The play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is one of the most well-known plays written by William Shakespeare. I think he intended to show what life is like for women in a society ruled by men; men were seen to be superior to women, as women had little rights. Women began life as property of their fathers; once they became married they were passed on to the husband. Shakespeare uses many language techniques throughout the play to comment on men, women and marriage in a society when girls were promised to a man of their fathers choosing.
He used this play to criticize arranged marriages.
This play is a tragedy, where two people, from opposing families that despise each other, meet and instantly fall in love. This essay is going to explore how the relationship with Juliet and her parents is presented in the play, and how it changes rapidly throughout. Firstly, in Act 1 Scene 2 Lord Capulet is having a discussion with Paris regarding Juliet, Paris wishes to marry Juliet, however Capulet says “My child is yet a stranger in the world”.
This means he thinks that Juliet is too young to be wed; he also says they should wait two more summers before she is ready to get married.
But, he will agree if Juliet agrees because he believes Juliet should have a say in the matter. Paris replies by saying “Younger than she are happy mothers made”. Capulet contradicts that by saying “And too soon marred are those so early made”.
This shows Capulet is very caring towards Juliet as he wants her to enjoy her life whilst she is young. It is unusual that Capulet said this because Juliet would not normal be given a choice in the matter, especially when the suitor is wealthy and handsome.
In my opinion arranged marriages are cruel, but it was a perfectly normal thing to experience in the 1500 hundreds. Also in this scene Capulet declares “Earth hath swallowed all my hopes but she”. This reveals to the reader that Juliet is Capulet’s only child, and that hemay have tried for a child many times or his children might have died before she was born, this helps us understand why he behaves the way he does toward Juliet. In this scene Capulet appears to be an untraditional father as he does not force Juliet into an unwanted marriage.
Therefore Capulet is presented as a kind and caring father, not wanting to push his child into something she might not want to do; when he speaks of her he is very respectful. Capulet acts as you would expect a father in the modern world to, he is very protective of his daughter. On the other hand, Lady Capulet and Juliet’s relationship is not as close; she is hardly involved in her daughter’s life. In Act 1 Scene 3 Lady Capulet and the nurse discuss Juliet’s age; she will be fourteen on Lammas Eve (31st of July).
Lady Capulet doesn’t know her daughter’s age as she says “She’s not fourteen”, the nurse starts to remember that Juliet is the same age as her own daughter, and that Juliet was born late on Lammas Eve “Come Lammas-eve at night she shall be fourteen”. This shows that Juliet and her mother do not have a genuine relationship. The nurse had raised Juliet since she was a baby, this would have been traditional in the 1500 hundreds, and they have a very heartfelt relationship. The nurse appears to be devoted to Juliet, she takes great risk in helping her and she tries to guide her through life in the best way she can.
It was ordinary for a mother to not get attached to her child as the death rate for children was immense in those days, and as we found out Lady Capulet has tried for a baby many times, she might be fearful of losing Juliet too and so apprehensive to form any sort of relationship with her. Lady Capulet then expresses Paris’s wish to marry Juliet, Juliet replies by saying “it is an honour that I dream not of”. Lady Capulet begins giving her reasons why she should marry Paris, Juliet responds “I’ll look to like, if looking liking move; but no more deep will I endart mine eye than your consent gives strength to make it fly”.
This suggests that she will observe Paris to see if she is fond of him, but she will not let herself fall for him any more than her mother’s permission allows. I believe Juliet’s father appears more loving and considerate toward Juliet than her mother because Lady Capulet is attempting to force Juliet into marriage with Paris whereas Lord Capulet is permitting her to make her own decisions. But this might be perceived in a different way; Lady Capulet might be forcing her into the marriage so she can have satisfying life with a respectable husband.
In Act 1 Scene 4 Romeo, Benvolio and Mercutio decide to gate-crash the Capulet’s party. On the way there Mercutio tries to laugh Romeo out of his sadness, he is miserable because he is love with Rosaline but she does not return that love “Under love’s heavy burden do I sink”. But yet, when they gate-crash Capulet’s party and Romeo spots Juliet he contemplates to himself that he has never seen true love until he saw this beautiful woman “O she doth teach the torches to burn bright! ” Romeo is basically saying that her beauty is brighter than the blaze of any torch; however he has not yet discovered that she is a Capulet.
Romeo and Juliet then talk for the first time; they are instantly attracted to one another. Romeo is entranced by Juliet’s beauty, when he describes her Tybalt recognises Romeo’s voice; he is outraged that a Montague would dare gatecrash Capulet’s party. However, Capulet is angered by Tybalt’s intent to pick a fight with Romeo. Tybalt leaves the party after being scolded by Capulet. He threatens vengeance on Romeo. Romeo learns with dismay from the nurse that Juliet is a Capulet “Is she a Capulet? O dear account! my life is my foe’s debt”.
