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In Verona, Italy, during the Middle Ages, the feuding between the Capulet and Montague clans, which has been a tradition for many generations, continues when members of the Capulet family quarrel with the Montagues in the town square and engage in a sword fight. One day, Juliet, a Capulet, consents to meet Paris, whom her mother wishes her to marry, at a banquet. Meanwhile, Romeo, a Montague, who has been spurned by his love Rosaline, is advised by his friends, Mercutio and Benvolio, to seek another sweetheart and forget Rosaline. When Romeo receives an invitation to the Capulet ball, he decides to forgo the event, but changes his mind when he learns that Rosaline is expected to attend. At the party, Romeo's attentions turn away from Rosaline as soon as he takes notice of Juliet. Romeo and Juliet instantly fall in love and seal their love with a kiss. No sooner does Romeo find a new sweetheart, however, than he discovers that Juliet is a Capulet. When Juliet learns that Romeo is a Montague, she retires to her balcony, where she sadly contemplates her misfortune. Romeo, who has been hiding in the shadows of Juliet's garden, overhears her calling out his name and emerges to profess his love for her. Juliet then asks Romeo to marry her, and they agree to wed the next day. After arranging a clandestine wedding at Friar Laurence's cell, Romeo sends a message to Juliet by way of her nurse. At the same time, Tybalt, Lady Capulet's hotblooded nephew, becomes angry at Romeo's involvement with Juliet and challenges him to a duel. Romeo, however, is too much in love to respond to Tybalt's threats and decides not to fight. Mercutio, on the other hand, believes that Romeo has sacrificed his honor by not defending himself against Tybalt, and fights Tybalt himself. Mercutio is killed in the ensuing battle. When Romeo learns of Mercutio's death, he becomes incensed and demands a duel with Tybalt. Tybalt dies by Romeo's sword, and Romeo is forced to take refuge at Friar Laurence's cell, where he learns that a proclamation has been issued ordering his banishment. While waiting for Romeo to meet her at her balcony, Juliet is informed by her nurse of Tybalt's death and of Romeo's exile. Despite the tragic death of her cousin, Juliet proves her unwavering love for Romeo when she allows him onto her balcony for one last reunion. Following Romeo's hasty departure, Lady Capulet enters Juliet's room and believes that her daughter's tears are for Tybalt. When Juliet's mother sends her to speak with her father, he offers her no comfort and insists that she marry Paris. Juliet pleads with her father to reconsider his demand, but he threatens her with banishment if she refuses to abide by his order. Desperate, Juliet seeks the advice of Friar Laurence, who suggests that she take a potion that will make her appear dead for forty-two hours. Although the friar sends a message to Romeo informing him of Juliet's feigned death, the message is never delivered to him because the messenger, Friar John, is quarantined when he comes into contact with the pestilence. Meanwhile, as the Capulets prepare for Juliet's wedding banquet, Juliet's nurse discovers Juliet, apparently dead, and relates the news to her family. Romeo is devastated by the news of Juliet's death and decides to join Juliet in her grave. When Friar Laurence discovers that his message to Romeo was never delivered, he hastens to the Capulet family tomb to prevent Romeo's suicide. Just before he drinks a poisoned potion, Romeo is challenged by Paris to a sword fight, and Paris is slain. Friar Laurence arrives at the tomb moments after Romeo has taken his poison. When Juliet awakens, she learns of Romeo's suicide and, grief-stricken, stabs herself with Romeo's dagger. Following the tragic death of the "star-crossed lovers," the Capulets and the Montagues admit their complicity in the tragedy and at last end their feud.