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In Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’, Juliet matures very rapidly. In the start of the play Juliet is introduced as a young, innocent girl, but ends up as a woman in love with an opinion of her own, and is emotionally mature. Juliet goes through several stages of being a child, being in love, becoming a wife, being deceived and being a widow in a short space of time. In the beginning Juliet is shown to be an innocent and nai?? ve, almost a child, ‘she is not yet fourteen’ years of age. She is open-minded and joins in when she is being teased.
She is also willing to listen and respect the advice of her parents and nurse; ‘I’ll look to like, if looking liking move’. This shows that Juliet at this point is obedient and is not emotionally aware and doesn’t know what real love is yet. Another quotation that shows her obedience is ‘Madam, I am here, what is your will? ‘ Also we can see that Lord Capulet, although Juliet’s father and considered her owner, values her opinion and thinks highly of her. ‘ She is the hopeful lady of my earth. ‘ We can see that that there is an innocence about her character and that the thought of marriage does not impress her.
We know this because when she is confronted with the idea of marriage she says ‘It is an honour that I do not dream of’. Even though she is not interested in marrying Paris, she agrees to keep her father happy. Another point that shows Juliet is still a young girl is the way that she interacts with and is continually petted by the Nurse. Throughout the play the Nurse continually appears. In the beginning Juliet and the Nurse trust each other, protect each other and show love towards each other. Nurse speaks to Juliet in a little girl language ‘ What lamb! What ladybird!
‘ Juliet appears to have a better relationship with the nurse than with her mother. Juliet and her mother appear to have an awkward relationship. We can see this when she asks the Nurse to ‘give a while’ but soon after asks her to return. Juliet’s behaviour rapidly changes when she is faced with new situations and soon finds that she is in love, and her life has changed. When she meets Romeo she uses a witty and intelligent language. Romeo metaphorically uses religion, saying that Juliet is a ‘saint’, a blessing from God. Although Juliet is only young she is very articulate and this is where her intelligence shows through.
She smartly twists Romeo’s words and takes control over him. Juliet says, ‘Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer. ‘ ‘Prayer’ is the emphasised word, and although Juliet is denying what Romeo is suggesting she is perhaps, urging him to kiss her. She is outrageously flirtatious. Her meeting with Romeo resulted in a very quick increase in her maturity. A major part in showing that Juliet is maturing is the way in which her language includes a sonnet. The way in which she and Romeo share the sonnet shows true love, even though they have only just met.
In a way, Shakespeare is blessing their love and by doing this he is showing that Juliet accepts him and his manner, and is also showing how much she likes him. Shakespeare is once again showing Juliet’s intellect and the way she easily adapts to her surroundings. Once she has admitted her love for Romeo and committed her life to him, there is a new maturity in the way she responds to the people around her and the circumstances in which she finds herself. She is a young woman saying; this is want I want. During the balcony scene Juliet says: ‘ O Romeo, Romeo!
Wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father or refuse thy name Or if thy wilt not, be but sworn my love And I’ll no longer be a Capulet! ‘ This scene gives the effect that the couple are so in love that Juliet can take a mature approach to Romeo being a Montague. She strongly believes that Romeo is not her enemy, ‘Montague’ is. ‘Tis but a name that is my enemy. ‘ This shows that she loves Romeo more than she respects her parents and says that she will rid of her family name if it allows her to be with Romeo. She practically questions Romeo and tests him by proposing marriage.
Juliet is starting to be more independent and questions her parents’ ideas and disobeys them. There appears to be passion and energy in Juliet’s speech when she is communicating with Romeo. Her language becomes very bold and she talks more to him. She is prepared to take responsibility and so proposes marriage to him. ‘If that thy bent of love be honourable. Thy propose marriage, send me word tomorrow. ‘ This shows a decisive and self-motivated side of Juliet and we can see that she has already changed from the shy and polite Juliet that we were first introduced to.
This shows a great, rapid increase in her maturity. Other factors that influence this increase is the way in which she chooses love, even at the risk of being cut from her family, ‘And I’ll no longer be a Capulet’ When Juliet sends the Nurse out to find out about her marriage to Romeo her temperament changes, showing Juliet in a different light. ‘The clock struck nine when I did see the Nurse’; ‘Oh she is lame’ ‘Is three long hours, yet she’s not come’. Shakespeare has used these short sentences to Juliet’s desperation and frustration.
She has turned from being a pleasant and courteous girl to a frustrated one. These mannerisms where not expected from a young girl in this period of time. This is another change we are shown in Juliet’s behaviour and maturity. When the Nurse begins to say that Juliet should just agree and marry Paris, Juliet even cuts off from the Nurse leaving her alone. When the Nurse says ‘ Will you speak well of that who killed your cousin’. Juliet replies ‘Shall I speak ill of him who is my husband?
‘ She also says that ‘That villain would of killed my husband’ protecting Romeo from the Nurse taking the side of he lover, rather than her family and openly rebelling showing that she is not trying to act the part that her parents want her to play. Although Juliet is drifting away from her family she once again she begins to play the role of a mature young woman and agrees to wed Paris, to put things right with her family. This is a very mature act, even though we know from the text that this is not what she wants. Juliet says ‘ Unless thou tell me how I may prevent it .. .
And with this knife I’ll help it presently’. When Juliet agrees to marry Paris she says to her father ‘ To beg you pardon. Pardon I beseech you! Henceforth I am ever ruled by you. This is a very mature act, even though it is deceitful, Juliet has settled problems within her family, so they do not feel that they have killed her. She shows maturity by putting their needs before hers. After Juliet has arranged her ‘death’ with Friar Lawrence, she is an emotionally awoken woman who will do anything to be with the one she loves.
‘And I will do it without fear or doubt, to live an unstained wife to my sweet love’. Juliet faces her fears and trusts in God and Friar Lawrence. She is forced to use trickery in order to stay true to dear Romeo. This showed remarkable courage. Before she takes the potion she uses a soliloquy that confronts all her fears. She speaks in blank verse showing the seriousness of the situation. When Juliet awakes to see a lifeless Romeo lying beside her, Juliet’s maturity and loyalty takes over and she takes the decision to choose eternity over the present. The quotation ‘ Then I’ll be brief.
O happy dagger! This is my sheath; there rust, and let me die. ‘ Shows the quickness and determination of Juliet’s death. During the period of a few days Juliet matures into a committed and reliable woman and wife, capable of taking decisions without the help of others. Shakespeare shows this by clearly stating the different stages that happen and by making everything occur in a short period of time. He also uses different language throughout the play, such as blank verse, sonnets and soliloquies and different sentence structures to show different emotions.