In Verona another street brawl breaks out between the feuding Montague and Capulet clans. Local ruler Princess Escalus warns the families that this long standing quarrel must end.
Romeo, son to Lord and Lady Montague, tells his cousin Benvolia about his love for Rosaline, who wants nothing to do with him. Hearing that she’s been invited to a party given by the Capulets, Romeo also decides to go in disguise, accompanied by Benvolia and their friend Mercutio.
Meanwhile Count Paris is keen to marry young Juliet Capulet and her father is equally keen to let him. Juliet agrees to do whatever her parents want.
At the party Romeo is spotted by Tybalt, a belligerent Capulet cousin, but Lord Capulet orders him not to fight. Romeo meanwhile has spotted Juliet and she him. It’s love at first sight despite the hatred between their families.
After the party, Romeo’s friends search for him, but he needs to be close to Juliet. Concealed underneath her balcony he hears her speak of her love for him and then declares his love for her. They vow to be married as soon as possible.
Romeo persuades his mentor Friar Lawrence to perform the marriage ceremony. The Friar is unsure but hopes it will end the Montague-Capulet feud. Juliet’s Nurse arranges with Romeo how and where the two lovers should meet. They go to Friar Lawrence’s house and are married in secret.
Mercutio and Benvolia are accosted in the street by Tybalt. Romeo arrives, but refuses to accept Tybalt’s challenge to fight – they are now related by marriage, though of course Romeo can’t say that. Mercutio is mystified and angered by Romeo’s refusal to act with honour and challenges Tybalt himself. When Romeo intervenes, Mercutio is wounded by Tybalt and dies. Romeo then kills Tybalt and flees. Princess Escalus pronounces a sentence of banishment or death on Romeo.
When Juliet hears the news she is distraught. Romeo himself would rather die than never see her again. The Nurse and Friar Lawrence arrange for the secret newlyweds to spend one night together before Romeo leaves for his banishment in Mantua.
Next day Juliet’s parents tell her she’s going to marry Paris and are appalled by her refusal. Of course she can’t tell them why. Juliet concocts a plan with Friar Lawrence. She will take a potion that will make her seem dead. Once placed in the family crypt, Romeo will come to her and they can run away together. It’s essential that a message telling Romeo about the plan gets to him.
Juliet takes the potion and is buried in the crypt. However Friar Lawrence’s message fails to reach Romeo. Instead he receives news from his friend Balthasar that Juliet is dead. Romeo buys some poison and travels to Verona with the intention of killing himself on Juliet’s tomb. There he fights with and kills Paris, before taking the poison and dying. Juliet wakes up, sees Romeo’s body and kills
When the dead lovers are discovered, Friar Lawrence confesses all. The Montague and Capulet families see the terrible outcome of their quarrel. They vow to set up statues to Romeo and Juliet and end the feud forever.