blow.
Tybalt You shall find me apt enough to that, sir, an you will give me occasion.
Mercutio Could you not take some occasion without giving?
Tybalt Mercutio, thou consortest with Romeo.
Mercutio Consort? What, dost thou make us minstrels? An thou make minstrels of us, look to hear nothing but discords. (indicates his sword) Here's my fiddlestick, here's that shall make you dance. Zounds, consort!
Benvolio We talk here in the public haunt of men. Either withdraw unto some private place And reason coldly of your grievances, Or else depart. Here all eyes gaze on us.
Mercutio Men's eyes were made to look, and let them gaze. I will not budge for no man's pleasure.
Tybalt Well, peace be with you, sir. Here comes my man.
Mercutio But I'll be hanged, sir, if he wear your livery. Marry, go before to field, he'll be your follower. Your worship in that sense may call him man.
Tybalt Romeo, the love I bear thee can afford No better term than this: thou art a villain.
Romeo Tybalt, the reason that I have to love thee Doth much excuse the appertaining rage To such a greeting. Villain am I none. Therefore farewell. I see thou knowest me not.
Tybalt Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries That thou hast done me. Therefore turn and draw.
Romeo I do protest I never injured thee, But love thee better than thou canst devise, Till thou shalt know the reason of my love. And so good Capulet, which name I tender As dearly as mine own, be satisfied.
Mercutio O calm, dishonorable, vile submission! Alla stoccata carries it away. (he draws) Tybalt, you ratcatcher, will you walk?
Tybalt What wouldst thou have with me?
Mercutio Good King of Cats, nothing but one of your nine lives. That I mean to make bold withal and, as you shall use me hereafter, dry beat the rest of the eight. Will you pluck your sword out of his pilcher by the ears? Make haste, lest mine be about your ears ere it be out.
Tybalt I am for you. (he draws)
Romeo Gentle Mercurio, put thy rapier up.
Mercutio (to Tybalt) Come, sir, your passado!
Romeo Draw, Benvolio, beat down their weapons. Gentlemen, for shame! Forbear this outrage! Tybalt, Mercutio! The Prince expressly hath Forbid this bandying inVerona streets. Hold, Tybalt! Good Mercutio!
Tybalt under Romeo's arm stabs Mercutio and flies with his Followers
Mercutio I am hurt. A plague both your houses. I am sped. Is he gone and hath nothing?
Benvolio What, art thou hurt?
Mercutio Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch. Marry, 'tis enough. Where is my page? (to Page) Go, villain, fetch a surgeon.
Romeo Courage, man. The hurt cannot be much.
Mercutio No, 'tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church door, but 'tis enough, 'twill serve. Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man. I am peppered, I warrant, for this world. A plague o' both your houses. Zounds, a dog, a rat, a mouse, a cat, to scratch a man to death. A braggart, a rogue, a villain, that fights by the book of arithmetic. Why the devil came you between us? I was hurt under your arm.
Romeo I thought all for the best.
Mercutio Help me into some house, Benvolio, Or I shall faint. A plague o' both your houses. They have made worms' meat of me. I have it, And soundly too. Your houses!
exit, supported by Benvolio
Romeo This gentleman, the Prince's near ally, My very friend, hath got this mortal hurt In my behalf - my reputation stained With Tybalt's slander - Tybalt, that an hour Hath been my kinsman. O sweet Juliet, Thy beauty hath made me effeminate And in my temper softened valor's steel.
Benvolio O Romeo, Romeo, brave Mercurio's dead, That gallant spirit hath aspired the clouds, Which too untimely here did scorn the earth.
Romeo This day's black fate on moe days doth depend. This but begins the woe others must end.
Benvolio Here comes the furious Tybalt back again.
Romeo Alive in triumph, and Mercurio slain? Away to heaven respective lenity, And fire-eyed fury be my conduct now! Now, Tybalt, take the "villain" back again That late thou gavest me, for Mercutio's soul Is but a little way above our heads, Staying for thine to keep him company. Either thou or I, or both, must go with him.
Tybalt Thou wretched boy, that didst consort him here, Shalt with him hence.
