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Romeo is filled with guilt and outrage at his friend's death, and he runs, furious, to catch Tybalt. It's a battle of life and death, and Romeo wins. But as soon as Tybalt is dead, Romeo realizes the rashness of his act. "I am fortune's fool!" he cries as his friends hurry him off the streets into hiding.
Juliet is excitedly getting ready for her wedding night when her nurse brings her the bad news: her cousin Tybalt is dead, and Prince Escalus has banished Romeo from Verona. The girl is overcome by grief-for Tybalt, but mostly for her new husband. The Nurse finally tells her that Romeo is hiding in the Friar's cell. Some of Juliet's joy returns as they arrange for one stolen night of love before Romeo has to flee Verona.
Unfortunately, things go from bad to worse. Lord Capulet feels terrible about his family's grief over Tybalt-and Juliet seems to be more upset than anyone else. He quickly arranges something he thinks will make everyone feel better-Juliet's marriage, that very week, to Paris. Even as Lady Capulet comes to bring that news to Juliet on Tuesday morning, Juliet and Romeo are saying their heartbroken farewells.
What can Juliet do? Her desperate refusals to marry Paris infuriate her parents. Her father threatens to disown her if she doesn't obey. Even her nurse, who knows the situation, suggests it might be best to marry the Count. With nowhere else to turn, Juliet runs to Friar Lawrence.
Their only hope is a risky plan. The friar gives Juliet a drug that will stop her breath and make her seem dead for 42 hours. During this time he will send for Romeo in Mantua, and Romeo and the Friar will be in the tomb when she wakes up. Romeo will take her away with him, and the friar will try to calm everyone down, and announce their marriage so they can come back to live in Verona. Juliet eagerly takes the drink.
The next morning, when the Nurse comes to prepare Juliet for her wedding, she finds the seemingly lifeless girl. The Capulets' day of joy turns to sorrow, as their only daughter's wedding turns into her funeral instead.
Friar Lawrence has sent a message to Romeo, but unfortunately, the message-bearer is quarantined by the plague. Romeo's servant, Balthasar, is the first to reach Romeo, and he tells him the sad news that Juliet is dead. Romeo, beside himself with grief, buys poison and rides full-speed toward the Capulets' tomb. He arrives to find Paris mourning for Juliet, and when Paris refuses to let Romeo pass, the two men fight, and Romeo kills Paris.
The Count's last request is to be buried with Juliet, and Romeo grants his wish. Inside the tomb, Romeo begs forgiveness of the newly dead Tybalt, but his attention is at once arrested by Juliet. He can't believe how beautiful she still is, and he vows to stay with his new bride eternally. He swallows the poison, and quickly dies.
Friar Lawrence hurries to the tomb to be there when Juliet wakes up. When he arrives, he finds Paris and Romeo dead. Juliet awakens just as Paris' servant is bringing the watchmen. She sees her dead lover, and refuses to leave the tomb, although Friar Lawrence panics and runs away. Juliet hears people coming, so she acts quickly: she grabs Romeo's dagger and stabs herself.
The tragic deaths of their two children unite the Capulets and Montagues in grief. The prince admonishes that "heaven finds means to kill your joys with love." In death, rather than in life, the two lovers have brought peace to their families.