There is a large difference between youths and adults in Romeo and Juliet. The adults often make emotionally driven decisions, often ones that go back on what they have previously said. An example of this is Lord Capulet, who changes his mind on the marriage of his daughter. This drastically changes the plot of the story and could have been the reason for the death of Romeo and Juliet.
They see the world in a different light to the youths.
The younger men in the Montague and Capulet families love to fight, and would happily insult the other family in order to start a fight. However, Lord Capulet, and maybe Lord Montague, is less happy to begin the fight, although he would try to join in, like in act one scene 1. Lord Capulet says “’tis not hard. I think / for men as old as we to keep the peace” and later on in the play he also compliments Romeo by calling him a “virtuous and well-governed youth”. Capulet and Montague could have ended a feud, which was started by their ancestors “ancient grudge breaks to new mutiny”. You do not find out what Lord Montague thinks about the feud, only that Capulet “thinks” that Montague has the same opinion as he.
Later in act 1 scene 5 Capulet gets very angry with Tybalt for wanting to start a fight with Romeo. Capulet expects Tybalt to obey him, as he is the master of the house. When Tybalt still refuses to give in to Capulet, his multi faceted side comes out. Capulet changes from arguing to Tybalt “Marry, ’tis time” to complementing the guests “Well said, my hearts!” and then back to arguing with Tybalt.
Lord Capulet loves his daughter very much. In act 1 scene 2, when Paris asks for Juliet’s hand in marriage, Lord Capulet tells him that Juliet is too young, but he can start to court Juliet and in 2 years, they may marry. You can tell that he cares about Juliet because he says that Paris may only marry if Juliet agrees, “An she agreed within her scope of choice, / Lies my consent and fair according voice.”
This is surprising for a patriarchal society and where the daughter has to do what the father says. When Lord Capulet says that Juliet is too young to marry Paris he makes a indirect reference to his wife. “And too soon marred are those so early made” who we later find out married Lord Capulet when very young.
Lord Capulet changes after Tybalt dies. Maybe because he loves Juliet so much he wants to help her, but instead he makes her life worse. He tries to cheer her up -believing that she cries over the death of Tybalt- by moving the date of the wedding forward to three days time – Thursday.
When Juliet refuses to marry Paris, lord Capulet becomes very violent, and shows another side of himself. He threatens to hit her and says “unworthy as she is, that we have wrought / So worthy a gentleman to be her bride?”
He goes on to say that he was cursed when she was born, and then insults the nurse by calling her a “mumbling fool!”
The nurse is used as comic relief in the play. She is bawdy and comes from a lower class than the majority of the rest of the cast. Simply the fact she is from a lower class makes her slightly funnier, and she often jumbles up her words – “I desire some confidence with you” and speaks in prose. She gets on better with Juliet than Lord or Lady Capulet, and so Juliet confides in the nurse.
The nurse is loyal and caring but very bawdy. However, when Juliet needs her most, the nurse turns away from Juliet, and changes her loyalty by saying
“I think you are happy in this second match,” She goes on to say that Romeo is no longer there so she has to marry Paris. This is shocking because you believe that the nurse was always on Juliet’s side,
In act 1 scene 3, the nurse talks about Juliet when she was a little girl, and of many slightly rude tales of Juliet. These stories horrify Lady Capulet, but the audience find them funny. It shows the difference between the nurse and Lady Capulet, and their different upbringings. The nurse knows more about Juliet than her own mother
The nurse brings a lot of tension into the balcony scene, because she keeps calling Juliet inside. You worry that she may come outside and ruin Romeo and Juliet’s romantic moment. But it also brings an element of comedy to it, because it annoys Romeo and Juliet, and you imagine in your head how she would act if she did come out and see Romeo and Juliet on the balcony, confessing their love. The nurse adds a bit of tension in act 2 scene 5 when Juliet is waiting to find out what Romeo has said about their marriage. She will not tell Juliet what Romeo has said, and even though the audience already know what has been said, they are still concerned in case something terrible has happened.
When Lord Capulet is insulting Juliet about her marriage to Paris, the nurse stands up for Juliet, even when Capulet attacks the nurse verbally. This may be when the nurse has a change of thought, and decides the marriage between Juliet and Paris is a good thing.
Courtney from Study Moose
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