Romeo and Juliet: Fate or the Characters Own Actions?

Categories: Romeo And Juliet

The tragedy of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ was written by Shakespeare, presumably in the early 1590’s. It is a tragic romance set between two teenagers from feuding families in the Italian town of Verona. The ancient grudge lies between the Montagues and the Capulets, although the cause of the feud is never truly revealed to the audience. The play is structured so that the plot plays out over the course of only four days; and different scenes in the play are written in order to show the multiple facets of Lord Capulet’s character, in particular act 1 scene 5 and act 3 scene 5.

also how Lord Capulet reacts to different situations as the patriarch of his family and the presentation of his fluctuating moods which are heavily shaped on the report with his daughter, Juliet.

Key themes such as extreme emotions of love and hate are explored through Lord Capulet - with his inconsistent mood swings mirroring the dramatic portrayals of love and hate in the play; with there seemingly being no rational middle ground.

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My role in the play was of Lord Capulet, father to Juliet, husband to Lady Capulet, and sworn enemy of The Montague Family. The audience is introduced to Lord Capulet in Act 1 Scene 5 in the party scene, in which Lord Capulet can be perceived, to an extent, as light-hearted, someone who is quite content with his power as a Lord. Lord Capulet is first shown to be a character who is jovial and impatient to start his ball. He is established as a central figure in the scene and can be seen as a merry character, particularly in scene I when he jests with his guests and encourages them to dance, asking “Will now deny to dance?”.

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Through use of my own body language, I conveyed myself to be slightly drunk and this was paired with music to create a sense of involvement for the audience. In this scene I aimed to make Lord Capulet the epitome of a likable person and to radiate positive energy throughout the scene. This was to create a more jarring contrast with his later interactions with Tybalt.

Later in the scene, Lord Capulet transitions to become more of an impatient and aggravated figure of authority when he is disobeyed. I interpreted the use of short imperatives, such as the exclamatory phrase, “You must Contrary me!” as an example of this. The use of short powerful verbs hints to the audience the height of Lord Capulet’s anger when he feels the respect towards his status being compromised, especially in public during the ball. This outburst foreshadows act 3 Scene 5, but only hints at his anger. Using this interpretation, I performed the scene with a provocative, prevailing, angry tone,striking the verbs to show Lord Capulet’s anger and used force to put aggressive Tybalt in his place, by shouting with aggression and by spitting my words at him and forcing him back as he paces towards Romeo. The aggression in the scene was executed on purpose to allow Tybalt to be afraid of Lord Capulet, foreshadowing future danger to anyone who will not give in. It can confidently be inferred that Capulet is livid at being undermined and this foreshadows his reaction when Juliet refuses Paris.

After tybalt is killed, Lord Capulet becomes increasingly anxious with the safety of his family and level of influence they have on the contemporary society, causing Capulet to have a much keener and more forceful approach towards Juliet’s and Paris’ marriage and gets angry when Juliet rejects the idea. I used Tybalt\'s death and Capulet’s power in the family, to enter the scene with an eerie walk and step slowly into Juliet\'s room, to heighten the tension in the scene before a word is spoken. I employed a smug and disgusted facial expressions, and a straight posture, making Juliet more afraid to address Lord Capulet,I quickly transition to a slightly more hopeful tone when speaking for the family\'s sake, but then can\'t help but convert back to a serious tone when asking Lady Capulet with a hushed voice “Have you delivered our decree”?.

As Lord Capulet, I act as if Juliet\'s refusal is a joke by chuckling to add to the suspense in the scene before softly uttering “Soft, take me with you..”. because after Tybalt’s death he is keener to marry Juliet to Paris - and he is infuriated and confused upon hearing her stubborn, hard-headedness is putting the security of his family’s future at risk. I interpreted the use of repetition as Lord Capulet being unable to bear what he was hearing and stood in a slightly defensive manner, initiating the build-up of his anger. This allowed me to fluctuate between a range of contrasting emotions shown in the scene; allowing the audience to interpret Lord Capulet as unpredictable, short-tempered and ruthless as he progresses from laughing with Juliet to almost striking Juliet. Lord Capulet progresses through his emotions in the scene, in which he is confused and cannot comprehend what he has heard to becoming enraged with , “...not give us thanks? she not proud?... so worthy a gentleman to be her bridegroom?”. The use of multiple interrogative sentences shows Capulet’s progression in anger upon realizing that Juliet\'s proposal is adamant, addressing Lady Capulet directly with a face mixed with confusion, anger, and eagerness, trying to understand the situation. The situation acts as a catalyst towards letting the audience see Lord Capulet’s volatility, as he is helpless but to express it when faced with his daughter’s willfulness, Juliet, who should obey his every order, threatens the entire safety of his family’s future.

Realizing that her decision is final, Lord Capulet has rejects juliet as his daughter when he describes Juliet, giving her animalistic traits, and by using alliteration in the imperative phrase ‘...fettle your fine joints”, foreshadowing the physical back-up approach he will resort to if she doesn\'t obey Capulet.

I act this by exaggerating the alliterative components of each word and interpret him describing her like an animal, by moving towards her like an animal as she is against me. The use of the imperative phrase also implies that his word is final and he enforces it by saying “or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither”. The semantic field of hunting and corpses is created, relating to the context of the play where “traitors were dragged to be executed on a hurdle”, suggesting that Juliet is a traitor to her family because of her blatant defiance towards Capulet and his wishes. This is further use of foreshadowing by Shakespeare, as it hints towards Juliet’s death at the end of the play and has to be marked for the audience.

