As day breaks in Verona, Romeo, son of Montague, is found declaring his love to the fair Rosaline. With the sunrise the market place fills with townspeople among whom are members of two rival families, the Capulets and the Montagues. Tempers flare and a quarrel develops. The Duke of Verona appears and warns the two factions that death will be the ultimate punishment if the feud does not stop. Romeo and his friends Benvolio and Mercutio make reluctant peace with Tybalt, a kinsman of the Capulets.
Juliet receives her first ball dress from her mother, Lady Capulet, and learns that she is to meet the nobleman Paris to whom she will be betrothed on the following day. Now she must bid farewell to her childhood.
Guests arrive at the Capulets’ ball, among them Rosaline. Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio, masked, follow her to the ball.
Juliet is introduced to the guests and to Paris. While dancing with Paris, she and Romeo behold one another. It is love at first sight. Tybalt, nephew of Lady Capulet, suspects Romeo’s identity and tries to incite a quarrel, but is prevented from doing so by Juliet’s father who abides by the laws of hospitality.
On the balcony outside her bedroom Juliet dreams of Romeo. He appears below in the garden. They declare their eternal love.
A carnival is in progress in the town square. Romeo, daydreaming, is indifferent to the gaiety around him. Juliet’s nurse brings him a letter from Juliet asking him to meet her in the chapel of Friar Laurence.
In his cloister, Friar Laurence joins the young lovers in marriage.
At the height of the carnival, Romeo returns from his wedding to the square. Tybalt accosts him, but Romeo declines to fight. Mercutio, angered, engages in a duel with Tybalt, and dies at his hands. Romeo, stunned and distraught, turns on Tybalt and kills him.
In Juliet’s bedroom the lovers are awakened by the sunrise, and Romeo, who has been banished by the Duke, must leave Verona. Lord and Lady Capulet enter with Paris, but Juliet rejects him.
Scene 2Juliet, appealing for help to Friar Laurence, receives a potion from him that will place her in a death-like sleep. He explains that Romeo will find her in the family tomb and from there they can escape together.
Juliet’s parents return and Juliet pretends to agree to the marriage with Paris. Left alone, Juliet takes the sleeping potion and is thought to be dead when her family and friends discover her, on what was to have been her wedding day.
Romeo, who has not received Friar Laurence’s message revealing the plan, believes Juliet to be dead and rushes to her tomb. There he finds the mourning Paris and kills him. Embracing Juliet for the last time, he plunges his dagger into his heart. Juliet awakens to find Romeo dead. Grief-stricken, she kills herself.