One of the main themes in the play Romeo and Juliet is that of the generation gap between the young and the old. The younger generation have new and innovative ways of doing things, whilst the older generation tend to stick with the traditions they have grown up with. The misunderstanding between the younger and older characters in the play causes many of the dilemmas that the characters face.At the beginning of the play Lord Capulet (also referred to as Capulet) seems an honourable and welcoming character, who is willing to keep the peace between the house of Montague and of his own.
When confronted at the start of the play by his son Tybalt about Romeo’s gate-crashing of the Capulet’s house party he shows a warm and welcoming attitude towards him and says “Verona brags of him to be a virtuous and well governed youth”, this is a peculiar thing for a Capulet to say about a Montague as there is such a high level of hatred between the two families.
Capulet cares tremendously about his daughter Juliet and only wants what is best for her. As all of Capulet’s children have died and Juliet is the only child remaining he is mildly overprotective of her. For example when he is speaking to Paris about marrying Juliet he says ‘And too soon married……all my hopes but she’.Throughout the play Juliet faces a variety of emotional challenges; this ensures a young and naï¿½ve Juliet has to mature above her age in a short period of time.
These obstacles include her marriage to Romeo and her relationship with her father Capulet. In Act 1 Scene 2 Capulet says to his daughter ‘My child is yet a stranger in the world’. This supports the idea that she is naï¿½ve and immature in the first half of the play. At the start of the play her language is normal and the fact she does not have much antithesis. As the play progresses her language intensifies and we see a humble, outgoing and responsible character that seems very different person to the Juliet earlier on in the play.Another key feature of the play is the “Ancient grudge”. This ultimately leads to the death of the star crossed lovers. The younger generation do not understand the danger the hatred between the two houses can put them in. Romeo and Juliet could die if someone as much saw them together in the play. Romeo and Juliet overcome this dilemma as they are willing to risk their lives for the love they have for each other. Shakespeare’s play contains a great deal of dramatic irony, this gives the play a feeling of suspense as the two characters could get caught at any time. Just after the first fight scene in the play Lady Capulet says to Capulet “A crutch, a crutch”. Lady Capulet is implying that Capulet is too old to fight in a younger generation’s battle. This is yet another example of age vs youth.Many people would say that another major role in the outcome of the play is the urgency for Romeo and Juliet. In the Jacobean times that average life expectancy would be around the age of 35 and therefore you can see why Capulet is eager to marry off Juliet since she is at an age where she can bear children. We know this as Lady Capulet says “She’s not fourteen”. Although Lady Capulet is very strict and unforgiving throughout the play I believe that she cares immensely for her daughter and only wants a successful and happy marriage for her. When she mistakes Juliet’s tears as grief for Tybalt’s death at hands of Romeo she promises vengeance for his death by poisoning Romeo in Mantua “We will have vengeance for it, fear thou not: Then weep no more. I’ll send one to Mantua.Act 3 Scene 5 is where Capulet’s relationship with Juliet is broadly illustrated. At the start of the scene Lady Capulet enters her daughter’s room and puts forward the proposition of a marriage between her and Paris. “Marry my child early next Thursday morn the gallant….county Paris…shall happily make thee there a joyful bride.” Juliet dismisses this offer without a thought of how much this marriage means to the Capulet household. Capulet then enters the room and is greeted by Juliet’s refusal to marry Paris.Lord Capulet then unleashes a flurry of hurtful outbursts which include “If you do not go to Church on Thursday…hang, beg, starve, die in the streets for by my soul I will never acknowledge thee”. This is a very hurtful and malicious to make his only remaining child and daughter Juliet is only trying to tell her father that she is not in love with Paris and won’t marry him. We can make the assumption that Capulet thinks that Juliet is being ungrateful and rebellious by dismissing her fathers offer for her to marry Paris.Juliet also shows that she is an understanding and honourable character at various stages throughout the play both to her family and to people such as Romeo and the Nurse. One of these examples is in Act 4 Scene 1 where Juliet remains loyal and honourable to Romeo despite her conversation with Friar Lawrence about the arranged marriage to Paris and that of her committing suicide when she says “And I will….wife to my sweet love” where she is talking about faking her own death just so she can be Romeo’s unstained wife.Juliet’s character goes through several life changing scenarios in one period of time that you would expect to encounter in a lifetime. This leads me to my conclusion where I can say that Juliet as a character shows great courage, maturity and self-awareness throughout the play. This statement could not be presented in a better example than that of Juliet faking her own death just so she can spend the rest of her life with her true love Romeo. Out of the characters among the play Romeo and Juliet, Juliet stands out as the true survivor although she died as she has overcome so many impediments and yet still matured and matured until she reached the point where she put her love before her well being and sacrificed her life, friends and family to be with her one true love Romeo.