In Verona, the Montague and Capulet families are enemies, and have been for longer than anyone can remember. The Prince decrees that the violence between these two proud households must end—under penalty of death. Life in Verona goes on. For sport, the young Montague men decide to crash Lord Capulet’s party. Romeo, Montague’s only son, sees Capulet’s daughter Juliet there, and the two fall in love. The next morning, Friar Laurence agrees to wed the young couple, hoping that this marriage will put an end at last to their families’ endless discord. Sending word by Juliet’s Nurse the next morning, Romeo arranges their marriage that same afternoon at Friar Laurence’s cell. Their secret vows made, Romeo is confronted in the street by Juliet’s cousin Tybalt, who is enraged by the Montague’s intrusion the night before. Romeo refuses to engage in a fight, and instead it is Mercutio who accepts Tybalt’s challenge. As Romeo attempts to break the two apart, Tybalt stabs Mercutio with a fatal blow. Romeo turns on his new kinsman, murdering him. The Capulets demand Romeo’s death, but the Prince chooses to banish the young Montague from Verona.
Early the next morning, Romeo and Juliet part from one another. Moments later, Lady Capulet enters her daughter’s room to bring news: Juliet’s marriage to Count Paris is all arranged. Juliet begs her parents to reconsider, but her pleas are met with rage. When her Nurse advises Juliet to forget Romeo, the young bride seeks out the Friar’s counsel. His plan is a desperate one: Juliet must take an herbal potion that induces a deathlike trance. Once she is buried in the Capulet tomb, the Friar will send word to Romeo to rescue his bride, returning with her to Mantua until their two families can be reconciled. But the Friar’s letter never reaches Romeo, who hears instead of his love’s death.
Armed with poison, he approaches the Capulet tomb. Holding Juliet’s lifeless body, Romeo takes the poison. Moments later as Juliet awakens from the potion’s trance, she looks upon her husband and refuses to leave with the desperate Friar. With Romeo’s dagger, she takes her life. Too late to save their own children, the Montagues and Capulets vow to end their hatred.