We begin the play by knowing the end of the story. This anomaly is interesting to people who wish to look deeper. [7]– Whose misadventured piteous overthrows (C) [10]- And the continuance of their parents’ rage, (F) The word “overthrows” refers to a lesser-known definition of the word. ” A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life, In Shakespeare’s time, this also meant a story was thrilling to the audience. [5] From forth the fatal loins of these two foes (C), [6] A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life, (D), [7] Whose misadventured piteous overthrows (C), [8] Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife. do with their death bury their parents' strife. There are no exceptions. Its meaning is somewhat ambiguous. From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, So when we read “naught could remove” it means “nothing could remove.”. Note the perfect iambic pentameter of this line: Two HOUSE/ holds BOTH / a LIKE / in DIG /ni TY. (D). Their death will cause the Montagues and Capulets to finally end their feud. “What here shall miss” means: What has not been said here in this prologue. Perhaps Shakespeare was too sophisticated to go along with the established science of his time. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life; Whose misadventured piteous overthrows Do with their death bury their parents' strife. When the lovers die, the Montagues and Capulets finally stop fighting. An old grudge and simmering resentment between the two families will burst into new violence. The rhyme scheme, as you may note, is ABAB, and all lines are in iambic pentameter. It’s called ‘astrology.’ It was medieaval science – not just a medieaval science but the medieaval science, a compulsory subject in schools and universities. Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. We know that the audience does more than listen, but Shakespeare chooses to use the word ears, implying that listening to the words will be important. The two households referred to here are the Capulets and Montagues. To make things easier, the prologue is repeated in full again at the end of the analysis. These two things are examples of the poetic use of language in this prologue. Note how the lines have been broken up to show the meter: [1] Two house / holds, both / alike / in dig / nity (A), [2] (In fair / Vero / na, where / we lay / our scene), (B), [3] From an /cient grudge / break to / new mu / tiny, (A), [4] Where ci / vil blood / makes ci / vil hands / unclean. Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage— “Fearful passage” is a poetic way of saying the progress of their love is full of fear. Also think of the image created by hands being unclean and stained with blood. But, it begins by telling us that the story will include the continuing anger between the families. This line is the introduction to the play, preparing the audience to get ready and pay attention. Whose misadventured piteous overthrows So what Romeo is saying is that he is completely at the mercy of Fate. In general, Shakespeare’s plays were much longer than two hours. The very first scene of the play (the one that follows this prologue) is a brawl that starts because of some harsh words between the servants of both families. This line simply makes clear that the setting of the play will be in Italy, not England. When Juliet discovers Romeo’s body Friar Lawrence is with her. And the audiences were not disappointed, as poor Romeo and Juliet experience one piece of bad luck after another. “Take their life” means, on the surface, that these two children gain life from their mothers. Both families are equally high in rank within the city of Verona. What it says is: only the death of the children could take away the rage. “Two hours traffic” means that for the next two hours, the performers will come and go onstage to enact the story. When the lovers die, they are buried. Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. 3 From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, 4 Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. The local clergyman, Friar Laurence, is responsible for the well-being of his parishioners. [8]– Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife. build interest about what happens in the story. Which line from the prologue of Romeo and Juliet reveals the ending of the play? Referring to them as “fatal” implies immediately that the outcome may be deadly for the child or parent. Essays on Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet and others. [14]- What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend. However, since we know that both Romeo and Juliet commit suicide, the phrase “take their life” has a double meaning that foreshadows later events. Then, we move on to a translation and explanation of each line individually. Being star-crossed they didn’t have a chance. “Attend” means to pay attention. [13]- The which, if you with patient ears attend, (G) From forth the fatal loins of these two foes 5 . The play will tell the whole story, if the audience will watch closely. What we don’t know is HOW that end will come about. [6]– A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life, (D) They both connive in the marriage of these two teenagers, knowing that any such thing would be strictly forbidden by their parents. Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. © 2004 – 2020 No Sweat Digital Ltd. 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[9]– The fearful passage of their death-marked love (E) The complete meaning, then, is: The continuing feud between the Montagues and Capulets will only be ended because of the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. The violence of the fighting between these families puts blood on the hands of civilians. ‘Star crossed lovers’ is a phrase from Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet that has become particularly well known.

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