Plays first originated in ancient Greece. Aristotle was one of the first to write about drama and describe its three segments: beginning, middle, and end. Over time, dramas evolved, the Roman poet, Horace advocated for five acts, and many centuries later, a German playwright, Gustav Freytag, developed the five-act structure commonly used today to analyze classical and Shakespearean dramas. The pattern of this five-act structure can be seen in the familiar plot diagram.
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The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is about two star-crossed lovers from feuding families, who take their own lives. Through a series of unfortunate events, fate and chance turn against the lovers. Romeo, a Montague, and Juliet, a Capulet, marry in secret, but are soon separated. The two die tragically in one of the most famous examples of dramatic irony.
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Five Act Structure - Romeo and Juliet text summary
ACT 1: PROLOGUE
ACT 2: RISING ACTION
O, speak again, bright angel, for thou art as glorious to this night, being o'er my head, as is a winged messenger of heaven!
ACT 3: CLIMAX
It's just a scratch...
ACT 4: FALLING ACTION
ACT 5: DENOUEMENT
I feel personally responsible...I married them hoping it would end the fighting.
"In fair Verona...a pair of star-crossed lovers take their life. The fearful passage of their death marked love and the continuance of their parents' rage, which led to their children's deaths. "
Romeo and Juliet fall in love but cannot be together because their families do not like each other. They decide to get married in secret.
After crashing the Capulet party, Tybalt goes after the Montague crew and kills Mercutio. To avenge his friend, Romeo duels with and kills Tybalt - Juliet's cousin. Romeo is banished, but before he goes he gives Juliet a proper wedding night!
Juliet's father requests that she marries Count Paris. However, to escape a second wedding she and Friar Lawrence concoct a plan to make it appear as if she dies. By taking a sleeping potion!
Being the only person who knows the whole story, the Friar explains it to the families, who decided to finally end their grudge.