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‘The play was written in the 1600’s, at this time the role of women was vastly different than their role in today’s society. The woman was to be the dutiful housewife, being expected to run the house cook meals and look after the children. In wealthy families girls were subject to their fathers will. Marriage was a business contract, not about love, but to keep land and wealth within a family. Girls were raised to be obedient to their parents. Children in the 1600’s were to be seen and not heard a lot like later Victorian times.
The girls were not to be formally educated they were to stay at and help their mothers with everyday jobs such as washing and cleaning. However this is no longer the case. Women are more and more frequently following the same career paths as men. They also have more rights. Both of these mean women are now equal to men. In the play, Juliet is fourteen, her father feels she should want to become a wife. ” She hath not seen the change of fourteen years” However unlike other marriages at the time her father wants her to be happy and try to love a gentleman called Count Paris.
Her father is aware of her feelings. However Lady Capulet seems to want Juliet to marry and does not consider her happiness, she uses the argument that ” younger than you here in Verona ladies of esteem are made already mothers she reinforces this by telling her “I was your mother much upon these years” Juliet has a close and trusting relationship with the nurse who has looked after her since birth. She is Juliet’s mother figure. The nurse uses terms of affection for her such as ” what lamb! ” We first see Juliet in the scene between Lady Capulet and the Nurse.
This is also the scene when we see Juliet talk to her mother for the first time in the play. ” Madam I am here what is your will? ” this is formal. Juliet trusts her parents and respects their wishes, by accepting marriage, however this is before she meets Romeo. Romeo and Juliet first encounter with each other is at the Capulet’s mansion during the ball, which Romeo and his friends should not be attending. They speak a sonnet together. “My lips like two blushing pilgrims, ready stand. ” We see in this scene Juliet being quick witted and covering with the nurse, when she discovers Romeo’s identity.
Juliet quickly loses her innocence in this scene. In the balcony scene, we are able to compare Romeo and Juliet. This scene is also important because we see the differences between the characters. Romeos language is full of romantic imagery. He is in a dream like state. “0’speak again bright angel. ” He speaks about her comparing her to the “heaven and to the stars. ” She is his “east. ” This puts her in a higher place and shows she is above all mortals to him. Whereas Juliet seems to be more practical. Juliet is more meaningful and uses the questions wisely to find out more about Romeo.
” are you a Montague? ” “How did you get here? ” These questions mean something whereas Romeo is more poetical, and tries to impress Juliet. Romeo’s responses are fantastical ” with loves light wings did I O’erperch these walls. ” In exchange Juliet never cunning, she is always sincere. While Romeo is rhapsodising over love, she realises how rash their avowals of love may be. “too rash, too unadvis’d, too sudden. ” Juliet responds to Romeo with generosity and infinite love. Romeo is lost in a happy dream, but Juliet looks ahead, it is she who suggests marriage.
She is resourceful. She shows no fear of disobeying her parents, “what O’clock shall I send for thee tomorrow? ” whilst Romeo is comparing silver sweet sounds, loves, loves tongue to the softest music. However Juliet too can be poetical, she is able to express her love for Romeo with intensity and feeling. ” my county is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep” It is interesting that Juliet is the first one to mention marriage. ” if that thy bat of love be honourable, thy purpose marriage. ” Juliet trusts the nurse. She is the only person Juliet confides in.
“to ask his name if he be married. ” She trusts the nurse with such a message to take to Romeo. This shows the strength of their relationship. She can put on a good show to get her own way. She also trusts the nurse in telling Romeo to meet her for a night of passion. Juliet is as impulsive as Romeo and hurries off to meet him at Friar Lawrence’s cell. Juliet is open with Romeo, however she is happy to deceive her family in to thinking she is going to confession. Juliet later uses religion again to deceive her family.
Once married, Juliet is forced to grow up very quickly as she needs to deal with a series of terrible events that happen in a short period of time. Romeo vanishes because he killed Tybalt, “murder’d her kinsman. ” Romeo is then sentenced to death on the hour he is found. ” when he is found, that hour shall be his last. ” The pain of Romeo’s banishment is immediately succeeded by the horror of her father’s plans for another wedding, “marry, my child, early next Thursday mom! ” Juliet and Romeo spend the night together at the Capulet mansion. We see the physical side of man and wife.
She shows that she wants to be with Romeo all the while. However he has to go. Juliet begs him to stay. “it was the nightingale and not the lark. ” She is stronger^ than Romeo when she hears about the wedding he goes to pieces. Sobbing and wailing, trying to kill himself, in the face calamity she does her best to cope. When Juliet refuses to obey her parents in marriage they are shocked her father is no longer indulgent, and he and her mother turn against her and are very cruel to her. ” hang thee young baggage! Disobedient wretch! ” Despite their insulting comment Juliet calm.
In despair Juliet turns to the nurse for comfort, but is told to forget Romeo and marry Paris “marry, I will and this is wisely done. ” She is hurt and feels betrayed by this comment from the nurse, she trusted the nurse and now that trust as gone. However she shows qualities of determination and courage, which enable her to hide her anguish, and chat wittily and apparently calm with Paris at the Friar’s cell. Juliet has no choice but to agree to the Friar’s desperate scheme, she has neither family, nurse nor husband to support her. ” My dismal scene needs must act alone.
” She agrees to take the potion this shows her courage and determination, with child like horror she goes through everything that could go wrong with taking the potion, finally realising she has no other option, drinks the potion with great courage. The potion heightens the drama of the scene as she is isolated from her family and friends. Juliet is true and faithful because when she awakes in the tomb the first thing she says with child like simplicity “where is my Romeo? ” she is deserted once again, this lime however by the Friar. When she realises that Romeo is dead, she is ^courageous to the last minute she stabs her self.
Her last act is immediate and determined and successful, it is expressive of her love for Romeo and is keeping with her character and everything she has done through out the play. However at the end of the play she is still a 14 year old girl with her whole life in front of her. She succumbs to an adolescent^ despair. At the end of the play Lord Montague says ” I will raise her statue in pure gold. The deaths of Romeo and Juliet brings harmony and unison to the two families. Lord Montague at the end realises Juliet has been “true and faithful”.