Romeo (drawing his sword) This shall determine that.
they fight. Tybalt falls
Benvolio Romeo, away, be gone. The citizens are up, and Tybalt slain. Stand not amazed. The Prince will doom thee death If thou art taken. Hence, be gone, away!
Romeo O I am fortune's fool.
Benvolio Why dost thou stay?
Citizen Which way ran he that killed Mercutio? Tybalt, that murderer, which way ran he?
Benvolio There lies that Tybalt.
Citizen Up, sir, go with me. I charge thee in the Prince's name obey.
enter Prince, attended, Old Montague, Capulet, their Wives, and others
Prince Where are the vile beginners of this fray?
Benvolio O noble Prince, I can discover all The unlucky manage of this fatal brawl. There lies the man, slain by young Romeo, That slew thy kinsman, brave Mercutio.
Lady Capulet Tybalt, my cousin. O my brother's child! O Prince, O husband, O the blood is spilled Of my dear kinsman. Prince, as thou art true, For blood of ours shed blood of Montague. O cousin, cousin.
Prince Benvolio, who began this bloody fray?
Benvolio Tybalt, here slain, whom Romeo's hand did slay. Romeo, that spoke him fair, bid him bethink How nice the quarrel was, and urged withal Your high displeasure. All this - utterhd With gentle breath, calm look, knees humbly bowed - Could not take truce with the unruly spleen Of Tybalt, deaf to peace, but that he tilts With piercing steel at bold Mercutio's breast, Who, all as hot, turns deadly point to point, And, with a martial scorn, with one hand beats Cold death aside and with the other sends It back to Tybalt, whose dexterity Retorts it. Romeo he cries aloud, "Hold, friends! Friends, part!" and swifter than his tongue His agile arm beats down their fatal points And 'twixt them rushes, underneath whose arm An envious thrust from Tybalt hit the life Of stout Mercutio, and then Tybalt fled, But by and by comes back to Romeo, Who had but newly entertained revenge, And to't they go like lightning, for, ere I Could draw to part them, was stout Tybalt slain And as he fell did Romeo turn and fly. This is the truth, or let Benvolio die.
Lady Capulet He is a kinsman to the Montague. Affection makes him false, he speaks not true. Some twenty of them fought in this black strife, And all those twenty could but kill one life. I beg for justice, which thou, Prince, must give. Romeo slew Tybalt; Romeo must not live.
Prince Romeo slew him, he slew Mercurio. Who now the price of his dear blood doth owe?
Montague Not Romeo, Prince. He was Mercutio's friend. His fault concludes but what the law should end, The life of Tybalt.
Prince And for that offense Immediately we do exile him hence. I have an interest in your hate's proceeding, My blood for your rude brawls doth lie ableeding. But I'll amerce you with so strong a fine That you shall all repent the loss of mine. I will be deaf to pleading and excuses; Nor tears nor prayers shall purchase out abuses. Therefore use none. Let Romeo hence in haste, Else, when he is found, that hour is his last. Bear hence this body, and attend our will. Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill.
Chapter TwoSCENE 2 Capulet's orchard
Juliet Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds, Towards Phoebus' lodging. Such a wagoner As Phaeton would whip you to the west And bring in cloudy night immediately. Spread thy close curtain, love-performing night, That runaway eyes may wink, and Romeo Leap to these arms untalked of and unseen. Lovers can see to do their amorous rites By their own beauties, or, if love be blind, It best agrees with night. Come, civil night, Thou sober-suited matron, all in black, And learn me how to lose a winning match, Played for a pair of stainless maidenhoods. Hood my unmanned blood, bating in my cheeks, With thy black mantle, till strange love, grown bold, Think true love acted simple modesty. Come, night. Come, Romeo. Come, thou day in night, For thou wilt lie upon the wings of night Whiter than new snow upon a raven's back. Come, gentle night. Come, loving, black-browed night, Give me my Romeo. And when I shall die Take him and cut him out in little stars, And he will make the face of heaven so fine That all the world will be in love with night And pay no worship to the garish sun. O I have bought the mansion of a love But not possessed it, and though I am sold, Not yet enjoyed. So tedious is this day As is the night before some festival To an impatient child that hath new robes And may not wear them. O here comes my Nurse.
enter Nurse, with ladder of cords
And she brings news, and every tongue that speaks But Romeo's name speaks heavenly eloquence. Now, Nurse, what news? What hast thou there? The cords That Romeo bid thee fetch?