They have both fallen for each other but their families are locked in an age-old bitter feud. Romeo’s language in Act 1 is very poetic on the theme of love, he uses contrasts of light versus dark to describe his devotion for this unknown girl (Juliet); “O she doth the torches to burn bright!… Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear: So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows” this profound language exceedingly differs from what he says about Rosaline; “She is too fair, wise, wisely too fair, To merit bliss by making me despair”.
When he speaks about Rosaline his emotions, which he speaks of, appear artificial, because of this I do not believe he was ever truly in love with Rosaline. I also believe Romeo’s passion for Juliet will be very transitory as he based his affection merely on her appearance, he also appears very immature towards love; previously he intensely adoredRosaline, but the following day he meets Juliet and his preceding passion is forgotten about.
The chorus at the beginning of Act 2 reminds the audience of Romeo’s obsession with Rosaline had ended, the chorus also points out that Romeo was prepared to die for beauty (Rosaline), but she is no longer beautiful in comparison compared to Juliet. This makes Romeo appear very immature and superficial. In Act 2 Scene 2 Romeo visits Juliet, unknown to her, he compares her beauty to the sun, more bright than the stars; “It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon”. Juliet then declares her love for Romeo; “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name” Juliet wishes for Romeo to give up his name, if he does not want to then she will give up her name as a Capulet – “Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, And I’ll no longer be a Capulet” This shows that Juliet would rather be with Romeo than her family, obviously she does not care for them that much. “Thou art thyself, though not a Montague. What’s Montague? It is nor hand nor foot” Here she is saying that ‘Montague’ is just a name, and, if he changed it he will still be Romeo.
When Romeo reveals himself she fears for him, she warns him that her family will kill him if they find him here “The orchard walls are high and hard to climb, And the place death, considering who thou art, If any of my kinsmen find thee hear”. This shows that no matter how significant her love is for Romeo her family will not take that into account, this displays the growing unhealthy relationship between Juliet and her parents. Romeo and Juliet exchange words of love also promising marriage. In Act 2 Scene 3 Romeo visits Friar Lawrence, who fears that Romeo has spent the night with Rosaline.
When Romeo reveals that he wishes to marry Juliet , Friar Lawrence chides Romeo for his fickleness in love. But, the Friar agrees to marry them in hope that the ancient feud of the Montague’s and Capulet’s will end. Later in Act 2 Scene 6 Romeo and Juliet get wed by the Friar, this is dangerous because if Juliet’s family finds out they probably would disown her, so this shows how much Romeo and Juliet ‘love’ each other, but it also shows how appalling Juliet’s relationship is with her family if they are willing to abandon her. While the nurse is telling Juliet of Romeo’s request, Tybalt sends a challenge for Romeo to the House of Montague.
In Act 3 Scene 1 Benvolio and Mercutio are in a public place, Benvolio is apprehensive that the Capulet’s are going to arrive and a fight will definitely follow. Tybalt states that he is seeking Romeo but, Romeo will not accept his challenge as he has only just married his cousin, Juliet. In the end it is Tybalt and Mercutio that fight, Mercutio gets stabbed under Romero’s arm, obviously Romeo blames himself for Mercutio’s injuries. Romeo then vindictively chases after Tybalt, when the organised fight actually happens it is Tybalt that falls, because of this Romeo flees.
The brutal violence that occurs in Act 3 Scene 1, as well as the expectation of the fight, acts as reminder that, for all Shakespeare’s emphasis on love and romance, the play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ still takes place in a world ruled by men, with their beliefs of respect and status that are bound to explode in a conflict. This scene is the turning point of the play. Later on in Act 3 Scene 1 Lady Capulet demands that Romeo must die, her demand for Montague blood reveals the level of hatred between the two families.
But, because Tybalt had slain Mercutio, Romeo’s sentence was only that of exile, rather than death. This scene makes the reader feel sympathy towards Romeo and Juliet as they only just got married, they didn’t even have a chance to celebrate this marriage before Romeo was banished from Verona. When Juliet learns of this news she doesn’t know what emotion she should feel, but, in the end decides to stay loyal to her husband. Act 3 Scene 5 is the most crucial scene in the change in relationship between Juliet and her parents.
This scene is full of tension dramatic irony and ambiguousness. Juliet has just spent her first and last night with Romeo, the nurse warns them that her mother is approaching. When Juliet’s mother enters she misreads Juliet’s emotions, she believes her sadness is from mourning her cousin, Tybalt. Her sorrow is actually because of Romeo’s exile. Lady Capulet asks “Evermore Weeping for you cousin’s death? What, wilt thou wash him from his grave with tears” These are all rhetorical questions, Lady Capulet wishes Juliet to stop crying as too much grief is not wise.
