Singular scion and successor of the House of Montague and protagonist of the film, Romeo is a handsome, sensitive, and quick-witted young man. Despite being a generally likeable character, he also possesses a headstrong, imprudent streak making him prone to making rash decisions, especially when his emotions are stirred up.
The only daughter of Lord and Lady Capulet, a naïve, sheltered young woman who gives little thought to romance and marriage, but matures quickly upon falling in love with Romeo. She, like her lover, also possesses an impulsive streak that ultimately leads to her death.
Juliet’s nanny and ersatz mother. A maudlin character that provides comic relief with her brash remarks and motherly warmth, she provides a contrast for Juliet’s idealized overly emotional view of love. The Nurse looks at love as more pragmatic, earthy, and ultimately, sexual matter whereas Juliet’s outlook is romantic and exceedingly passionate.
Juliet’s maternal cousin, a conceited, stylish nobleman, typical of his day. He is acutely aware and careful to follow social protocols but quickly forgets all these whenever the Montagues, all of whom he hates with a passion, come into the picture. He shows aggression if he feels slighted. His fearsome reputation as the best, most agile swordsman has earned him the moniker “Prince of Cats.”
A kindly Franciscan friar who befriends Romeo and Juliet and secretly weds the passionate lovers, hoping that the union might eventually end their clan’s feud. Friar Lawrence is also an expert herbalist, able to concoct potions through the use of rare and mysterious herbs. The potion Juliet used to simulate death was his creation.
Romeo’s best friend and perhaps one of the most dynamic characters in the film, Mercutio is quick-witted and possesses a stinging sarcastic sense of humor. Mercutio loves banter and tends to pepper his speech with bawdy double entendres. Like his friend Romeo, he too is passionate to a fault and can be quite hotheaded when the right buttons are pushed.
Lord Montague’s nephew, cousin to Romeo and levelheaded counterweight to everyone passionate; he makes an authentic effort to play the peacemaker during tense situations, even when Tybalt accuses him of cowardice. His involvement in the film is mostly limited to trying to convince Romeo to get his mind off Rosaline.
The suitor preferred by Lord Capulet for his daughter, Juliet. He becomes overconfident and presumptuous in his dealings with the Capulets when he is told that he can marry Juliet. He carries on as if he has already married into the family.
The Prince of Verona, and head of political power in the city, his main concern is keeping the public peace—a near impossibility given the constant fighting between the two noble houses, which causes widespread riots that must be put down with force.
Patriarch of Clan Capulet, husband of Lady Capulet, father of Juliet, and dire enemy of the Montague Clan, he truly loves his daughter, and wants genuinely what is best for her. Lord Capulet is a commanding presence, and he demands esteem and decorum, but he, much like his daughter, is also a creature of great passion and likely to fly into a rage when he feels slighted.
Juliet’s incompetent and emotionally distant mother and Lord Capulet’s long-suffering wife, she is completely reliant on the Nurse to provide for her daughter’s ethical development and practical needs. She is eager to see her daughter marry Paris to ensure her financial stability.
Head of the Montague clan, bitter enemy of Capulets, father to Romeo and husband to the exceedingly patient Lady Montague. Despite his age, he is still a brawler and rascal at heart, being more than willing to cross blades with their hated rivals. As father, he is predominantly troubled with Romeo’s melancholy and romantic preoccupation with Rosaline.
Lord Montague’s tolerant wife and Romeo’s mother. She tries her best to keep her hotheaded husband out of harm’s way.
A fellow friar from the Franciscan order tasked by Friar Lawrence with reporting news of Juliet’s staged death to Romeo in Mantua; tragically, he is delayed and Romeo never receives the intended message, which triggers a series of heartbreaking events.
Romeo’s faithful retainer and bearer of bad news, completely oblivious of the fact that Juliet’s death is an artifice organized by Juliet herself and Friar Lawrence to allow the ill-fated lovers to pursue a new life together.
Sampson and Gregory
Two retainers of Clan Capulet that share the irrational hate for the Montagues as their masters do. They successfully goad some Montague men into a sword fight which Benvolio tries in vain to break up.
One of Lord Montague’s servants; he is provoked into drawing his sword to fight Sampson and Gregory in the first scene of the film.
A Capulet performer who sings a moving ballad that foreshadows the tragedy that is to befall the unfortunate lovers of the two noble houses.
Romeo and Juliet (Film 1968) Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Romeo and Juliet (Film 1968) is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.