Nurse Ay, ay, the cords.
SHE THROWS THEM DOWN
Juliet Ay me, what news? Why dost thou wring thy hands
Nurse Ah, weraday! He's dead, he's dead, he's dead! We are undone, lady, we are undone. Alack the day! He's gone, he's killed, he's dead.
Juliet Can heaven be so envious?
Nurse Romeo can, Though heaven cannot. O Romeo, Romeo, Who ever would have thought it? Romeo!
Juliet What devil art thou that dost torment me thus? This torture should be roared in dismal hell. Hath Romeo slain himself? Say thou but "Ay," And that bare vowel "Ay" shall poison more Than the death darting eye of cockatrice. I am not I, if there be such an "Ay," Or those eyes shut that make thee answer "Ay." If he be slain, say "Ay," or if not, "no. " Brief sounds determine of my weal or woe.
Nurse I saw the wound, I saw it with mine eyes, (God save the mark!) here on his manly breast. A piteous corse, a bloody piteous corse, Pale, pale as ashes, all bedaubed in blood, All in gore blood. I swounded at the sight.
Juliet O break, my heart. Poor bankrupt, break at once. To prison, eyes, ne'er look on liberty. Vile earth, to earth resign, end motion here, And thou and Romeo press one heavy bier.
Nurse O Tybalt, Tybalt, the best friend I had. O courteous Tybalt. Honest gentleman, That ever I should live to see thee dead.
Juliet What storm is this that blows so contrary? Is Romeo slaughtered, and is Tybalt dead? My dear loved cousin, and my dearer lord? Then, dreadful trumpet, sound the general doom, For who is living, if those two are gone?
Nurse Tybalt is gone, and Romeo banishhd. Romeo that killed him, he is banishhd.
Juliet O God! Did Romeo's hand shed Tybalt's blood?
Nurse It did, it did, alas the day, it did.
Juliet O serpent heart, hid with a flowering face.
Excerpted from Romeo and Juliet (No Fear Shakespeare) by William Shakespeare Copyright © 2003 by William Shakespeare. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
When my English teacher announced that we would be reading Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet I have to admit I was petrified. However my friend told me about this book and I bought it right away. It aided me tremendously throughout the semester and also helped me get a great score on the exam. I would recommend this book to anyone. It really helps!
The book is great for reading, improving one's book collection, and it helps one to understand what Shakespeare meant. I highly recommend it to teachers and students.
My daughter struggled understanding Shakespeare. I did, too, and I'm an English major! Having this side-by-side original and modern-day language comparison made the main points stick and helped her to get a grasp of the material. Without it, she would've been repeating her freshman second semester. Spark Notes, on the other hand, are also helpful but should be used as a review, not replacement reading. Spark Notes helped me to quiz several high schoolers on main points when we did group studying for tests.
I really enjoyed reading this book because I have always wanted to read Romeo and Juliet. I could never really find a good book that would help me understand what was going on in the story. Luckily I found this book, which was helpful because it showed the real play and right across, on the opposite page, was the translation (the way we would say it today). It also would have a little place where it would explain something that couldn't be translated as easily. I liked the story line and thought it was easy to follow. The translated version was easy to read so I finished it quickly, and it was also easy to compare the lines with the original play. Actually being able to read the play was good because I had always just heard simple details about it, but I never knew the whole story. I would definitely recommend this book to people. It was an interesting story and fun to read. - J Miley
My English teacher told us about this, and it was amazing. without this book, i'd never have gotten close to scoring well on the exam. The book translates the Shakespearean English into something anyone could understand. it even translates his silly perverted jokes and stuff. A must buy for anyone who wants to understand the story!
This book is very usefull and helps you with reading the original book.
There is one promblem the numbering of lines our out of order
This book is so helpful. Shakespearan English is so complicated but htis book does a fabulous job of transelating it into language modern-day readers understand. Definatly worth your money.
reading was never easy for me, so when i was told i had to read Romeo and Juliet, i started freaking out, but i bought this book, and i was at the top of the class when we review it and took quizzes. there is no other way to read Shakespeare
We bought this book for my daughter who is 14 and a freshman. She used it for her Honors English class. She was able to use it for a book project. It was very useful in understanding Shakespeare. I would recommend it.
