Timeline

Act 1

An ancient grudge

Two men fight with swords as another man tries to separate them with a stick.

Fighting on the streets in the 2004 production of Romeo and Juliet.

Photo by Peter Coombs Browse and license our images
Members of the Capulet and Montague households are caught fighting in the streets. The Prince proclaims to Lord Capulet and Lord Montague that ‘If ever you disturb our streets again, / Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace’.

Lord Capulet’s Ball

Lord Capulet in Edwardian dress.

Lord Capulet in the 2010 production of Romeo and Juliet.

Photo by Ellie Kurttz Browse and license our images
Paris asks Lord Capulet for Juliet’s hand in marriage but Lord Capulet feels she is too young. Lord Capulet decides to invite Paris to a ball instead so he can win Juliet over.

Juliet’s promise

Juliet with her nurse and mother.

Juliet with Lady Capulet and the Nurse in the 2008 production of Romeo and Juliet.

Photo by Ellie Kurttz Browse and license our images
Juliet promises her mother, Lady Capulet, and her nurse that she will ‘look to like’ Paris when she meets him at the ball.

Romeo offends Tybalt

Tybalt in black with red ribbons on his arm.

Tybalt in the 2006 production of Romeo and Juliet.

Photo by Ellie Kurttz Browse and license our images
Romeo and his friends go to the Capulet ball even though they are Montagues. Tybalt sees Romeo there and is so offended he vows to seek revenge, saying ‘but this intrusion shall / Now seeming sweet convert to bitter gall’.

Key Scene

Romeo and Juliet meet

Romeo and Juliet stare at each other lovingly

Romeo and Juliet meet in the 1958 production of Romeo and Juliet.

Photo by Angus McBean Browse and license our images
Romeo and Juliet meet at the ball and are instantly attracted to each other. They kiss each other but soon discover the other’s true identity, with Juliet declaring ‘my only love sprung from my only hate’.

Act 2

Key Scene

Romeo and Juliet swear their love

Romeo looks up to Juliet on the balcony.

Romeo and Juliet in the 1947 production of Romeo and Juliet.

Photo by Angus McBean Browse and license our images
Romeo hides in the Capulets' orchard to try and catch a glimpse of Juliet. He sees her at her window and listens while she talks about him. He reveals himself and tells her he feels the same. They declare their love for each other and talk about marriage.

Friar Laurence agrees to help

Friar Laurence in his cassock.

Friar Laurence in the 2004 production of Romeo and Juliet.

Photo by Peter Coombs Browse and license our images
Romeo visits Friar Laurence and asks the Friar to marry him and Juliet. At first Friar Laurence refuses but then thinks this may be a way to end the feud between the two families, saying ‘In one respect I'll thy assistant be; / For this alliance may so happy prove, / To turn your households' rancour to pure love’.

The Nurse visits Romeo

The nurse points an accusing finger at Romeo.

The Nurse and Romeo in the 1947 production of Romeo and Juliet.

Photo by Angus McBean Browse and license our images
The Nurse asks Romeo what his intentions are towards Juliet. He assures her they are honourable and that Juliet should visit Friar Laurence that very afternoon.

Arranging the Wedding

Juliet talks with the Nurse.

Juliet talks with the Nurse in the 2004 production of Romeo and Juliet.

Photo by Peter Coombs Browse and license our images
Juliet waits impatiently while the Nurse gives her the news about her marriage to Romeo.

Romeo and Juliet marry

Romeo and Juliet kiss after they marry.

Romeo and Juliet marry in the 2006 production of Romeo and Juliet. 

Photo by Ellie Kurttz Browse and license our images
Romeo and Juliet are married in secret. The Friar says ‘So smile the heavens upon this holy act’.

Act 3

Romeo murders Tybalt

Romeo stands over the dying Tybalt.

Romeo and Tybalt in the 2004 production of Romeo and Juliet. 

Photo by Peter Coombs Browse and license our images
A fight breaks out between Romeo's friend Mercutio and Tybalt but, when Romeo tries to stop it, Mercutio is stabbed and dies. He curses both the Capulet and Montague houses, saying ‘A plague o' both your houses!’. In revenge, Romeo kills Tybalt. As punishment, the Prince banishes Romeo from Verona.

Juliet forgives Romeo

The Nurse and Juliet hold hands in front of a white canopy.

The Nurse and Juliet in the 2006 production of Romeo and Juliet.

Photo by Ellie Kurttz Browse and license our images
Juliet waits for Romeo to join her but discovers he has killed Tybalt. At first she curses his name, saying ‘O serpent heart, hid with a flowering face!’, but soon realises she still loves him and wants to see him. The Nurse agrees to get him for her.

