Romeo and Juliet is set in Verona, Italy, where there is an ongoing feud between the Montague and Capulet families. The play opens with servants from both houses engaged in a street brawl that eventually draws in the family patriarchs and the city officials, including Prince Escalus. The Prince ends the conflict by issuing a decree that prohibits any further fighting at the risk of great punishment.
Meanwhile, Romeo, a young man from the Montague house, laments his unrequited love for a woman named Rosaline, who has vowed to remain chaste for the rest of her life. Romeo and his friend Benvolio happen to stumble across a Capulet servant, Peter, who is trying to read a list of invitees to a masked party at the Capulet house that evening. Romeo helps Peter read the list and decides to attend the party because Rosaline will be there. He plans to wear a mask so that he will nobody will recognize him as a Montague.
Romeo arrives at the Capulets' party in costume. He falls in love with young Juliet Capulet from the moment he sees her. However, Juliet's cousin Tybalt recognizes Romeo and wants to kill him on the spot. Lord Capulet intervenes, insisting that Tybalt not disturb the party because it will anger the Prince. Undeterred, Romeo quietly approaches Juliet and confesses his love for her. After exchanging loving words, they kiss.
Afterwards, Juliet's Nurse tells Romeo that Juliet is a Capulet, which upsets the smitten youngster. Meanwhile, Juliet is similarly distraught when she finds out that Romeo is a Montague. Later that night, Romeo climbs the garden wall into Juliet's garden. Juliet emerges on her balcony and speaks her private thoughts out loud. She wishes Romeo could shed his name and marry her. Upon hearing her confession, Romeo appears and tells Juliet that he loves her. She warns him to be true in his love, and he swears by his own self that he will be. Before they part, they agree that Juliet will send her Nurse to meet Romeo at...