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Romeo & Juliet – Parental Relationships Essay

Explore the way Shakespeare presents Juliet’s changing relationship with her parents to the audience during the course of the play. Juliet’s relationship with her parents changes during the course of the play, she is shy, obedient and behaves in a way that is typical of a wealthy daughter of the time. By the end of the play she is disobedient and becomes very independent. The storyline of the play is about A young boy and girl that fall in love at first sight their families are enemies, they marry in secret and they all end up dead. Women of this time were a lower class to men and all men owned their wives and children and to see a women even speak without a males consent to do so was surprising. The first time Juliet introduced to the audience is when Paris asks lord Capulet for his daughters hand in marriage. An audience of Elizabethan time would see this as a great opportunity for Juliet and the Capulet family, but lord Capulet explains to Paris that Juliet is to young. ‘ we let two summers wither in her pride, then we may think of her ripe to be a wife’ these are lord Capulet’s words to Paris telling Paris to wait two years before marriage will even be considered.

The audience of Elizabethan times would be shocked by her fathers decision and how protective he is over Juliet. Lord Capulet maybe worried about letting his daughter go so early because she is to young. This also shows the relationship between Juliet and her father is very strong. Lord Capulet says to Paris ‘woo her’ at the Capulet ball. Lady Capulet shouts to their nurse ‘nurse, where’s my daughter’ this shows that the relationship between lady Capulet and Juliet isn’t very strong, because she doesn’t know where Juliet is , but the nurse does. This shows that the relationship between Juliet and her mother lady Capulet are less apparent than Juliet and her nurse. then when Juliet arrives at the door lady Capulet’s room she greets her mother with ‘ madam’ this is very formal not calling her mum, Juliet see’s her mum as her mum but as an important figure. When Juliet enters the room lady Capulet says to the nurse, ‘nurse give leave a while’, ‘we must talk in secret’ but just as the nurse is about to leave she calls her back this shows lady Capulet cant relate to Juliet and needs the nurse there even when she just wants to talk to Juliet.

The nurse says to lady Capulet ‘ I can tell her age unto and hour ‘ this is even more evidence that the nurse is more of a mother than lady Capulet is to Juliet. Also the nurses’ daughter died so she cares for Juliet as she was her own daughter. Lady Capulet then says to Juliet ‘well, think of marriage now, I was younger than you, here in Verona , ladies of esteem are made happy mothers. By my count, I was your mother much upon these years.’ this seems as if lady Capulet is pressuring Juliet to get married and have kids just as she did. Lady Capulet then lost her patience with Juliet and demands an answer, she says to Juliet ‘ speak briefly, can u like of Paris love?’ Juliet then replies with’ I’ll look to like, if looking liking move, but no more deep will endart mine eye than your consent gives me strength to fly.’ this means that Juliet will appear to love Paris even if she doesn’t, if it pleases her parents.

Then as Juliet and lady Capulet go to leave the room the nurse says ‘ go girl, seek happy nights to happy days’ this again shows that the nurse wants Juliet to be happy and that she has more care than her mother shows. All that lady Capulet wants is money and a higher status more than her daughter welfare. When the Capulet ball comes Paris goes to woo Juliet, but Romeo goes to the Capulet ball also, to try and take his mind off Rosaline his first love. Juliet and Romeo see each other they meet out of the way of everyone and Romeo tries to woo her himself, then Juliet completely disobeys her parents by kissing Romeo, at this time they don’t know each others name. then after Juliet’s nurse tell her than Romeo is their enemies son, and if Juliet’s parents find out she will be severely punished, however they both feel it’s love at first sight.

This shows Juliet has changed from being very innocent and obedient to very disobedient. After the ball Romeo climbs up to Juliet’s balcony and sees her talking to herself about him and calling his name. he shows himself to her, this is her second stage of her disobedience, she talks to Romeo again they kiss and exchange quick words, she always keeps an eye out for her parents because if she gets caught talking to Romeo they will neglect her, she knows what she is doing is wrong done to her parents but she thinks this is love so she goes ahead with it. The audience of this time of when the play was written and preformed, would be in great shock, because Juliet has gone against her parents, and not just kissing him but then meeting him on the balcony of her room. The audience would be shocked at a young girl with her status to be doing this.

