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How do the Montagues and Capulets react to loss in Romeo and Juliet? Essay

Throughout Romeo and Juliet loss is abound, making the text relatable for modern and contemporary audiences. Loss is an ineluctable part of human life allowing audiences from any era to be able to sympathise with the characters and connect with them. Many people share the view that lord Capulet cared little for his daughter, not unusual In Elizabethan times, but I feel there is much evidence to the contrary, lord Capulet, loved his “only child”, Juliet.


Juliet’s supposed death evoked intense feeling of grief and guilt, clearly shown in the successful use of alliteration. Capulet is overwhelmed by grief, exclaiming “O child, O child! My soul and not my child!”. Throughout the text “O” is used to express characters grief. Capulet use of the repetition of “O” Portrays his shock to Juliet’s death and the grief he feels over it. Shakespeare uses “O” numerous times to express grief because it can portrayed differently by each actor depending on their interpretation of the character.

In Capulets case either the actor thinks he is truly grieving over the death of his “only child” or he is exaggerating his reaction due to the presence of Paris. It can be interpreted this way because Capulet doesn’t use “O” when talking about his loss until Paris enters. As soon as Paris sees Juliet he immediately exclaims “O love! O life!”, Capulet then needs to outdo his reaction so that his love for Juliet is not questioned. Capulet is merely a misunderstood father as he truly grieves the death of his daughter although he neglects to show it to Juliet and the audience before her death. (effect on the audience)

In Juliet’s “death” Capulet used a lot of imagery which serves to portray his emotions. He refers to her as the “sweetest flower” creating the image of how beautiful Juliet was. However as “Romeo and Juliet” is a play the audience would have already seen Juliet so it portrays his inner feelings. To Capulet Juliet was the prettiest and “sweetest” woman. Afterwards he says “she was a flower deflowered by him”. He no longer feels Juliet is his “flower” because death has tainted her and took it away, it has “deflowered” Juliet. Juliet is far too young to die in the night, arousing Capulets┬ásuspicions that Juliet may have been involved.

Thus, she is no longer his “flower” as she betrayed his trust as she is now unable to marry Paris. Capulet was extremely egar for Paris and Juliet to get married and even referred to it is as “our” wedding. The marriage to a relative of the prince would raise the social standing of the Capulets and hopefully remove them from the watchful eye of the prince. This is dramatic irony because the audience knows Juliet and Paris will never wed because then the Montagues and Capulets won’t be “alike in dignity” as the Capulets will be valued higher than the Montagues.

Upon learning of Juliet’s death lord Capulet acknowledges his mistake of pushing her to marry Paris, insisting the feud cease. Lord Capulet immediately pleads to Montague, “O brother Montague, give thy hand. This is my daughter’s jointure, for no more can I demand”. Lord Capulet refers to Juliet’s “jointure” as being her death bed, voicing his regret and guilt for forcing her to marry Paris; he now understands why Juliet didn’t want to marry him. A jointure is something a woman agrees on in consideration of marriage, by calling Juliet’s death her jointure he admits that he wanted Juliet to marry Paris for reasons other than love. However this was common in Elizabethan times which is why they would sympathise with him unlike today’s audience who would not as arranged marriages are not a supported or common aspect in society.

The acknowledgement of Montague as Capulets “brother” infers that he is aware of the marriage between Romeo and Juliet. When Capulet talks about the “jointure” he is thinking about his son in law, Romeo. Therefore, in order to honour Juliet he ends the feud between the families as he knows this is the only “jointure” that would have pleased Juliet. This shows evolution of character as he’s ended an “ancient” feud due to his grief over the loss of his daughter.

In act 1 Capulet refers to Romeo as “a virtuous and well governed youth” supporting the idea that if he had known, Capulet would have approved the wedding between Romeo and Juliet. Thus, if Juliet had told him she could have lived a fulfilling life with Romeo. However as this play is a tragedy it requires the hero to die a tragic death due the (can’t remember the word) (Mercutio’s death), foreshadowing that this would never happen. On┬áthe other hand he could call his former enemy “brother Montague” because he is suffering the same sorrow for the death of his only child thus, they are brothers in sorrow.

Death lies on her like an untimely frost Upon the sweetest flower of all the field. (31-32)

Visual lightness and darkness within the scene corresponds to the image of life and death facing Juliet.


Dead art thou! Alack, my child is dead,

And with my child my joys are buried.

hy camest thou now

To murder, murder our solemnity?

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