What is the denouement of "Romeo and Juliet"?


Quick Answer

The denouement in William Shakespeare's play, "Romeo and Juliet," occurs after the two lovers take their lives. Another aspect of the denouement transpires when their feuding families agree to stop feuding.

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Full Answer

"Denouement" is a French word that means to untie or unwind, and it occurs at the end of this drama. Shakespeare's play is complicated, with Romeo and Juliet facing many obstacles to be together. Their obstacles make the denouement more powerful because the audience wants to see the couple together. Their biggest obstacle is their families, which have been feuding for years.

Once Romeo and Juliet believe they have formulated a plan to be together, a lack of communication trips them up. Tension and chaos lead up to the denouement, which adds the to total effect of the play's conclusion. After Romeo finds Juliet unresponsive in the tomb, he takes his life. When Juliet wakes up and finds Romeo dead, she commits suicide. The denouement is abrupt and tragic.

This play is a classic example of how a complicated plot is resolved within just a few minutes. While the audience feels the sorrow of Romeo and Juliet's failure to work things to their advantage, it also finds some relief when the families finally agree to get along.

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