Romeo and Juliet Character List

- The son of Montague and Lady Montague. A young man of about sixteen, Romeo is handsome, intelligent, and sensitive. At first sight, he falls in love with Juliet, the daughter of his family's archenemy, Capulet. Though he is capable of the most intense love, Romeo is no mere pretty-boy: he proves himself to be a fine swordsman in the course of the play. He is related to Benvolio and great friends with Mercutio and Friar Laurence.

Juliet - The daughter of Capulet and Lady Capulet. A beautiful thirteen-year-old girl, Juliet begins the play as a naïve child who has thought little about love and marriage. She grows up quickly, though upon falling in love with Romeo, the son of her family's great enemy. Though she loves Romeo as profoundly as he loves her, Juliet nevertheless demonstrates a more level and sober head than does her love. Until a falling out near the end of the play, the Nurse is Juliet's closest, and, it seems, only confidant and friend.

Friar Lawrence - A Franciscan monk, friend to both Romeo and Juliet. Kind, civic-minded, an advocate of moderation, and always ready with a plan. Friar Laurence secretly marries the impassioned lovers in hopes that the union might eventually bring peace to Verona. Though a Catholic monk, Friar Laurence is also, oddly, an expert in the use of mystical potions and herbs.

Mercutio - A kinsman to the Prince, and Romeo's close friend. One of the most extraordinary characters in all of Shakespeare's plays, Mercutio overflows with imagination, wit, and, at times, a strange, biting satire and brooding. Mercutio loves wordplay, especially sexual double entendres. He can be quite hotheaded, and hates those who are fashionable and polite for social acceptance. He finds Romeo's romanticized ideas about love tiresome.

The Nurse - Juliet's nurse, a vulgar, long-winded, and sometimes sentimental woman, she is more than just Juliet's confidant. In many ways, she is her mother. The Nurse not only raised Juliet but suckled her as well (I.iii.19–21 and I.iii.70). Until a disagreement near the play's end, the Nurse is a faithful intermediary in Juliet's affair with Romeo. She appreciates a handsome face, a courteous gesture, and the occasional swig of aqua vitae.

Tybalt - A Capulet, Juliet's cousin on her mother's side. Vain, fashionable, supremely aware of courtesy and the lack of it, he becomes aggressive, violent, and quick to draw his sword when he feels his pride has been injured. Once drawn, his sword is something to be feared. He loathes Montagues.

Capulet - The patriarch of the Capulet family, father of Juliet, husband of Lady Capulet, and enemy, for unexplained reasons, of the Montagues. He truly loves his daughter, though he is not well acquainted with Juliet's thoughts or feelings, and seems to think that what is best for her is a "good" match with Paris. Often prudent, he commands respect and propriety, but he is liable to fly into a rage when either is lacking.

Lady Capulet - Juliet's mother, Capulet's wife. A woman who herself married young (by her own estimation she gave birth to Juliet at around fourteen), she is eager to see her daughter marry Paris. She is an ineffectual mother, relying on the Nurse for moral and practical support.

Montague - Romeo's father, the patriarch of the Montague clan and bitter enemy of the Capulets. Montague is a not major figure in the play. He is concerned about Romeo's melancholy at the beginning of the play.

Lady Montague - Romeo's mother, Montague's wife. She dies of grief after Romeo is exiled from Verona.

Paris - A kinsman of the Prince, and the suitor of Juliet most preferred by Capulet. Though a trifle arrogant (being one of the best looking men in Verona), Paris seems intelligent and kind. He has deep feelings for Juliet. Even so, he lacks the passion that animates Romeo.

Benvolio - Montague's nephew, Romeo's cousin and thoughtful friend, he holds a genuine distaste for violence in public places. He spends most of the play trying to help Romeo get his mind off Rosaline, even after Romeo has fallen in love with Juliet.

Prince Escalus - The Prince of Verona. A kinsman of Mercutio and Paris. As the seat of political power in Verona, he is concerned about maintaining the public peace at all costs.

Friar John - A Franciscan friar charged by Friar Laurence with taking the news of Juliet's false death to Romeo in Mantua. Friar John is held up, and the message never reaches Romeo.

Rosaline - The woman with whom Romeo is infatuated at the beginning of the play. Rosaline never appears onstage, but it is said by other characters that she is very beautiful and has sworn to live a life of chastity.

The Chorus - The Chorus is a single character who, as developed in Greek drama, functions as society’s voice of reason.

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