Jule Romans is a retired English teacher and college instructor. She has taught Shakespeare and advanced literature because that over 25 years.

You are watching: From ancient grudge break to new mutiny

If you room struggling come make feeling of the prologue to Romeo and Juliet, try this comfortable line-by-line analysis. We start very first with the prologue in that entirety and also a quick summary of the facts. Then, we move on come a translation and also explanation of every line individually.

The Prologue to Romeo and Juliet

Two households, both alike in dignity(In same Verona, wherein we lay our scene),From old grudge rest to brand-new mutiny,Where polite blood provides civil hands unclean.From forth the deadly loins the these two foesA pair the star-crossed lovers take their life,Whose misadventured piteous overthrowsDoth v their death bury their parents' strife.The fear passage of their death-marked loveAnd the keep going of your parents' rage,Which, however their children’s end, naught could remove,Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage—The which, if you v patient ears attend,What below shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.

Summary of the Romeo and also Juliet Prologue

The prologue come Romeo and Juliet is a sonnet v 14 present of iambic pentameter in one ABAB CDCD EFEF GG rhyme scheme.It to adjust the scene because that the play by hinting at most of the action to come.the first stanza defines the setting and straightforward conflict that the play.The second stanza defines the young lovers and also their dilemma.The third stanza tells just how the family feud will certainly finally end in tragedy, and explains the emphasis of the play.The last 2 lines repeat the audience the there is much more to come as soon as the pat is plot onstage.

Julet feigns death

Frederic Leighton , via Wikimedia Commons

Two households, both alike in dignity

(In same Verona, where we lay our scene),

From old grudge rest to brand-new mutiny,

Where civil blood renders civil hands unclean.

Romeo and Juliet Prologue Analysis: an initial Stanza, luck Scheme

Rhyme Scheme and Iambic Pentameter

The luck scheme, together you might note, is ABAB, and also all lines space in iambic pentameter. Note exactly how the lines have been broken up to display the meter:

<1> two house / holds, both / alike / in dig / nity (A)

<2> (In fair / Vero / na, where / we lay / our scene), (B)

<3> native an /cient grudge / break to / brand-new mu / tiny, (A)

<4> wherein ci / vil blood / makes ci / vil hands / unclean. (B)

Review Iambic pentameter and also Romeo and also Juliet sonnets.

Two high-class family members have been fighting for years in the city that Verona, Italy. Castle are quickly to come to be embroiled in violence again. Your old grudges will certainly erupt in bloodshed and stain their hands.

Two households, both alike in dignity

Two families, both same respected

Note the perfect iambic pentameter that this line: 2 HOUSE/ holds BOTH / a choose / in destruction /ni TY. The two family members referred to here are the Capulets and also Montagues.

This line "Two households..." has actually its own detailed interpretation the can help you much better understand Romeo and also Juliet.

The Montagues and The Capulets

Both households are same high in rank in ~ the city of Verona. Remember that in the time period of the play, a "household" might include extended family, friends, and also servants. So, the two families could consist of a big part of the populace of a smaller sized town.

(In fair Verona, where we lay our scene),

In the satisfied city that Verona, whereby this play will certainly take place

Verona is in north Italy. The play is intended to take ar in the 14th or 15th century. That would be about 100 years in the past, to Shakespeare's audience.

This line just makes clear that the setting of the play will certainly be in Italy, not England.

From old grudge break to new mutiny,

An old grudge and also simmering resentment between the two family members will to explode into new violence.

The Capulets and Montagues have a long-standing feud that affects everyone in town. Also their servants hate each other. Despite this feud has not erupted in violence for awhile, it will soon carry out so.

The very very first scene the the pat (the one that complies with this prologue) is a brawl the starts since of some harsh words between the servants of both families.

Where polite blood provides civil hands unclean.

The violence of the fighting between these households puts blood on the hand of civilians.

The Montagues and Capulets acquire blood on your hands, when they have to really be staying clear of this type of low-class brawl.

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A double Meaning

Consider the beat on words right here with the two offers of words "civil." also though lock are an alleged to be "civil" or seemly, decent, and well-behaved families, no soldiers, castle still burned blood and are guilty that violence.