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Capulets and Montagues: Synopsis

Like Shakespeare’s ROMEO AND JULIET, Lope de Vega’s THE CAPULETS AND MONTAGUES tells the tale of a love affair which is threatened by the conflict between two families. Roselo, a young Montague on the lookout for excitement, persuades his friends to enter a Capulet party in disguise. There, he meets the beautiful Julia Capulet, and the pair instantly fall in love – each being ignorant of the other’s identity. Julia invites him to meet her secretly in the garden; at the same time, hatching a crafty plan to deal with the unwelcome advances of her cousin, Ottavio.

When, in due course, the lovers learn of each other’s true identities, they decide to marry in secret. Disaster strikes, however, when Roselo finds himself embroiled in a dispute between the families, and is forced to kill Ottavio. Roselo is banished to Ferrara; meanwhile, Julia’s father makes plans for her to marry the wealthy Count of Paris. Roselo hears of this and is devastated, resolving to forget all about Julia and find a new bride in Ferrara.

When Julia discovers her father’s plans for her to marry, she becomes desperate and attempts suicide by drinking what she believes to be poison sent by the priest Aurelio. Unknown to Julia and her family, however, Aurelio’s potion is merely a sleeping draught, the effects of which will subside in two days’ time. Julia is laid in the family tomb, whilst word is sent to Roselo that he must hurry back to Verona in order to rescue her when she awakens.

Roselo arrives in the nick of time, and the pair are happily reuinted. Yet the enmity between the families remains. In a final twist, therefore, Julia appears to her father, pretending to be a ghost, and coerces him into accepting her marriage to Roselo. Having secured her father’s agreement, Julia then reveals herself to be alive, and her union with Roselo is duly recognised. Julia’s maid, Celia, marries Roselo’s servant, Marin, and the conflict between the families is finally resolved.

Harriet Mann