These early scenes reveal Romeo and Juliet’s characters, and introduce the themes of love, sex, and marriage that dominate the remainder of the play.
The incident which sets the plot in motion is Romeo’s decision to attend the Capulets’ party.
Over the course of the play the lovers’ powerful desires directly clash with their families’ equally powerful hatred of each other.
Initially, we may expect that the lovers will prove the unifying force that unites the families.
She believes that love can liberate them both from their families: “be but sworn my love / And I’ll no longer be a Capulet” (2.2.).
In the next scene we meet Friar Lawrence, who reminds us that however good something seems, it can never be entirely untainted by evil: “Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied” (2.3).At dawn, both Romeo and Juliet try to believe that morning hasn’t come, since the new day brings nothing but grief: “More light and light, more dark and dark our woes” (3.5).In the final scenes, Romeo and Juliet are more trapped than ever.By going to the Capulets’ home, Romeo is also temporarily ignoring his social role as a Montague who must feud with the Capulets.Unfortunately, Tybalt sees Romeo’s presence as an “intrusion” and swears revenge: “this intrusion shall, / Now seeming sweet, convert to bitt’rest gall” (1.5.).Romeo is also expected to be excited by the feud with the Capulets, but Romeo finds the feud as miserable as his love: “O brawling love, O loving hate” (1.1.).When we meet Juliet she is in her bedroom, physically trapped between her Nurse and her mother.This decision is Romeo’s first attempt to free himself from the role that confines him.Benvolio has advised him to get over Rosaline by checking out other women.Romeo and Juliet begin the play trapped by their social roles.Romeo is a young man who is expected to chase women, but he has chosen Rosaline, who has sworn to remain a virgin.