Lady Capulet Analysis Essay
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Capulet’s wife is the matriarch of the house of Capulet, and Juliet’s mother. She plays a larger role than Montague’s wife, appearing in several scenes. In Act One, Scene three, she refuses to talk to her daughter about marriage, as she feels uncomfortable about it, but in Scene four, she is pleased about Count Paris’s “interest” in her daughter. When Tybalt is killed in Act Three, she expresses extreme grief and a strong desire for revenge on Romeo.
In Act Three, Scene 5, she becomes very angry with Juliet for refusing to marry Paris, and she coldly rejects her, saying “Talk not to me, for I’ll not speak a word; do as thou wilt, for I am done with thee”.
By the final act, she is nearly overcome by the tragic events of the play. We know that Juliet was born when her mother was 14, thus she is about 28 years old, and her husband is many years older than her.
Calling her “Lady Capulet” is a modern convention; it is an echo of Juliet’s form of address in 3.5.65: “my lady mother”. In the first quartos the stage direction and speech headings can be “mother”, “wife”, or even “old lady”, but nowhere “Lady Capulet”.
Like many other mothers of teens, Lady Capulet and her daughter clearly have a troubled relationship. The interactions between Lady Capulet and Juliet are strained and distant. Lady Capulet does make an effort to reach out to her daughter now that she’s of an age to be married. But it’s obvious that Juliet’s closest bond is with the Nurse; Lady Capulet never even comes close to challenging that.
As a result, Lady Capulet doesn’t come across as a particularly great mom. The big question with her character is why. Why isn’t she close to her daughter? Why isn’t she supportive when Juliet needs her most? Just when Juliet needs her mom’s support, Lady Capulet coldly ignore her daughter’s pleas to help her avoid marrying Paris. After Lord Capulet storms out, Juliet turns to her mother to soften her father’s punishment. Juliet begs her even to delay the marriage. Lady Capulet responds, “Talk not to me, for I’ll not say a word / Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee” (3.5.15). That’s pretty cold. What’s up with that?
There could be a few different things going on here. It seems very likely that Lady Capulet herself had an arranged marriage with Juliet’s father, and it seems she went along with it obediently. When Juliet rebels against the planned marriage with Paris, she is rebelling against her mother’s way of life, and against the kind of marriage that Lady Capulet learned to suffer through. If Lord Capulet is an abusive husband, that gives Lady Capulet further reason to refuse to defy his wishes, even for the sake of her daughter.
Also, in Shakespeare’s day, women were expected to be “obedient” to their husbands. We should also mention that some rather edgy modern interpretations of the play go so far as to say that Lady Capulet is having an affair; or at least actively pursuing one. We’re guessing these productions of the play are picking up on Lady Capulet’s over-the-top praise of Paris’s manly virtues (1.3.9) and her excessive grief over Tybalt’s death (3.5.7
The Nurse foils the character of Juliet’s mother, Lady Capulet. As her mother, Lady Capulet should know everything that there is about her daughter; she should know how old she is and her innermost feelings. However, Lady Capulet knows neither. Early on in Act 1, Lady Capulet is unsure of Juliet’s age and the Nurse has an extended speech in which she explains to Juliet’s mother how she knows how old Juliet is better than her mother does. Additionally, throughout the play, it is the Nurse that Juliet goes to for advice and assistance, not her mother.
From the beginning of the play it becomes obvious that Juliet Capulet is being pushed into the idea of marriage by her mother, Lady Capulet. Lady Capulet is a minor character who first enters the play by demanding to speak to her daughter. She explains to Juliet that a handsome man named Paris would like to be her husband, and makes it clear that his wealth will bring Juliet an easy lifestyle. Her speech is unselfish, and shows that she does care for her daughter. Her round character exhibits her impatience and her inability to maintain a relationship with her daughter. This is proven when Juliet’s mother is left in the dark about her secrets, and the Nurse is confided in.
The Nurse acts as a foil to Lady Capulet because of her nurturing nature. In the time period, the rich are portrayed as proper and superior, and an appropriate lady must remain obedient to her husband. So when Capulet threatens to throw Juliet into the streets it is only natural that Lady Capulet supports his decision. The play conveys Lady Capulet as rude and self-serving, but also as a caring mother. By being an opulent noblewoman in the late 1500’s she comes across as snobby which can be overlooked due to the time period. The first time you see Lady Capulet in the movie “Romeo and Juliet” you notice her eccentric behavior. Her apparel and attitude scream for attention. When she speaks with Juliet about marriage it seems that she wants her to marry wealthy Paris for her own…