Romeo and the Apothecary

  • Dominick M. Grace Algoma University College


Romeo and Juliet 5.1, the apothecary scene, makes at best a minimal contribution to the forward action of the play. If the apothecary's function is to be a plot device to provide Romeo with poison, why devote so much space to him? If we consider the scene as a whole, as a dramatic unit enhancing the structure of the play and clarifying Romeo's character development; if we consider the thematic links between the action here and elsewhere; and if we consider the casting of the apothecary, we can discover the importance of the scene. A key point is that the apothecary is linked to Friar Lawrence. The two characters function as foils and as thematic contrasts, serving to clarify our understanding of Romeo's actions.