Lady Capulet seems cruel in what she says here, but she could be trying to enliven Juliet. However, she adds that to show so much grief shows “some want of wit” this implies that Juliet is stupid which displays how insensitive Lady Capulet is towards her daughter. Then she also makes an incorrect assumption “Well, girl, thou weep’st not so much for his death / As that the villain lives which slaughtered him”. Lady Capulet is more resentful than mournful, she only wishes for revenge on the Montague that killed a precious Capulet, she assumes Juliet feels the same way.
Obviously Juliet doesn’t feel this way, she says to herself “Villain and he be many miles asunder “, she proceeds to say to her mother “God pardon him, I do with all my heart: And yet no man like he doth grieve my heart” these are the first ambiguous lines in this act, it is ambiguous because it has two meanings. To herself she is saying that Romeo could never be a villain, to Lady Capulet she is saying “God pardon him” as though God is the only one who could grant Romeo forgiveness. These lines reinforce how much Juliet loves Romeo; this has the effect of building up the tension throughout the scene.
But, she heavily suggests to her mother that Romeo grieves her heart because he is not with her, but Lady Capulet misinterprets this “That is because the traitor murderer lives”. Lady Capulet goes on to express her hatred for Romeo, revealing how she wishes to poison him so he can lie next to Tybalt, she then says she hopes this notion satisfies Juliet. Juliet replies, “Indeed I never shall be satisfied / With Romeo, till I behold him – dead – / Is my poor heart, so for a kinsman vexed. ” This is also ambiguous, Juliet is misleading her mother.
Lady Capulet thinks that Juliet will never be satisfied until Romeo is dead, however, what Juliet really means is that her heart is dead and she shall never be satisfied until her husband is with her again. Lady Capulet proceeds to tell her daughter of “joyful tidings”, she informs Juliet that Lord Capulet has arranged for her to marry Paris next Thursday, this heightens the dramatic tension as they audience already know Juliet is married. Juliet, appalled, refuses to do so, “He shall not make me there a joyful bride.
Lady Capulet replies “Here comes your father, tell him so yourself; And see how he will take it at your hands” These lines are very malicious as Juliet has seen Capulet’s reaction and argument with Tybalt, and Lady Capulet is reminding Juliet of that. When Capulet enters he also misunderstands Juliet’s sadness, but he appears more sympathetic; he creates an extended metaphor, just one of the techniques Shakespeare uses, by comparing Juliet to a boat, the sea and wind “Thou counterfeits a bark, a sea, a wind”. Juliet’s body is the boat, her eyes are the sea and her sighs are the wind.
He then asks Lady Capulet if she has told Juliet about their command, she replies bitterly “Ay, sir, but she will none, she gives you thanks. I would the fool were married to her grave. ” This was an extremely harsh, inconsiderate thing to say, which illustrates how little Lady Capulet cared for Juliet and how vindictive she was towards her. But, she might have said it because Juliet was disobeying her father’s orders; this was forbidden in the 150 hundreds. Wives also had to obey their husbands, so she could not agree with Juliet as she couldn’t even contemplate being disloyal.
Shakespeare develops tension in this scene with the arrival of Lord Capulet and through her arranged marriage. Shakespeare uses many language techniques including pathetic fallacy and the use of metaphors, these enhance the tension. Also Capulet alters from a caring to an enraged father as his style of language and tone change. He starts by comforting Juliet as she cries. But, when he discovers Juliet does not wish to marry Paris, the language he uses completely changes; he speaks to her in the third person, using “she” and “her”.
I think he is distancing himself from Juliet as she done something inexcusable in his eyes, in his words that follow he explodes in rage. “Out, you green-sickness carrion! out, you baggage! ” He is threatening to disown Juliet, this shows a previously unknown side to Capulet as he insults Juliet, “You tallow-face! ” Shakespeare emphasises the force of these insults by the use of exclamation marks, this has the effect of increasing the tension when delivered in a play. Lord Capulet also uses imperatives in his terrorising rants, “thank” “look”.
Also Capulet is shown as very childish and petty when he mimics Juliet. I personally think Capulet should have asked Juliet why she did not want to marry, rather than trying to bully her into it by threatening and raging at her. But, this wouldn’t have been expected in those times as fathers commands was law. Also in this scene a lot of irony is created; Juliet has no other option but to marry Paris or else she will be homeless. I thought that Lady Capulet would be more sympathetic toward her daughter, but in fact it was the nurse who came to Juliet’s defence; “God in heaven bless her!
You are to blame, my lord, to rate her so. ” But, Lady Capulet also had to obey Capulet’s commands, she wasn’t able to agree with her daughter or she would be in the same position, “I’ll give to you my friend; And you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets”. Capulet had to show his authority as he thought Juliet was disobeying him and being ungrateful. Before Lady Capulet departs Juliet pleads for her to delay the marriage, if not she will kill herself, “Delay this marriage for a month, a week, or if you do not, make the bridal bed in that dim monument where Tybalt lies.
