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Last night at the Regent Theatre in Hanley, Stoke-upon-Trent , I witnessed a spectacular performance of Romeo and Juliet, written by William Shakespeare. William Shakespeare is regarded as a true great among modern poets and playwrights alike. The play began with a masterfully written battle scene between the two feuding families, the Capulet’s and the Montague’s, both of similar social status. This primary scene soon evolved into a story of two teens, torn between their love for each other and fear of betraying their families.
The highlight of the performance was the balcony scene; it was very dramatic and romantic. The show was stolen by the actor, Los Angeles, who played Lord Capulet ~(Juliet’s dad). He showed the audience how harsh but valuable to the storyline this character is, adding sparks to the performance with lines such as: ‘Hang thee, young baggage disobedient wretch’ (act three scene five) The end of the performance showed how parental conflict can interfere with lives of others and end in tragedy with the death of both the families youngest offspring.
After the performance I interviewed Mr Jones and his teen son Bradley about their thoughts and feelings about the superb reproduction of the original Shakespeare romance. Interview with Father Journalist: Mr Joe Bloggs Father: Mr Jones Journalist: What do you think of attitudes of fathers in William Shakespeare’s time? Father: Control of teens is a lot more relaxed than when it was back then. I know myself; fathers in 2002 are struggling to gain respect from their teen children now and then patriarchal control was more or less one hundred percent.
I think the attitude of fathers in William Shakespeare’s time was unnecessarily strict and forceful, for example Act 3 Scene 5 lord Capulet says: ” Go with Paris to Saint Peters church or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither” I mean, strict is always good from a parents point of view but sometimes it can be a little over the top. Kids still need to be responsible for their own life and actions although parents can’t be too overruling, especially in my opinion, in marital circumstances.
Still I can sympathise, being a father myself, he probably just wanted the best for Juliet but like you said, sometimes being too strict can have tragic consequences. Journalist: In Act 3 Scene 5, do you think lord Capulet was being fair to assume Juliet would accept the marriage proposal? Father: I think that lord Capulet was doing what he thought was best for Juliet in that day and age. Keeping Juliet in a good family, making sure she would be taken care of was obviously important to lord Capulet, so yes, I don’t think it was fair for Lord Capulet to expect Juliet to marry someone she wasn’t in love with.
He obviously thought he was doing his best, but this would be frowned on nowadays. I think he could of prevented his daughters by trying to get to know Juliet better and discussing the marital problems with her. I could tell they were not close when Lord Capulet said: “Graze where you will, you shall not house with me” Journalist: In act 1 Scene 1, Lord Capulet enters an argument between servants of both families, he is seen as being keen to defend his family and to be faithful to them, but in Act 1 Scene 5 at the Capulet’s ball, he denies Tybalt his revenge and stops him from fighting Romeo.
What do you think this says about his character? Father: His character shows that he is eager to defend his family honour, but he also sees these arguments as pointless, and he decides his family are worth all the hassle. At the Capulet’s party, I think he stops a fight occurring just to keep the peace, especially seeing as Romeo is not causing any harm. He wants his party to stay unspoilt. This covers up his usual short-tempered personality. Journalist: Do you think Capulet was thinking of his daughter when he arranged the marriage to Paris?
Father: I can be sympathetic here, simply because looking deeper into it, and upon phrases such as: “She is the hopeful lady of my earth”, it seems that Capulet only wants the best for his daughter Juliet, and wants her in a stable marriage with a wealthy man. Although, as the scene develops it becomes clear that Capulet wants a husband for Juliet to keep the families high status and to increase Lord Capulet’s riches, he does not see love as part of the equation. So, when Juliet meets Juliet meets Romeo I think she say it as a way out, a window or maybe just as an act of rebellion.
Journalist: Overall, What do you think William Shakespeare is trying to show us through Capulet’s character and about parental conflict through his play? Father: I think William Shakespeare is trying to put across the sheer futility of parental conflict and that you can’t force anybody into your way of thinking and most importantly, that true love conquers all! Interview with daughter Journalist: Joe Bloggs Son: Bradley Journalist: What do you think of the attitudes of teens towards their parents in William Shakespeare’s time, compared to now?
Daughter: I think modern day parents are a lot more easy going than they were back then, and because of this, I know my father for one thinks we tend to take advantage of this! However, nowadays this kind of equal ranking between parent and teens, means a closer relationship forms, and I personally think we tend to discuss things more as a family. Journalist: In act 3 scene 5, what do you think about Juliet’s attitude towards the arranged marriage based on her first impressions? Daughter: In my opinion Juliet was absolutely in the right here.
I realise in some religions this kind of thing is completely normal, but if my father introduced a man I hardly knew to me, only to tell me I was to spend the rest of my life with him, I would be thoroughly disgusted and certainly rebel against it! Journalist: Do you think Juliet was wrong to go behind her fathers back with Romeo even after she knew he was a Montague? Daughter: Yes, I think she should have told her parents of the situation and if they would prefer to lose a daughter than to live with it then Juliet would have to decide whether it is all really worth the fuss.
After all, love is such a strong emotion and can a girl of her age really be sure what she is feeling? In spite of everything even her father thought she was too young at first as he says: ‘She hath not yet seen the change of fourteen years’ Journalist: How much do you think Juliet’s parents are responsible for Juliet’s death? Daughter: If anyone is responsible for her death it is her father! He almost drove her to the brink of insanity and depression; he shouldn’t have been so persistent about marrying someone she didn’t love.
However I do not feel he is entirely to blame. Journalist: What do you think William Shakespeare is trying to show us about parental conflict and true love through his play? Daughter: Parental conflict interferes with things but true love will always come out best, nothing can stand in the way of people being together, not even the grim reaper, as shown in this tragic play of love and romance. Conclusion It seems as a whole both father and daughter feel that parenting in the time of William Shakespeare was kept quite tight knit and strict.
Also both see that William Shakespeare is trying to express his feelings of futility towards parental conflict. It can affect the lives dramatically and most importantly he feels that love conquers all. David seems to feel that Lord Capulet was only trying to help by finding a partner for his daughter although he thinks Lord Capulet is too strict a parent. In a complete contrast Isabel disagrees with David and thinks Lord Capulet was wrong to assume he could arrange a marriage but she also believes parenting was too strict then.
Conclusion- well it is agreed that parenting was very strict in those days although no-one seems to agree on whether Lord Capulet was in the right when arranging the marriage but in those days maybe a father being this forceful about marital situations was normal. Also the Capulet’s do seem partly responsible for their daughter’s death. Maybe they shouldn’t have tried to get to know their child better and the tragedy that followed might have been prevented? Who will ever know? Its up to you, the reader to decide now.