In this scene Lord Capulet and Lady Capulet explain to Juliet that she must marry Paris in a few days time. Clearly, Juliet does not want to do this.
This is clearly an extremely tense and emotional time, perhaps for different reasons for all the characters on stage. Lord Capulet is making important decisions regarding the future of his only child. Lady Capulet has just faced the death of her nephew. The Nurse is grieving over the loss of Tybalt as she brought him up and she also carries the burden of knowing of Juliet’s secret marriage to Romeo.
Juliet, herself, is no doubt traumatized by the fact that Romeo has been banished from Verona, her cousin Tybalt’s death and that she doesn’t want to marry Paris. All of these emotions might show themselves in the way the characters behave and speak.
Just before Lord Capulet enters Juliet’s room, Juliet would have been on her bed crying with Lady Capulet sat on her bed and maybe comforting her when Lord Capulet enters followed by the Nurse.
I think that Juliet and Lady Capulet would have stood up and have been quiet; Juliet would have to be prompted by Lady Capulet, as she is very distressed at this moment in time. Juliet and Lady Capulet would stand up and be as quiet as possible on Lord Capulet’s entrance in deference to his high status which therefore demands respect. Lord Capulet thinks that Juliet is mourning for the loss of her cousin Tybalt so he will attempt to sound upbeat in order to try to lift her spirits, when really she is only partly mourning for Tybalt, but is also mourning over Romeo’s banishment, her fears that she will never see Romeo again and her impending marriage to Paris.
I think that she should cower a bit as she is unsure of how Lord Capulet will react when he finds out that she has gone against his wishes and refuses to marry Paris. After Lord Capulet has finished trying to raise Juliet’s spirits, he asked Lady Capulet if she has given Juliet the good news and Lady Capulet says she will have none of it and there is some dramatic irony as Lady Capulet says, “I would the fool were married to her grave!” as, in the tales tragic conclusion, she does get married to her grave. When Lord Capulet is telling Juliet how disgusted and betrayed he feels as he cannot believe she isn’t happy after they have brought her this most acceptable suitor and that she is so ignorant to throw it back in their faces, Lord Capulet should make a lot of eye contact with Juliet to make her feel uncomfortable and maybe to even pressure her into marrying Paris.
After this Juliet should start to sob uncontrollably as she misses Romeo, doesn’t want to marry Paris and is terrified of what her father’s actions may be, she should stop midway through sentences to try and compose herself to give off the effect that she really is heartbroken. When Lord Capulet is repeating Juliet’s pleas he should do so in a very sarcastic tone of voice and should, whilst being sarcastic, mimic her tone of voice to make her feel totally pathetic and undeserving. From line 154 – 157 I think Lord Capulet should be in direct confrontation with Juliet, even to the point of issuing threats against her, he should be shouting and pointing his finger at her, his anger rising in passion and volume as his arguments convince himself of their justness, and slowly bringing his finger forward until it is touching Juliet’s cheek. Lady Capulet should sound very surprised when she says, “Fie, Fie! What, are you mad?” as she can’t believe that Lord Capulet is threatening to throw their one and only child out of their house.
When Juliet says, “Good father, I beseech you on my knees, Hear me with patience but to speak a word,” she should, in a scene full of pathos, put herself at the feet of her father and should grab at his ankles or hug his knees to show he is more powerful and deserves more respect. Juliet could mix the actions of grabbing at his ankles and hugging his knees as it would give off a good effect as she could start off by hugging his knees and he could push her away and she could then grab at his ankles and try to pull him back towards her. From line 160 – 163 Lord Capulet should spit the words out as he threatens Juliet by saying if she doesn’t turn up at the church he’ll disown her. When Lord Capulet says, “My fingers itch,” he obviously wants to slap Juliet for, what he feels is a lack of respect for him and the traditions of the Capulet name. At this point he should go to slap her but stop his hand half and inch from her face. He should then stop, and keep, his hand there as he then starts to justify his reason for almost slapping his daughter to his wife. The Nurse then tries to defend Juliet, as she brought her up, by saying, “God in heaven bless her! You are to blame to rate her so!” While the Nurse is saying this she should sound very distressed and irate, as she can’t believe what Lord Capulet is saying. The Nurse could also run to Juliet to hug and comfort her. Lady Capulet then mocks the Nurse when she calls her, “Lady wisdom,” whilst saying this Lady Capulet should sound very sarcastic and could even mock the Nurses tone of voice.
The Nurse then retaliates by saying, “I speak no treason,” and when she says this she should sound very firm as she is defending her honour and she should also sound a little hurt as she can’t believe her employers of so long can talk to her like this. Lord Capulet then feels he needs to regain control and tells the Nurse, “Peace you mumbling fool! Utter your gravity o’er a gossips bowl; For here we need it not,” he should say this quite softly but very firmly so the Nurse is put in her place. Lord Capulet then starts telling everyone how vexed he is that he’s worked so hard to bring her up and to find someone to be suited enough to marry her and all she can do is moan and complain that she, “Will not marry, can’t love, Is to young, pray you pardon,” he should repeat these in her tone of voice to make her feel pathetic. He also threatens her by saying, “And you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets, For, by my soul I’ll ne’er acknowledge thee,” which is basically saying unless she agrees to his plans for marriage he will disown her and refuse to acknowledge her existence, even unto death. After he exits Juliet is in a state of panic as she now knows she must marry Paris or she be exiled. She then pleads with her mother, “O sweet my mother, cast me not away! Delay this marriage for a month, a week; Or, if you do not, make the bridal bed In that dim monument where Tybalt lies.”
As she is saying this she knows it’s her last chance and she’s feeling really low at this point so she’ll sound very depressed and maybe even a little sorry. Her mother then reacts with her and basically says I want nothing to do with Juliet as she says, “Talk not to me, for I’ll not speak a word. Do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee.” Lady Capulet should say these softly but very sharply so Juliet feels the full impact of her words. Juliet is very worried as her marriage vow is registered in heaven, so as long as Romeo is alive, she can’t be released from it. Juliet is now feeling very sad for herself and should talk as though she is about to break down. She asks the Nurse for some encouragement, “what sayst thou? Hast though not a word of joy? Some comfort, Nurse?” to which the Nurse replies, “Faith, here it is. Romeo is banished; and all the world to nothing That he dares ne’er come back to challenge you; Or, if he do, it needs must be by stealth,” and goes on to say Romeo is nothing compared to Paris and that Romeo is never coming for her so she may as well settle with Paris. Juliet can’t believe what the Nurse has just said what she has so, in a tone of disbelieve, Juliet asks, “Speak’st thou from thy heart?” to which Nurse unbelievingly replies, “And from my soul too; Or else beshrew them both.”
Juliet then mocks the Nurse by saying, “Amen,” in a very sarcastic way, which is basically her endorsing the Nurse’s curse on her and her soul. Juliet then tells the Nurse to leave and, “Having displeas’d my father, to Laurence’ cell, To make confession and to be absolv’d. Juliet should say this in a very harsh tone of voice. As soon as the Nurse leaves we hear how Juliet actually feels about the Nurse at this moment in time, “Ancient damnation! O most wicked fiend!” Juliet should say this in a very harsh and threatening tone of voice. Juliet then goes on to say, “I’ll to the friar, to know his remedy: If all else fail, myself have power to die,” which means it is in her own power to kill herself if the Friar can’t help her.
In conclusion it is important to all the characters to bring home to the audience that Juliet is overwhelmed with despair and of the predicament she finds herself in the central role of. All the characters should intertwine in such a way that at the conclusion of this scene the audience should feel sympathy for Juliet and understand and feel her sense of isolation and despair.