Lady Capulet shows not the slightest hint of compassion towards her daughter as she refuses to help her, “Talk not to me, for I’ll not speak a word. Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee. ” This shows she cares nothing for Juliet, or she could have thought that Juliet’s threat was empty. When her mother leaves Juliet turns to the Nurse with her problems, hoping to find comfort. This shows that Juliet thinks more of the Nurse than her mother, the audience already knows this as Juliet confided in the Nurse when she was considering marrying Romeo not her mother.
But, the Nurse agrees with her father, urging Juliet to marry Paris. I think the Nurse was only trying to help Juliet by finding a solution, seeing that Juliet had no future with Romeo as he had been exiled, whereas Paris had money and a respectable status, “I think it is best you married with the County. O, he’s a lovely gentleman! Romeo’s a dishclout to him. ” The Nurse could have been more empathetic, realising Juliet was ‘in love’ and that she was being forced into an unwanted marriage. This scene ends dramatically as Juliet has a dilemma; marry Paris and remain Verona or find Romeo and never see her family again.
In Act 3 Scene 5 the audience gets to learn a great deal about the characters, Lord Capulet is shown as a demanding father, who cannot deal with disobedience. Shakespeare portrays Lady Capulet as caring but also loyal. You also see a different side to the Nurse; she is very protective of Juliet but yet, she is not afraid to disappoint her. Shakespeare would have wanted the audience to feel remorse for Juliet in this scene. In Act 4 Scene 2 Juliet begs for her father’s forgiveness, which he willingly accepts as she promises to obey him in the future. Capulet is delighted, he pushes the wedding to the next day.
This makes this situation extremely worse for Juliet, she now has only one day to decide what she is going to do. Finally, in Act 4 Scene 5 the Nurse discovers Juliet, thinking she is dead, awakens the house with her exclamations. Lady Capulet enters Juliet’s bedroom, realising Juliet is dead she pleads for her to return alive, “O me, O me, my child, my only life! Revive, look up, or I will die with thee”. LadyCapulet reveals some previously unseen emotions about her daughter in this scene. Discovering a child dead would be hard on any parent, but the Capulet’s had presumably lost other children before Juliet.
But, it’s difficult to feel sympathy for them, since Juliet’s apparent death is essentially their fault. It is surprising that Lady Capulet said this, not long ago she declared that she wanted nothing more to do with Juliet, but now, she wishes to die with her! Lord Capulet’s attitude towards Juliet also changes throughout the play. At first he was very protective and caring, then he was threatening to disown her, and in this scene he shows a lot of sorrow, “Death lies on her like an untimely frost upon the sweetest flower of all the field. Later he also says “Death that hath tane her hence to make me wail ties up my tongue and will not let me speak. ” All the Capulet’s and the Nurse appear heartbroken in this scene, I believe that if Juliet was to revive herself Lord Capulet might have been open to the idea of Romeo and Juliet. Overall I think the relationship between Juliet and her parents is presented as being a typical relationship at that time. I think Lady Capulet could not physically show hardly any emotion towards Juliet because of the fear of losing her, like her other children.
Lady Capulet and her daughter had a standard, modern teenage daughter – mother relationship. Obviously, Juliet would be more inclined to her father if her mother was incapable of showing any care or love towards her. Also I believe the cause of Juliet’s death was being forced into an arranged marriage. At first, Capulet was willing to let Juliet make her own decision in the matter. The cause of change was Tybalt’s death. Capulet believed Juliet to be mourning Tybalt too much; he wanted to lift her out of her sadness. “Who, raging with thy tears and they with them, without a sudden calm, will oversetthy tempest -tossed body”.
Basically, Juliet will quickly drown in the storm of her tears, unless there is a “sudden calm,” and Capulet believes this calm will come from her marriage to the man he has chosen for her. I personally do not think Romeo and Juliet’s death was anybody’s fault, I believe it was the sense of fate that hangs over the play, Romeo’s cry, “O, I am fortune’s fool! ” refers to his unfortunate actions in being forced to kill his new wife’s cousin, thus becoming exiled. As a result of this Juliet was forced into an unwanted marriage.
Lady Capulet had an awful relationship with her daughter, to me they appeared more like strangers. Although, this is understandable because of the fear in Lady Capulet, which made her an incompetent mother. Lord Capulet was thoughtful and compassionate toward his daughter, up to the point of Tybalt’s death, where he became demanding and detached. Shakespeare uses figurative language in this play to achieve a particularly vivid, expressive, and imaginative image. Also his thoughtful choice of dramatic devices, for example, tone, dramatic irony and characterization make this play exciting and fascinating.