Romeo and Juliet


Act 5

Act V: Scene 1

Romeo dreams about Juliet that evening. The dream is a disturbing one: He dreams that Juliet finds him dead, but that she is able to revive him with her kisses. Romeo, however, views the dream in a positive light. He believes that the dream is descriptive of their love and its power to transcend mere life in death. Of course, Romeo’s dream foreshadows events that will occur later: Juliet will find him dead, but she will not be able to revive him with kisses. It is then that his servant Balthasar comes to him with tragic news: Juliet is dead. Surprisingly, Romeo does not react in the rash and reckless manner that has come to characterize his behavior in the play. He does intend to kill himself, but the decision is better planned than his other decisions; rather than kill himself with one of his weapons, he visits an apothecary and procures poison so that he can drink it.

Romeo’s visit to the Apothecary is one of the more interesting scenes in the play. It is illegal for the Apothecary to sell the poison that Romeo is seeking. However, the man’s poverty is apparent; he appears literally to be starving. He knows that Romeo intends to kill someone with the poison, though whether the Apothecary believes the poison is intended for Romeo or for a third party is unclear. It is a crime regardless, and although the Apothecary understands that Romeo has an ill intent for the poison, he still sells him the poison.

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