The play opens with a prologue that highlights to the audience the conflict between the two families: the Montagues and the Capulets. It is described to be an 'ancient grudge'. The families' servants have an argument, which quickly turns into something more violent and draws the families into the conflict. Romeo's cousin, Benvolio, and Juliet's cousin, the fiery Tybalt, get involved in the fray. The heads of the families, Capulet and Montague, also get involved but are quickly stopped when Prince Escalus arrives and puts a stop to the brawling. He declares that anybody fighting on the streets of Verona will be killed. He hopes to put a stop to the fighting and have peace in his city once again.
Mercutio, Romeo's best friend, decides it would be a good idea to gatecrash a Capulet party. Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio (Romeo's cousin) all go and have a good time. Whilst dancing, Romeo meets Juliet and is struck by her beauty. He speaks with her and they kiss, declaring their love for one another. As he leaves, Romeo asks Juliet's nurse for Juliet's name. The nurse tells him and he is shocked to discover they are sworn enemies and that she is the daughter of Capulet. Juliet feels the same way about Romeo when she discovers his real identity. Romeo sneaks into the Capulet mansion where he meets Juliet and they decide to get married. The next day, Friar Laurence marries Romeo and Juliet in secret. He secretly hopes that it will end the conflict.