Jule Romans is a retired English teacher and college instructor. She has actually taught Shakespeare and advanced literature for over 25 years.

You are watching: The two families in romeo and juliet


Are you examining Shakespeare's Romeo and also Juliet in school? have actually you heard this heat somewhere, but you don't quite understand what it means?

Follow in addition to this explanation to discover the deeper meaning of the very first line the the prologue to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

Explanation that "Two Households, Both Alike in Dignity"

What Does

Two Households, Both Alike in Dignity


This renowned line appears in the prologue come Shakespeare's Romeo and also Juliet. These are the very first words spoken on stage. The words "two households, both alike in dignity" refer to the Montagues and also the Capulets- 2 noble families in the fictitious city that Verona.

Shakespeare supplies the prologue to carry out a complete summary of the activity that is to come. Laying groundwork for that action, he claims that there room two noble households that exist, and that both room of equal standing.

Two households


two families.

The definition of family is broad, and includes servants and friends in enhancement to family members members. The is why words "household" is used.

The idea that this larger group was common and familiar come Shakespeare's playgoers. That is expected to encompass servants and friends. The mix of family, friends, and servants creates a team which is recognized as a household.

Both alike in dignity


Both family members have same high status

In Shakespeare's Romeo and also Juliet, both the Montague and also Capulets space dignified, noble families. They both have a great deal of money. Lock both organize high standing in Verona, where the beat takes place. Their condition is equal. One family is not greater than the other.

This is important due to the fact that the two wealthy and an effective families hate each other intensely. The conflict, i m sorry is developed later in the play, will at some point involve servants and friends and family members.


Servants native the Capulet family members "bite the thumb" come taunt the Montagues

Sir john Gilbert , via Wikimedia Commons

know the definition of "Two Households, Both Alike in Dignity"

The very first Line in the Prologue to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

This line is the very an initial line the the prologue Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Its an interpretation is far-reaching to the play since it sets up the conflict in between two very respected families. That dispute ultimately leads to tragedy for the 2 young lovers that are recorded up in the strife.

This line introduces the important concepts of "household" and "dignity" in the paper definition of the play. It also lays the groundwork for expertise the Montague and Capulet families.

In this article, we will job-related together to very closely examine this famous line from one of Shakespeare's 3 best-known plays. Us will consider the Montagues, the Capulets, and also the elevator of the conflict between the two families. As component of this discussion, we will likewise take keep in mind of the importance of wealth and standing in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.


Friar Laurence, Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet

Sir man Gilbert via Wikimedia Commons

Two households, both alike in dignity,

In fair Verona where we lay ours scene-

— Prologue to Romeo and also Juliet

"Two Households, Both Alike in Dignity" Analysis

First, we started with the basic summary, i m sorry is likely to be enough for most casual readers. This explained the simple idea the the 2 households and also their status. However, there is much more an interpretation buried in ~ this line.

Next, us will consider the more complicated concepts concepts of "household" and also "dignity" in the paper definition of the play. This conversation may be useful for those who space studying the prologue the Romeo and Juliet in much more depth.

Understanding the depth Meaning

In bespeak to far better understand the deeper definition behind the line "two family members both alike in dignity," it will certainly be important to additionally consider:

The principle of "household" and also how it uses to the 2 warring family members of Montague and also Capulet.The principle of "dignity" and also why that is vital part the the problem in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

For extr discussion, readers deserve to refer come a line-by-line evaluation of the prologue come Romeo and also Juliet. This will help to explain how the line fits in the paper definition of the prologue come Romeo and also Juliet.

Reader Response


Juliet and also her nurse

Sir john Gilbert , via Wikimedia Commons

The meaning of "Two Households" in Romeo and Juliet

Households Are extended Families

In Shakespeare's plays, there room are many principles related to home and also family life that might seem unfamiliar to modern-day readers. Shakespeare composed his dram in the late 1500s. This tie framework is known as the reconstruction Period, or 16th century, in England. At the time, the social structure was entirely various than it is today.

During that time, family members was among the most vital social units. Groups of individuals were connected by your blood relations and close associations in ~ the home.

Some family members were smaller, v fewer members and less gaue won power. Other households grew large and powerful, acquiring influence together they enhanced in size. Both groups can be described as "households" due to the fact that their primary center was the home.

Smaller families Had under Resources

Smaller families might include parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and also a couple of cousins. This smaller households held very small property. A home might be made up of one tiny dwelling v a small land, and perhaps some livestock or other beneficial items. There can be a couple of servants or girlfriend who mutual their land and also resources.

The entire group the people, property, and valuables were linked under one large category. That category became known together a household. For smaller sized families, the household was not very complex.

Larger families Gained an ext Power

Larger families can include many more members, including associations through marriage and a huge network the servants or helpers. Some families were huge enough that they would additionally include doctors, priests, tailors, and also even military guards. Every one of these human being would be taken into consideration a component of the extended family. Likewise, every one of their property, valuables, and also even their youngsters became component of the home unit.

These expanded groups could contain thousands of members and quite a little of wealth. Members of the group can fill several different dwellings and maintain tremendous amounts of property. This complex, powerful group of human being would additionally be well-known as a household. In this case, the surname of the family would be the name of the key or most powerful family in ~ the center of the network.

This form of larger household would bring a an excellent deal that power and also have an excellent influence in any town.

Two powerful Households in Romeo and Juliet

In summary, the ide of household refers to a facility network of people and also property all gathered under a solitary family name.This concept is crucial to understanding the dispute in Shakespeare's Romeo and also Juliet.

In Romeo and Juliet, the Montagues and the Capulets are both very big households v a good deal of affect in the fictional town of Verona. Since the two an effective households room in conflict, almost every person in the city is influenced by your feud. This includes servants, friends, and extended relatives.

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The conflict between the 2 households causes the many tragic events of the play, and is responsible for lot death and suffering on both sides.