In William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, a play about two lovers who are from opposing families, Lord Capulet wishes to appear as a man of peace and much virtue, but when he is away from the prying eyes of the public, he is a man many times worse than Lord Montague. Lord Capulet is a complex character who many times contradicts his earlier actions in this play. By the end of this, you will truly understand Lord Capulet’s motives towards life. He is not the caring man one might think he is when they first meet him or read about him, but a man with no heart or compassion, just the ability to show some.
Many times throughout Romeo and Juliet, Lord Capulet appears to be a very nice, agreeable, loving kind of guy. But if you check closely enough, every time he appears to be loving, agreeable, or nice, he is somewhere in public. Lord Capulet wishes to be thought of well by the public, much like we all do, but it isn’t the same for him. For him, it’s more of a matter between life and death. First of all, Lord Capulet is having a party, in which he invites almost the whole town. In his instance holding a party in which you invite pretty much everybody in town, is supposed to make you popular. Most people don’t hold a party for everyone because they have nothing better to do, and when you invite the whole town, your just trying to look “cool”. “Content thee, gentle coz, let him alone…I would not for the wealth of all this town, here in my house do him disparagement”(1.5.73-77).
Right here, Lord Capulet tells Tybalt to let Romeo alone, because in his house, in front of a whole crowd of people, Lord Capulet does not wish to disparage himself or disparage anyone that in turn would disparage him. It would certainly not make him popular with the prince, and therefore not popular with anyone in the city. But this is not all, oh no, this is not all (Dr. Suess book). “But woo her gentle Paris, get her hear; My will to her consent is but a part. An she agree, within her scope of choice lies my consent and fair according voice”(1.2.16-19). Here again we have Lord Capulet in public, this time in a public street. He is trying to appear to be a man who cares so much about his daughter that he gives her almost all of the say in her marriage. Obviously, as I will show you later on, this is not true, but he makes it appear that way in this scene. Of course we won’t be tricked by him, that blundering fool.
Finally, in our last scene(5.3), Lord Capulet gives Lord Montague money, saying that this is his daughter’s jointure. He does this because he is out in front of everyone including the prince and he still wants to appear popular, because right now, he’s not looking too good. Lord Montague though, wants to outdo Capulet, so he says he’ll erect a gold statue of Juliet in the middle of town. Capulet can’t think of anything to say so he says he’ll do the same thing for Romeo. What a party! Lord Capulet does everything here for show, because he wants to appear “cool”. In the next paragraph this will be contradicted when he appears very “uncool”, because if it doesn’t affect his public goodwill, he doesn’t care. You know he should probably do drugs, maybe he’ll become “cool” then and make some friends too.
Outside of the “prying eyes of the public”, our character, Lord Capulet does not seem to be very nice. Many of the things he said in public are contradicted when he gets with his family, or by himself. “Sir Paris, I will make a desperate tender of my child’s love. I think she will be ruled in all respects by me, nay more, I doubt it not”(3.4.14-16). Here Capulet completely changes around what he said earlier in Act 1 Scene 2 about his daughter making the decision about love. He now says that he will make the decision about whom she loves. He makes this decision in the privacy of his own home with only one person that is not a family member present, and that person will be a family member within two days. Uh huh. But no, that is not all. “Does she not count her blest, unworthy as she is, that we have wrought so worthy a gentleman to be her bridegroom?”(3.5.161-163).
Here Capulet starts to lose it. He is yet again in his own home, now, only with his family, and very displeased at his daughter, not even something he would do to the Montagues. “How, how, how, how, choplogic? What is this? ‘Proud’-and ‘I thank you’-and ‘I thank you not’- And yet ‘not proud’? Mistress minion you, thank me no thankings, nor proud me no prouds, but fettle your fine joints ‘gainst Thursday next to go with Paris to Saint Peter’s Church, or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither. Out, you green-sickness carrion! Out, you baggage! You tallow-face!”(3.5.167-176). (No I didn’t just add that so I could have more words.) Capulet not only starts to lose it with his 161-163 lines, but seriously goes crazy in this last quote. Because nobody is around, he has nothing to lose, he could go on for ages calling her names, names that back in Act 1 Scene 2, were out of our minds.
In Act 1 Scene 2, it was more like, “I love my daughter so much, she is intelligent enough to make her own decisions, I just make sure they’re good”. Not really the case here, the case here is more like, “You #@$#%$# mongrel, what is your problem, I make decisions for you, because I’m your father.” So there you have it public v. private, which one do you want? Lord Capulet is like the president, we think we know so much, but when we look on the inside, and really find out, we felt as if we had been misled the whole time. To Romeo, Lord Capulet looks like a man that cares most for the welfare of his daughter, but to someone on the inside of the family, the picture wouldn’t be the same. Just as if we found out our president was gay, the picture of our country and his voters would very well change.
Though, Lord Capulet, when out in public tries to look good, his inner self is not completely hidden. Many times throughout the story Lord Capulet becomes insincere, sarcastic, or plays around with words. For example, “He shall be endured”(1.5.84). Here Capulet is telling Tyblat that he has to put up with Romeo. When Capulet says the word endured, that hints to us that Capulet doesn’t really want to put up with Romeo, but does it so he will be though of as a greater man. Therefore showing to us that him keeping Romeo at his party is an insincere gesture. “O Brother Montague, give me thy hand. This is my daughter’s jointure, for no more can I demand”(5.5.320-322). The very wording the Capulet uses to say this, implies sarcasm, he is doing it again for popularity’s sake. He goes on and does the same thing that Montague does, erecting a gold statue, again wording it very sarcastically, and creating a new insincere relationship between himself and Lord Montague. This just proves that his inner self, will never be able to hide.
In conclusion, Lord Capulet is a very insincere, cruel-hearted, and tricky man. He attempts to appear as a man that is not only a loving, caring, responsible father, but a responsible man in the community as well. He feels that if when in the public he is inviting towards foes, that he will be thought of as a great peace bringing man, but that unfortunately is not how life works. Lord Capulet’s decisions are not based on what he wants to do, but what others want him to do. Much like when teenagers in high school get hooked on illegal drugs, the reason is because of other people. When they are not doing the drugs, and they are out in public they try to appear smart, happy, “cool”, and living a better life than anyone else there.
But just like rapists with mental problems that will never go away, our “druggies” will go and hide in their corner of the world for one hour and “do their thing”. Lord Capulet, when he isn’t out attempting to look “cool”, is inside doing the drugs, raping the kids, and becoming more mental by the second. Lord Capulet is insincere about all of his promises just like any addict, rapist, or alcoholic would be. Lord Capulet is not the responsible, caring, loving, nice, “cool” man he appears to be when you meet him, but really the drug paraphernalia, that bottle of 180 proof rum in your closet that you almost finished in one hour, and the man sitting in the car, wanting to take your kids to the movies. Lord Capulet is no worse than that, a man with trickery, hate, and unkept promises. Lord Capulet is not who you think he is, for he is the one hiding behind the mask.
Courtney from Study Moose
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