Romeo hides

Romeo sits backwards on a chair, looking melancholy.

Romeo in the 2008 production of Romeo and Juliet. 

Photo by Ellie Kurttz Browse and license our images
Romeo is hiding at Friar Laurence’s cell. He wishes he had been executed rather than banished as banishment means living without Juliet. The Nurse arrives and, with the Friar, convinces him to visit Juliet to consummate their marriage.

Paris proposes

Paris stands in an elaborate red tunic.

Paris in the 2004 production of Romeo and Juliet. 

Photo by Peter Coombs Browse and license our images
Paris asks Lord Capulet for Juliet’s hand in marriage again. This time he agrees and they set the wedding date for a few days' time.

Key Scene

Juliet disobeys Lord Capulet

 Juliet and Old Capulet.

 Juliet and Lord Capulet in the 2004 production of Romeo and Juliet.

Photo by Peter Coombs Browse and license our images
Romeo and Juliet say goodbye to each other and he leaves for Mantua. Juliet is then given the news about her marriage to Paris. When she refuses to marry, Lord Capulet threatens to disown her, calling her a ‘disobedient wretch’.

Act 4

Friar Laurence creates a plan

Friar Laurence and Juliet.

Friar Laurence and Juliet in the 1976 production of Romeo and Juliet. 

Photo by Reg Wilson Browse and license our images
Juliet tells Friar Laurence she will kill herself rather than marry Paris, saying ‘O, bid me leap, rather than marry Paris, / From off the battlements of yonder tower’. He gives her a potion that will make her appear dead. They plan for her to take it and be placed in the Capulet family tomb. Friar Laurence will send for Romeo and he can meet her there when she wakes up.

Juliet says sorry

Juliet embraces her father.

Lord Capulet and Juliet in the 2004 production of Romeo and Juliet.

Photo by Peter Coombs Browse and license our images
Juliet tells her father she is sorry for disobeying him and agrees to marry Paris. He is overjoyed and moves the date of the wedding forward.

Juliet fakes her death

Juliet in an elaborate white gown prepares to drink the poison

Juliet in the 2010 production of Romeo and Juliet. 

Photo by Ellie Kurttz Browse and license our images
Juliet takes the potion Friar Laurence gave her, saying ‘Farewell! God knows when we shall meet again’, and immediately falls down as if dead.

Juliet is taken to the tomb

The Nurse leans over Juliet's body.

The Nurse with Juliet in the 2006 production of Romeo and Juliet.

Photo by Ellie Kurttz Browse and license our images
Juliet’s body is discovered and, as planned, is taken to the tomb.

Act 5

Romeo buys poison

The apothecary holds up one of his potions.

The apothecary in the 2006 production of Romeo and Juliet. 

Photo by Ellie Kurttz Browse and license our images
While in Mantua, Romeo discovers that Juliet has died, exclaiming ‘I defy you, stars!’. He visits an apothecary who sells him some poison. Then Romeo travels back to Verona.

News of Romeo

Friar Laurence with his message for Romeo.

Friar Laurence in the 2004 production of Romeo and Juliet. 

Photo by Peter Coombs Browse and license our images
Friar John tells Friar Laurence that he was unable to give Romeo the message about Juliet’s death being fake as he was held up by the ‘searchers of the town’. Friar Laurence worries Romeo will hear the false news.

Key Scene

Romeo and Juliet die

 Juliet cradles the dead Romeo.

Juliet with Romeo in the 1961 production of Romeo and Juliet. 

Photo by Angus McBean Browse and license our images
Romeo goes to Juliet’s tomb where he disturbs Paris, who is mourning for her. They fight and Paris is killed. Romeo takes the poison and dies. Friar Laurence arrives and tries to get Juliet to leave with him but he is scared by a sound and leaves. She then kills herself with Romeo’s dagger.

The feud ends

Capulet and Montague united in grief over the bodies of their children.

The families make peace in the 1938 production of Romeo and Juliet. 

Photo by Ernest Daniels Browse and license our images
At the end of the play, the Friar tells the Prince, Lord and Lady Capulet, and Lord Montague what has happened. They agree to end the feud and honour Juliet with a ‘statue in pure gold’.

Teacher Notes

The following activity is a great way to explore the story of Romeo and Juliet with a group of students and begin to look at staging the play.

The story in 20 minutes

The activity can be found on page 3 with resources on pages 9-14. It takes approximately 40 minutes.

You can also ask students to create their own timelines of the play, physically arranging themselves in a line down the middle of the room or by creating their own versions as they work through the play.

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