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Explain your response to the character of Juliet, exploring the ways in which Shakespeare presents her to the audience Essay

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Paper type: Essay

Shakespeare has created an infatuated, passionate and enthusiastic heroine in Juliet because she is a person that would do anything for her love, even take her own life, which she does, in the end of the play. I thought she was a good character but a bit too young to be talking and thinking about love and her character is a bit too soppy but I suppose they need a bit of soppiness seeing as though it is meant to be a romantic play.Romeo and Juliet was inspired by Brooke’s poem, which was about two feuding families. When the play opens Juliet is not yet fourteen. Boys and girls could make binding marriage contracts within that era. Juliet’s parents want her to marry count Paris but Juliet has not yet thought about marriage. But that all eventually changes when Romeo comes along.When Juliet first appears in Act1 scene 3 it is when the Capulet household are going have a party, first mentioned in Act1 scene 2. Her mother wants to talk to her about marriage. At this time she is willing to get married but she has not yet discovered her love for Romeo. The Capulets do not know that Juliet will fall in love with Romeo because the Montagues and Capulets are both enemies.The relationship that Juliet has with the Nurse is very strong because as you read further on in the play you will find that the Nurse cares more for Juliet that her own mother. The Nurse is always there for Juliet especially when it comes to the situation with Romeo. The Nurse always listens to Juliet and her problems and she keeps all her secrets when you would actually expect her to go and tell Juliet’s mother about Romeo especially because he is a Montague, an archrival.Capulet isn’t bothered about Juliet’s happiness he is more bothered about securing a dowry from Paris, which makes the audience immediately sympathetic towards her. Even though he calls Juliet ‘the hopeful lady of my earth’ meaning that he would let her choose her own husband. He later says ‘Get thee to the church o’ Thursday/Or never look at me in the face’. Lady Capulet only wants to talk about marriage otherwise she doesn’t even know Juliet’s age.Juliet and Romeo have such big differences in their lives apart from the fact that they are both from very rich families. Juliet hardly ever goes out anywhere apart from church for confession and is always stuck at home with her only friend the Nurse. Romeo has a big group of friends such as Mercutio and Benvolio and is always out and about. When Romeo and Juliet meet for the first time it is at the party Juliet is not at all worried about speaking to Romeo. Because she falls in love just by looking at him. Shakespeare portrays Juliet as a young but mature girl who handles her problems in a civilised manner. Romeo and Juliet both speak in such romantic language and Romeo is always comparing her to wonderful things and speaks really sweetly about her: ‘O that I were that glove upon her hand, That I might touch that cheek’.Juliet is upset when she finds out that Romeo has been banished she is also upset about the death of her cousin Tybalt. She waits for Romeo to come and see her. This changes her from an impatient child to a passionate woman she uses a lot of oxymorons and starts describing and combining ideas, which are opposite to each other e.g. ‘honourable villain’. This indicates her confusion to the audience. You wouldn’t think that a villain would be honourable. Juliet starts to talk about Romeo in a passionate way: ‘Give me my Romeo, and when I shall die, Take him and cut him out in little stars, and he will make the face of heaven so fine, That all the world will be in love with night’. This is quite a morbid image, which foreshadows the theme of fate to the audience.By this time her parents are talking about her marriage to Count Paris but Juliet does not let her parents know that she is already married only the Nurse knows that she has married Romeo. The Nurse tells Juliet that it is for the best if she marries Count Paris. Juliet gets very angry with the Nurse and doesn’t think that she can trust her anymore. Juliet replies in a sarcastic way. ‘Well thou hast comforted me marvellous much.’ Everyone including the Nurse (and in some ways Romeo) have both deserted her this makes the audience feel sympathetic towards her again.Juliet decides to go to Friar Lawrence for help and meets Count Paris there and cleverly deceives him through her wordplay ‘Come you to make confession to this father?”To answer that, I should confess to you’. The Friar gives Juliet a potion, which would make her look dead but from which she will awake after a certain amount of time. When Juliet gets back home she makes her peace with her father and tells her mother and the Nurse that she wishes to be left alone on the night before her wedding this is when she takes the potion before she does she says ‘Romeo! Romeo! Romeo! I drink to thee’. The audience fear for her in this scene because she is all alone and vulnerable.Juliet has a lot of soliloquies in the play in one of them she shows how much she fears that if Romeo comes to the tomb and thinks that she is dead he may take his own life. Juliet dies in a very lonely way because nobody is there Romeo is already dead. She has a tragic death and uses Romeo’s dagger to kill herself she thinks that there is no life left without Romeo. I think that this is probably the most emotional scene in the play because she shows her love for Romeo in an effective way through the language she uses.Shakespeare presents Juliet as an intelligent, mature, young girl. She forgets her family in the end just for Romeo. Shakespeare presents her as a strong and courageous person especially when she takes her life. Fate is against her that’s why this play is referred to as the story of ‘two star crossed lovers’. At least the feud is ended by her death, so perhaps it wasn’t all in vain.

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