Juliet Capulet's daughter. She is presented as a young and innocent adolescent, not yet 14 years old. Her youthfulness is stressed throughout the play to illustrate her progression from adolescence to maturity and to emphasize her position as a tragic heroine. Juliet's love for Romeo gives her the strength and courage to defy her parents and face death twice.
Romeo Montague's son, who is loved and respected in Verona. He is initially presented as a comic lover, with his inflated declarations of love for Rosaline. After meeting Juliet, he abandons his tendency to be a traditional, fashionable lover, and his language becomes intense, reflecting his genuine passion for Juliet. By avenging Mercutio's death, he sets in motion a chain of tragic events that culminate in suicide when he mistakenly believes Juliet to be dead.
Mercutio Kinsman to the prince and friend of Romeo. His name comes from the word mercury, the element which indicates his quick temper. Mercutio is bawdy, talkative, and tries to tease Romeo out of his melancholy frame of mind. He accepts Tybalt's challenge to defend Romeo's honor and is killed, thus precipitating Romeo's enraged reaction during which Romeo kills Tybalt.
Tybalt Lady Capulet's nephew and Juliet's cousin. Tybalt is violent and hot-tempered, with a strong sense of honor. He challenges Romeo to a duel in response to Romeo's attending a Capulet party. His challenge to Romeo is taken up by Mercutio, whom Tybalt kills. Romeo then kills Tybalt.
The Nurse Juliet's nursemaid, who acts as confidante and messenger for Romeo and Juliet. Like Mercutio, the Nurse loves to talk and reminisce, and her attitude toward love is bawdy. The Nurse is loving and affectionate toward Juliet, but compromises her position of trust when she advises Juliet to forget Romeo and comply with her parents' wishes and marry Paris.
Friar Laurence A brother of the Franciscan order and Romeo's confessor, who advises both Romeo and Juliet. The Friar agrees to marry the couple in secret in the hope that marriage will restore peace between their families. His plans to reunite Juliet with Romeo are thwarted by the influence of fate. The Friar concocts the potion plot through which Juliet appears dead for 42 hours in order to avoid marrying Paris. At the end of the play, the Prince recognizes the Friar's good intentions.
Capulet Juliet's father is quick-tempered and impetuous but is initially reluctant to consent to Juliet's marriage with Paris because Juliet is so young. Later, he changes his mind and angrily demands that Juliet obey his wishes. The deaths of Romeo and Juliet reconcile Capulet and Montague.
Paris A noble young kinsman to the Prince. Paris is well-mannered and attractive and hopes to marry Juliet. Romeo fights and kills Paris at the Capulet tomb when Paris thinks that Romeo has come to desecrate the bodes of Tybalt and Juliet.
Benvolio Montague's nephew and friend of Romeo and Mercutio. Benvolio is the peacemaker who attempts to keep peace between Tybalt and Mercutio. After the deaths of Mercutio and Tybalt, Benvolio acts as a Chorus, explaining how events took place.
Lady Capulet Lady Capulet is vengeful and she demands Romeo's death for killing Tybalt. In her relationship with Juliet, she is cold and distant, expecting Juliet to obey her father and marry Paris.
Montague Romeo's father, who is concerned by his son's melancholy behavior.
Balthasar Romeo's servant. He brings Romeo the news in Mantua that Juliet is dead.
An Apothecary A poverty-stricken chemist, who illegally sells poison to Romeo.
Escalus, Prince of Verona The symbol of law and order in Verona, but he fails to prevent further outbreaks of the violence between the Montagues and Capulets. Only the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, rather than the authority of the prince, restore peace.
Friar John A brother of the Franciscan order, sent by Friar Laurence to tell Romeo of his sleeping potion plan for Juliet. The Friar is prevented from getting to Mantua and the message does not reach Romeo.
Lady Montague In contrast with Lady Capulet, Lady Montague is peace-loving and dislikes the violence of the feud. Like her husband, she is concerned by her son's withdrawn and secretive behavior. The news of Romeo's banishment breaks her heart, and she dies of grief.
Peter A Capulet servant attending the Nurse.
Abram A servant to Montague.
Sampson Servant of the Capulet household.
Gregory Servant of the Capulet household.