Romeo and Juliet Characters, Themes, and Symbols

the nurse Capulet servant and friend to Juliet who brings messages to and from Romeo.
Capulet Juliet’s father, who demands Juliet marry the man of his choice.
Lady Capulet Juliet’s mother who wishes Juliet to marry well.
Juliet Young daughter of the wealthy Capulet family.
Tybalt Juliet’s cousin, who has a temper. He kills Mercutio, and is killed by Romeo.
Paris Juliet’s suitor and friend to the Capulets.
The Prince The governor of the city of Verona, who banishes Romeo for killing Tybalt.
Friar Lawrence A monk who secretly marries Romeo and Juliet and hatches the plan for them to escape together.
Friar John A monk who is unable to deliver the message to Romeo that Juliet is dead.
Montague Romeo’s father.
Lady Montague Romeo’s mother who dies of grief after hearing Romeo was banished from Verona.
Romeo Son of the wealthy Montague family.
Apothecary Sells poison to Romeo for him to drink at Juliet’s tomb.
Benvolio Romeo’s friend who tries to make peace.
Mercutio The Prince’s cousin and friend to Romeo. Killed by Tybalt.
The Forcefulness of Love In Romeo and Juliet, love is a violent, ecstatic, overpowering force that supersedes all other values, loyalties, and emotions. In the course of the play, the young lovers are driven to defy their entire social world: families, friends and ruler. The feeling of affection is stronger than animosity, falling in love too fast puts the length of the relationship in jeopardy, and the strong and dangerous power of love influences irrational and out of character decisions
The Individual Versus Society Much of Romeo and Juliet involves the lovers’ struggles against public and social institutions that either explicitly or implicitly oppose the existence of their love. Such structures range from the concrete to the abstract: families and the placement of familial power in the father; law and the desire for public order; religion; and the social importance placed on masculine honor.
The Inevitability of Fate The mechanism of fate works in all of the events surrounding the lovers: the feud between their families (it is worth noting that this hatred is never explained; rather, the reader must accept it as an undeniable aspect of the world of the play); the horrible series of accidents that ruin Friar Lawrence’s seemingly well-intentioned plans at the end of the play; and the tragic timing of Romeo’s suicide and Juliet’s awakening. These events are not mere coincidences, but rather manifestations of fate that help bring about the unavoidable outcome of the young lovers’ deaths.
Light/Dark Imagery Light and dark are generally used to provide a sensory contrast and to hint at opposed alternatives.
Posion Friar Lawrence remarks that every plant, herb, and stone has its own special properties, and that nothing exists in nature that cannot be put to both good and bad uses. Thus, this is not intrinsically evil, but is instead a natural substance made lethal by human hands. This symbolizes human society’s tendency to poison good things and make them fatal, just as the pointless Capulet-Montague feud turns Romeo and Juliet’s love to poison.
Queen Mab Mercutio delivers a dazzling speech about this fairy who rides through the night on her tiny wagon bringing dreams to sleepers. The dreams she brings generally do not bring out the best sides of the dreamers, but instead serve to confirm them in whatever vices they are addicted to—for example, greed, violence, or lust. The fairy and her carriage do not merely symbolize the dreams of sleepers, they also symbolize the power of waking fantasies, daydreams, and desires.
Peter A Capulet servant who invites guests to Capulet’s feast and escorts the Nurse to meet with Romeo. He is illiterate, and a bad singer.
Rosaline The woman with whom Romeo is infatuated at the beginning of the play. She never appears onstage, but it is said by other characters that she is very beautiful and has sworn to live a life of chastity.