On Wednesday morning, on a street in Mantua, a cheerful Romeo describes a wonderful dream he had the night before: Juliet found him lying dead, but she kissed him, and breathed new life into his body. Just then, Balthasar enters, and Romeo greets him happily, saying that Balthasar must have come from Verona with news of Juliet and his father. Romeo comments that nothing can be ill in the world if Juliet is well. Balthasar replies that nothing can be ill, then, for Juliet is well: she is in heaven, found dead that morning at her home. Thunderstruck, Romeo cries out “Then I defy you, stars” (5.1.24).
He tells Balthasar to get him pen and paper (with which he writes a letter for Balthasar to give to Montague) and to hire horses, and says that he will return to Verona that night. Balthasar says that Romeo seems so distraught that he is afraid to leave him, but Romeo insists. Romeo suddenly stops and asks if Balthasar is carrying a letter from Friar Lawrence. Balthasar says he is not, and Romeo sends his servant on his way. Once Balthasar is gone, Romeo says that he will lie with Juliet that night. He goes to find an apothecary, a seller of drugs. After telling the man in the shop that he looks poor, Romeo offers to pay him well for a vial of poison. The Apothecary says that he has just such a thing, but that selling poison in Mantua carries the death sentence. Romeo replies that the Apothecary is too poor to refuse the sale. The Apothecary finally relents and sells Romeo the poison. Once alone, Romeo speaks to the vial, declaring that he will go to Juliet’s tomb and kill himself.
Summary: Act 5, scene 2
At his cell, Friar Lawrence speaks with Friar John, whom he had earlier sent to Mantua with a letter for Romeo. He asks John how Romeo responded to his letter (which described the plan involving Juliet’s false death). Friar John replies that he was unable to deliver the letter because he was shut up in a quarantined house due to an outbreak of plague. Friar...