Lord Capulet unleashes his rage as the scene progresses and reaches the climax of his anger when he Juliet to a ‘green sickness carrion.’, comparing her to rotting meat he again reminds the audience of Juliet’s demise as rotting is within the semantic field of death, and this enforces the recurring theme of death throughout the play. This grim reminder links back to the prologue, reminding the audience that the two have been “doomed” since the start. This phrase is said slowly, emphasizing the first letter of each word in Juliet’s face with full intent to petrify Juliet, I create the impression that the Lord needs to be subdued as he is violent when faced with disobedience. Lord Capulet then tells Juliet to \"Hang thee, young baggage! Disobedient wretch!\", the noun “wretched” was used in the context in the play to describe people who were outcasts of society in the 15th-16th century, suggesting that through Juliet disobeying her father which Capulet takes as a personal affront, she has made herself out to be an outcast and no longer part of the family.

Capulet’s language when he states “we have a curse in having her, out on her, hilding”, addressing his wife and disowning Juliet, reveals Capulet’s true anger and hatred towards Juliet, as he is barely able to resist the urge to strike Juliet for being so ungrateful. When uttering this phrase, I address Lady Capulet as she is the only one I regard as having a sound mind as she is complying by my social hierarchy. Through doing this, I imply that Capulet doesn\'t perceive Juliet as a highborn anymore, but as a girl whose class is identical to the nurse, shown by the way he addresses Juliet. Capulet refers to Juliet as “hilding”, a derogatory term meaning homeless, and that I even suggest she should take her own life. Capulet expresses explosive anger in this scene, personally I expressed this by viciously pacing towards Juliet and by pointing outside the window behind her to emphasize the idea of Capulet wanting her completely gone or dead, again revealing the level of intolerance he has for her. Capulet expresses his explosive hatred in the objective of Juliet reconsidering her actions and making it blatantly clear to her that obedience is a prerequisite for a place in the household. This is a testament to the importance of obeying the social hierarchy of those times, as disobedience, and in turn, questioning the allocation of power meant that lords such as Lord Capulet would be willing to disown even his own daughter.

When the nurse intervenes and restrains my arm, as Lord Capulet, I recoil in disgust at her interference as she has physically touched me, explicitly reminding the nurse and audience of the class difference. I told the nurse to ‘hold your tongue’ and don’t adhere anything she says by cocking my head and turning away. I further show my disrespect by purposely cutting her off with “O, God-i-goden!”. The use of irregular punctuation in this exclamatory phrase enhances the idea of the nurse being nothing but a nurse, having a place but no power in the household. I then began to tread impatiently as if I am waiting for the nurse to stop making noise, reinforcing the idea of the patriarchal society at the time.

The peak of Capulet’s anger and frustration is reached when he shouts, “God’s bread!” putting a stop to the anger that has accumulated in this snowball effect. The use of religious imagery refers to the bread used in holy masses, which was very popular in the Elizabethan era, and may imply that only God can correct Juliet. After this final outburst his anger diminishes as he becomes more self-controlled. In order to allow the audience to understand the depletion of Capulet’s anger a short pause was used to enhance Capulet’s frustration that he cannot do anything about Juliet\'s decision. This change in physical mannerisms and intonation of my voice was used to portray anger being replaced by sorrow and confusion.

The use of the power of three and mockery in Capulet’s dialogue allows Juliet to reflect on her own words, “I\'ll not wed, I cannot love”, “I pray you to pardon me”. Capulet mimics Juliet\'s words and exaggerates Juliet\'s tone when she speaks the words, to emphasize his condescension and his opinion of her argument being stupid and selfish. Capulet slowly circles Juliet with his head held high, in an attempt to show Juliet how ignorant he perceives her to be; and he makes an attempt to torment Juliet with a semi-high pitched voice, coming to a halt and slowly bringing his head down on the last triplet, showing the range in contrast between how stubborn and stupid Juliet appears to Lord Capulet and how sober-minded he views himself. This makes it harder for the audience to empathise with Lord Capulet, as he acts as the predator in the scene, trapping and encircling Juliet, who is the perfect picture of girlish helplessness. By further taunting her, it is emphasized to the audience that fate, and the circumstances around her, have cruelly doomed Juliet from the start. In this scene, Capulet acts as a representation of old tradition cruelly preying on the innocent.

Capulet’s callous nature is presented when he says “and you be mine, I\'ll give you to my friend. And you be not, hang beg starve, die in the streets”, Capulet uses anaphora to present up a pretence of how little consequence Juliet rejecting Paris would have to him, but the almost life-threatening effect it would have on Juliet as she would be disowned, although the audience knows this pretence to be false. The repetition of “you be” emphasizes the opposition that Capulet will declare if Juliet doesn’t marry. When performing I sauntered around the stage while looking Juliet up and down rather slowly, with one hand scratching my chin, almost as if I was trying to find a solution to an inconvenience. This was done in order to dehumanized the way I perceive Juliet, and I spoke of her more like she is a prop in the household, in attempt to petrify Juliet and show the extent to which Capulet enforces his status as a lord and maintains his power in the Capulet household.

To conclude the experience of playing the character of Lord Capulet was particularly challenging because of the different approaches I had to take, and the level of anger or kindness he displays, which I had to go through, however, I particularly enjoyed linking the emotions with body language as it felt comfortable and natural on the stage, but challenging when it came to more extreme emotions of anger, which I trained to develop as a performer. I very much enjoyed the experience, particularly enjoying the contrast between the attitudes of Lord Capulet, and exploring different languages and performing how I perceived Lord Capulet would.

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Romeo and Juliet: Fate or the Characters Own Actions?. (2020, Sep 09). Retrieved from

Romeo and Juliet: Fate or the Characters Own Actions?
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