Romeo Montague is the son of Lord and Lady Montague. Romeo falls in love with Juliet Capulet, and secretly marries her. Juliet fakes her death to rid herself of a parental marriage arrangement with Count Paris. Romeo is not aware of the fake death. He believes Juliet is truly dead and kills himself. Leonardo DiCaprio, Leonard Whiting and Leslie Howard have played Romeo in movie adaptations of the play. Romeo is also a character in opera and ballet adaptions of the play.
Juliet Capulet is barely a young adult when she meets and falls in love with a family enemy, Romeo Montague. The two marry secretly. When Juliet's parents arrange a marriage for Juliet with Count Paris, she takes a potion that will make her appear to be dead. Her body is taken to a crypt. She later comes back to life. When she discovers Romeo has killed himself, she kills herself. Norma Shearer and Olivia Hussey have played Juliet in the movies. The play was adapted to opera and ballet. Rudolph Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn have danced the "star-crossed lovers" in the ballet adaptation.
Friar Laurence is an old clergyman who secretly marries Romeo and Juliet. Juliet's fake death is his idea. He is unable to prevent Romeo from killing himself.
Juliet's Nurse is about 28 years old. She has a well known speech in which she recalls Juliet's babyhood.
Mercutio is a young man and friend to Romeo. When Romeo declines to participate in a duel with a family enemy, Mercutio takes Romeo's place and is killed as Romeo tries to end the duel. Mercutio is a talkative young man. His most famous speech is the Queen Mab speech.