Romeo and Juliet | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Act 5, Scene 2

Professor Regina Buccola of Roosevelt University provides in-depth summary and analysis of Act 5, Scene 2 of William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet.

Romeo and Juliet | Act 5, Scene 2 | Summary



Back in Friar Lawrence's cell, Friar John reports that he was unable to deliver Friar Lawrence's letter to Romeo, having been quarantined in a house suspected of an infectious disease. Friar Lawrence realizes that Romeo will not be at Juliet's side to greet her when she wakes up. He says, "neglecting it [the letter]/May do much danger," and says of Juliet, "Poor living [corpse], closed in a dead man's tomb!" He sends Friar John for a crowbar to pry open the tomb.


The "unhappy fortune" that kept Friar Lawrence's letter from reaching Romeo advances the plot and further spikes the suspense. However, Friar Lawrence's response may seem odd, not as urgent as the audience might expect given the impulsive nature of both the young lovers. He expresses no fear that Juliet might kill herself if she finds herself alone, even though she has previously threatened suicide in his presence. He seems as worried that she will scold him as she will feel terrified. This reaction does not show the friar in a good light. Further, the possibility that Romeo might hear the false news of Juliet's death does not appear to occur to him at all.

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