Romeo and Juliet is set in Verona, Italy. Two prominent families, the Montagues and the Capulets, are in the midst of a longstanding feud.
The play begins with a street brawl between the Montagues and Capulets. We meet Benvolio, a diplomatic Montague, and Tybalt, a fiery, fight-loving Capulet. The brawl ends when the Prince arrives and declares that any further fighting will result in death.
The brawlers disperse, and Romeo arrives. Romeo is an affected youth, full of passion and longing. When the play begins, Romeo is desperately in love with a girl named Rosaline. Romeo insists that he will never love another. He hasn't met Juliet yet.
That night, the Capulets are having a party, and Romeo and a few other Montagues decide to attend. This is where Romeo and Juliet first see each other, and it is a classic case of love at first sight.
The party ends and everyone leaves, everyone except Romeo who sneaks back into the Capulet gardens to spy on Juliet.
Romeo finds Juliet standing on her balcony ruminating aloud about her love for Romeo and the injustice of him being a Montague (her family's ancient enemy).
When Romeo pops out the two teenagers declare their mutual love and decide to get married.
The next morning Romeo convinces Friar Lawrence to perform the ceremony, and that evening Romeo and Juliet are married.
The very next day, Tybalt challenges Romeo to a duel because he is angry that Romeo crashed the Capulet Party. Romeo refuses to fight (because Tybalt, unbeknownst to him, is Romeo's cousin.
Mercutio is disgusted by Romeo's "calm, dishonourable, vile submission," and he challenges Tybalt.
Tybalt and Mercutio then fight and Mercutio is killed when Romeo gets between the combatants and tries to break up the fight.
In his ensuing rage, Romeo then kills Tybalt.
Romeo is banished and flees to Mantua with the aid of Friar Lawrence.
Juliet's parents decide she must marry Paris, a young nobleman. Juliet's father tells her that if she doesn't marry Paris, she will be thrown out.
Desperate, Juliet goes to Friar Lawrence for help. He conceives a plan to unite her and Romeo. Juliet is to drink a special concoction that will make her appear dead. Her family will place her body in the Capulet tomb, where Romeo will then find her following directions the Friar will give him.
Juliet agrees to the plan, and that night she drinks the potion. Her nurse finds her in the morning, apparently dead. Her body is brought to the tomb.
Balthasar, a friend of' Romeo's, happens to see Juliet's body being interned. He races to Mantua to tell Romeo.
Romeo is supposed to know of the plan, but the Friar's message doesn't reach him. When he learns of Juliet's death he goes straight to the tomb intent on killing himself so he can be with her.
He lays beside her and drinks a vile of poison just before Juliet wakes up. When she finds her beloved Romeo dead beside her, Juliet stabs herself and dies.
When the tragedy is discovered and the families learn of the love
between Romeo and Juliet, they pledge to end the ancient feud and
live in peace.
This is an original, complete summary of Romeo and Juliet. Please feel free to use it to make sure you and/or your students have a good hold on the events in the play.
But remember, nothing is a substitute for The Complete Unit Plan, which comes with everything you need to teach Romeo and Juliet from start to finish.