The next day, the nurse knows all about Romeo and Juliet goes to the friar to organise a marriage between Juliet and Romeo. He agrees with the marriage, then they marry several days later without parents consent. At this time it was the done thing for arranged marriages to be organised by parents, and they also pick their daughters husband. Juliet goes completely against her parents and does it herself several people disobey the Capulet family by either organising or being part of this unarranged marriage which are friar Lawrence, Romeo, the nurse and most importantly Juliet. The nurse also organises Romeo and Juliet to spend their wedding night together in Juliet’s room. Juliet at this point in the play is feeling happy with what she has done even though she could be killed if her parents find out.

The audience of this time would be extremely shocked of what Juliet has done against her parents will. Today’s society wouldn’t see this situation as much of a shock, it is done in present time because now everyone has equal rights to marry whoever they wish with only the parents as guidance to who they choose to marry. Not long after their wedding a fight breaks out between mercutio, tybalt with daughter. Act 3 was a turning point that used to turn things on it’s head, in most of his plays climax would come in act 3 to make a unexpected change in the story. With Paris witnessing this fight he tries to prevent it but fails resulting in mercutio dieing by tybalts sword. After witnessing his cousin die, Juliet takes his sword and kills tybalt. When the prince of Verona finds out about these turn of events he finds Paris and instead of sentencing him to death he banishes Romeo from Verona.

When Juliet finds out about all this killing and finding out her cousin is dead she is horrified and cries for days not only about tybalts death but mainly of Romeos banishing from Verona. Because Juliet mentions’ Romeos banishment more than tybalts death she says this to the nurse, this shows she care about Romeo than her favourite cousin tybalt. This shows that Juliet hasn’t really grown up yet and that she cares more about her first so called love than her cousin that she has been close to all her life Lord Capulet talks to Paris about bringing the wedding forward to maybe cheer up Juliet. This shows that lord Capulet wants his daughter to be happy. But when lord Capulet tells Juliet about the new wedding plans she revolts by telling him that she doesn’t want to marry Paris and argues with her father saying’ I beseech you on my knees,’ which means she is begging for him not to make him make her marry Paris but lord Capulet replies with ‘hang thee, young baggage, disobedient wretch! I tell thee what; get thee to church a’ Thursday, or never after look me in the face’ he threatens to disown her.

The audience watching this at the period of time of when the play was written would be shocked at lord Capulet’s sudden change in mind about marrying Paris and Juliet. Also about Juliet’s reactions and actions towards her parents. The nurse then after all s he has done for Juliet agrees with lord Capulet and tells Juliet to marry Paris and forget about Romeo, the nurse has done this because if the Capulet’s find out about the secret marriage between Romeo and Juliet the nurse will lose her job because of going behind lord Capulet’s back. But again she goes against her parents choices and makes her own. Any other girl of her time would agree with everything said but Juliet makes a stand against her parents. Juliet after all this controversy goes to the friar for advice because he is her last hope to find a way out of the marriage. He makes a plan to make her appear dead. This shows Juliet is prepared to do anything to get back with Romeo.

At this stage during the play Juliet trusts no-one except the friar because everyone who she once trusted has gone against her and think she should marry Paris but the friar is still there for her. After Juliet getting the potion she goes home and asks her father for forgiveness she says to him ’ where I have learnt to repent the sin of disobedient opposition. To you and your behests, and am enjoy’d by holy Lawrence to fall prostrate here I beg your pardon’. he accepts this apology thinking his daughter has come to terms with the marriage and thinks is a good thing to happen in her life when she knows she has a way to get out of it. But when the night comes to take the potion she wonders if this is all a plan to kill her so that the friar cant get executed for marrying two children without parents consent.

But despite all these doubts in her head she goes ahead and takes the potion, the next morning her parents find her dead and put her in the Capulet grave. The Capulet family when seeing their daughter dead they are shocked to see Romeo and Paris also laid dead after their deaths Capulet and Montague call a truce and put a gold statue up of Juliet in Verona. At the start of the play Juliet seems to be a normal girl of her time. But throughout the play she makes the wrong decisions. She met Romeo at the ball when she should have been looking at Paris. This is the first part of her disobedience and this starts off her independent life. I feel this is the main reason for her feelings changing throughout the play towards her parents.


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