I enjoyed the dual print. Having the plain English side by side with the original text was great for fully understanding the play.
Beware buying books from BN. Only some books work for nook apps on adroid devices. You must scour the site to determine whether the book is Nook only or android nook app compatible.
This book was a great book filled with romance, adventure, friendship, and family. The wording of the original text is hard to follow so this book has a modern day translation included on one side of the book as well as the original text on the other side. This makes it easy to read.
For anyone that has to read the book "Romeo and Juliet" for school, or for fun, this is the right one to get. Shakespeareian text is hard to understand with much of his 'made up' grammar and free writing skills he uses. With side by side text, you can easily look over to further understand what the story is revealing and saying. From the sweet setting of Verona, Italy, to the tragic drama of forbidden love between Romeo and Juliet, you will enjoy this classic. There is plenty of room to take sidenotes in the back, and there is a full character guide in the frontto help refresh the characters. Inlcudng a "family tree" it is so easy to understand the difficult and complex text. What better to get it with text you can understand. In modern day english, this book is a good buy and well worth your money.
Because it is difficult to know exactly what is going on, or what is being said or implied when reading Shakespeare plays, the "translation" into modern English idioms and phrases placed along side the actual text of the play makes it much easier to understand. This is especially helpful for students who need to be able to write or discuss themes and ideas that they might otherwise misinterpret.
We all know the tragic story of Juliet and her Romeo, but have we read it yet? For teenagers like me, it is difficult to read in Shakespeare English style (not really difficult for me...but maybe it's just me). This story is what I wanted to read and MORE! It made me laugh and, got to admit, cry too. I really recommend to read this play and probably Othello too :) They are both great! I really love Shakespeare's works!! I wish more people actually read the play instead of sticking to Taylor Swift's song (no offense, I really do like her music). It is really worth reading, and plus, if you don't understand a word or phrase, you could always see the other side of the page and understand what Shakespeare is trying to say :D
I love Romeo and Juliet. Sure they kill themselves at the end, but nevertheless, it is a classic. I highly recommend that you read the old english version seperately from the translation. It will help you get a better understanding on what is going on.
The regular shakespearian language is really hard to understand, but the english version helped a lot. I could still get quotes from the actual characters, and when my teacher would ask for an explanation I had it right there!
I have read 3 other Shakespeare books before this. The only help I had those other times was my English teacher. I very much enjoyed the ones I read, so I decided to tackle this one over the summer by myself. What an aid to have today's vernacular on the other page! I overall understood everything (thanks to that certain teacher) and all I had to do was fill in the blanks. This book was very useful and so easy to understand. Not to mention the book itself was fantastic. I think I will forever remain a Shakepeare enthusiast.
This book helps you to fully understand shakespeare's writings, and some of the meanings behind them. This book gives you both the original play, and a translation into plain english of that play. On the side margins, it also explains some of the slang of that times so that you can further understand the play. I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to better understand shakespeare, but it does not always explain motives- so it does still require quite a bit of thinking.
The best side-by-side version of the play I've found. I recommend it to all of my students when we read the play during the school year.
I'm all for this series, not just for students. For anyone who wants to get into Shakespeare, it's great to have some help and not miss anything that is going on. I recommend reading Shakespeare's language first and then (when needed) the explanation (given side by side for every page). After a while you get used to the original language and you don't need the explanations as often. You'll feel comfortable enough with archaic words and phrases. For me Romeo and Juliet is at least as much a comedy as it is a tragedy. For the silly aspects of love - intoxication, unstable emotions, overly dramatic responses - R and J are a celebration and a parody.
Its a sweet book and very romantic. You dont want to put it down right aways. You just want to keep reading it to understand it.
boring, couldn't understand it
My English teacher had assigned us a project and I chose to read Romeo and Juliet. I'm glad I did because I really enjoyed this book! I love how this book contains the original text and the modern text side by side. It made it much easier for me to read and understand it better.
I bought the paper back at B n N love it helps so much