What Happens at the End of “Romeo and Juliet”?

Benjamin West / Public domain/CC-BY-SA 3.0

At the end of William Shakespeare’s play “Romeo and Juliet,” both Romeo and Juliet commit suicide in tragic circumstances. Just before being married to Paris, an arranged suitor, Juliet’s lifeless body is discovered and placed in the Capulet family tomb. Romeo hears of her death and goes to Verona with the intent of killing himself and dying with her.

In the Capulet family tomb, Romeo encounters Paris. They fight each other and Romeo kills Paris. After Paris dies, Romeo weeps over Juliet’s body, who unbeknownst to Romeo, is actually just unconscious. Juliet faked her death to avoid having to marry Paris. Romeo, however, was unaware of Juliet’s plan because the message she sent wasn’t able to get to him in time. Instead, Romeo only heard that Juliet had died, so he intends to die at her side in a symbolic act of eternal love.

Romeo consumes his poison and dies, however, Juliet soon stirs awake and discovers Romeo dead at her side. The friar, who had performed the marriage of Romeo and Juliet earlier in the play, pleads with Juliet to escape with him. Juliet refuses and stabs herself with Romeo’s dagger, dying as well. At the very end, the two warring families, the Montagues and Capulets, join together in peace to mourn the deaths of their young and beloved Romeo and Juliet.