The Opening Line of Romeo & Juliet

A white Shakespeare book

The first line of Romeo & Juliet, perhaps William Shakespeare’s most famous play, reads:

Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona, where we lay our scene, from ancient grudge break to new mutiny, where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.

Shakespeare’s opening line in Romeo & Juliet sets the play’s scene in Verona. It describes the two families at the center of the story: the Capulets, 13-year-old Juliet’s family, and the Montagues, to whom Romeo, her love interest belongs. The two families are not big fans of each other, which is obvious from the first sentence of the play. Ultimately, this line dares to ask: will Romeo and Juliet’s love end the families’ grudge against each other?

Julia Quade
Julia is a Web Content Writer for The Stake, where she is responsible for researching current topics and writing reviews and relevant blog posts. In 2017, she earned a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia with an emphasis in Magazine Editing. She currently resides in St. Louis.