Romeo and Juliet Act IV

Contributor: Melissa Kowalski. Lesson ID: 11335

In this world-and-time-shrinking age of instant communication, writing letters seems outmoded. What would Romeo and Juliet say if they were writing today? Learn verbal irony, then write that letter!


Literary Studies

learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


With Romeo banished from Verona and Juliet being forced into a marriage with Paris, what is to become of Romeo and Juliet's marriage? Read Act IV to find out!

statue of Juliet in Italy

In Act III, you saw Romeo and Juliet's tragic first day as a married couple.

Only hours after secretly marrying Juliet, Romeo kills Juliet's cousin, Tybalt, in a duel after Tybalt killed Romeo's kinsman, Mercutio. As a result, the Prince of Verona banished Romeo from the city. Romeo was able to sneak onto the Capulet's property to spend the night with Juliet, his new wife, but he had to leave before dawn to flee to Mantua, a nearby city, to begin his exile. Meanwhile, Juliet's parents informed her that she would be marrying Paris on Thursday. Why then does Juliet say she can only trust Friar Lawrence, the man who is going to perform the wedding ceremony to Paris?

What a mess!

Before reading Act IV, it is necessary to define some vocabulary from the scene, because Shakespeare was known for using a wide vocabulary in his plays. Using the following list, look up each word in a dictionary and write down the definition. You can use or another dictionary of your choice. After writing the definitions for the vocabulary used in Act IV, write a sentence for each word, using it correctly within the sentence's context. Once you have finished the definitions and the sentences, have your teacher or parent check the sentences to see if each word is used correctly.

Act IV Vocabulary
















After your parent or teacher has checked your sentences, it is time to begin reading Act IV. I recommend you use the following version of Romeo and Juliet, because it is a revised version that normalizes the spelling of words and includes line numbers. You can also use another version of the text as long as it is the complete, full text. The recommended text is:

The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet from the Folger Shakespeare Library

Remember to read the act aloud so you can hear the dialogue, rather than just reading it silently.

To help inspire your reading, watch the following Romeo and Juliet ⋅ Act 4 Scene 3 ⋅ Juliet's Poison Monologue clip from Act IV, Scene 3 of Romeo and Juliet. It is performed by the Shakespeare at Play acting troupe. If you prefer to follow along with the text, the clip begins on line 16 in Scene 3:


Once you've finished reading Act IV, move on to the Got It? section to check your comprehension of this act.

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