Enter Prince, enter Capulets… (5.3.188-193)

                                    Enter the PRINCE [with others].

PRINCE                       What misadventure is so early up,

                                    That calls our person from our morning rest?

                                    Enter Capels [CAPULET, LADY CAPULET]

CAPULET                    What should it be that is so shrieked abroad?

LADY CAPULET         O, the people in the street cry ‘Romeo’,

                                    Some ‘Juliet’, and some ‘Paris’, and all run

                                    With open outcry toward our monument. (5.3.188-193)

Misadventure. A Prologue word: the misadventured piteous overthrows of the lovers. (The Captain used piteous a few lines previously, too.) A sign, perhaps, that the plot-summary of the Prologue is about to be recapitulated, as the evidence is pieced together and the story told, and the play comes to an end. In this scene, too, the public world of Verona (fair Verona, where we lay our scene) is going to be present once again, in the person of the Prince (especially if it were he who spoke the Prologue) and, in the Capulets’ lines here, in the evocation of the people in the street, caught up in a tragedy which has already somehow become public knowledge, and of common concern. (Like the feud.) The Capulets don’t have much to work with here, but the noisiness and busy-ness of what they describe – shrieking, open outcry, running – can also stand for their jumpiness, their fear, their pain – or perhaps be contrasted with their numbness, their incomprehension. (They have, we must remember, just buried their only daughter; they’re already in a terrible state.) Outside the tomb all is noise and activity; inside, silence and stillness. We know what’s happened, all of it; as yet, the people most involved, the families, have no idea.


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