Verona, Italy, is the site of a long-standing feud between two rivaling high houses: the Montagues and the Capulets. One summer day, servants from each house get into a street brawl with one another. Benvolio, of House Montague, tries to stop the fighting, but is forced to defend himself when Tybalt, of House Capulet, joins the fray. The fighting is stopped when Prince Escalus intervenes, condemning the ongoing violence between the two families and declaring that any further breach of the peace would be punishable by death.
In the house of Capulet, a count named Paris reaches out to Lord Capulet to ask for the hand of his daughter, Juliet, in marriage. Lord Capulet doesn't feel ready to wed off Juliet, but nonetheless invites Paris to attend a ball that he would be holding while Lady Capulet and the family's nurse discuss the matter with Juliet. Meanwhile, Romeo, the heir of the house of Montague, has fallen into despair over the fact that his affections for a young maiden, Rosaline, are doomed to go unrequited. Benvolio and Mercutio, a friend of Romeo and a member of nobility, convinces him to take his mind off of his troubles by attending the Capulets' ball.
Romeo sneaks into the ball, where he meets Juliet. The two fall in love with each other at first sight, drawing the ire of Tybalt who would kill Romeo on the spot if not for Lord Capulet's insistence on not shedding blood in his house. While the two coming from feuding families presents a notable obstacle, the two nonetheless agree to marry in secret the following day with the help of Friar Laurence, who hopes that their union would help to pave the way for peace between the Montagues and Capulets.
After the secret wedding, however, Tybalt confronts Romeo and challenges him to a duel. Mercutio stands up for Romeo and accepts Tybalt's challenge, the two dueling until Romeo attempts to stop the fighting. Romeo's intervention gives Tybalt an opening to land a deadly blow with his sword, with Mercutio cursing the Montagues and Capulets with his dying breath. Enraged, Romeo confronts Tybalt and challenges him. In the fight that erupts, Romeo kills Tybalt. Romeo flees afterwards in the moments before the Prince and members of both houses come upon the scene of the fight that broke out. The Capulets cry out for Romeo's blood, declaring that he must die for Tybalt's murder. The Montagues argue for clemency, since Tybalt would've been executed for killing Mercutio in any event. The Prince, now having lost a member of his family to the Montagues and Capulets' feud, renders his sentence; Romeo is to be exiled from Verona under punishment of death.
Romeo is crestfallen at his sentence, wishing he could've been executed instead of having to live the rest of his life apart from Juliet. Friar Laurence, however, has a plan to reunite them. He lets Romeo sneak into the Capulet estate so he may spend the night with Juliet and consummate their union before taking his leave. Juliet is, herself, distraught at being separated from Romeo. Lord Capulet, misinterpreting Juliet's grief as being for her cousin Tybalt, agrees to betroth Juliet to Paris. This news leaves Juliet even more distraught, but Lord Capulet would not tolerate any reluctance from his daughter and issues an ultimatum; accept Paris's hand in marriage, or be disowned.
Juliet visits Friar Laurence in the hope that he could remedy her predicament. He has an idea, thankfully; he provides Juliet with a potion that would place her in a deathlike slumber for forty-two hours. While she was unconscious, he would send word to Romeo of the plot and reunite them, so they may leave together in secret and live the rest of their lives together away from Verona. As per the plan, Juliet takes the potion and is subsequently laid to rest in the Capulet family crypt.
Unfortunately, Laurence's messenger doesn't reach Romeo in time; a servant of the Montague family, Balthasar, relays news of Juliet's death to Romeo first. Utterly heartbroken, Romeo purchases a deadly poison from an apothecary, then makes his way back to Verona in the dead of night to see Juliet one last time before taking his life. He encounters Paris in the Capulet crypt, who had come to mourn Juliet in private, and the two fight. Romeo slays Paris, then uncovers Juliet's crypt and, believing Juliet dead, drinks the poison he brought and ends his life. Juliet awakens moments afterwards and sees Romeo's body. Bereft of all hope, Juliet takes Romeo's dagger and stabs herself.
The families of both Montague and Capulet, along with the prince, discover Romeo, Juliet, and Paris dead in the crypt. With their children lost as a result of their feud, the two families reconcile their differences and end the violence between them...
...for never was there a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.