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What events in Juliet’s life shape this change in her personality, and how does her language reflect this change? At the age of fourteen Juliet was a young and nai?? ve innocent girl. However, during the play she matures emotionally and broadens her ideas and her way of thinking. This vast and rapid change was a consequence of her relationship with Romeo and there are many ideas in the play which illustrate these points but it is through her language that we can see these changes.
The prologue gives an outline of what is yet to come and explores these ideas using metaphors and many linguistic devices. “From ancient grudge break new mutiny, where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. ” This shows the audience the basis of the story. Each line skips to a different event such as ” And the continuance of their parent’s rage, which but their children’s end nought could remove. ” This suggests that each event happens quickly through-out the play, showing changing events happen in a short period of time.
The use of the word “children” suggests that Romeo and Juliet are very young and irresponsible, thus requiring the events to be fast to emphasise some of the irrational decisions. The secrets of the play are revealed in the prologue yet it also gives many hidden depths. “The which if you with patient ears attend, what here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend. ” These are left for the audience to ponder on and to await the “… two hour traffic of our stage… “. From the play we see that Juliet’s responses and actions to others around her moulds her character.
Juliet changes her approach to her mother in the play. In her first appearance Juliet is found talking to her mother and nurse; however, even though Lady Capulet called upon her daughter, she directs her speech towards the nurse as though Juliet is not there. “We must talk in secret. Nurse come back again”- Act 1 Scene 3, line 9. This indirect speech between Juliet and her mother shows that there is a distance between them and this is also shown further on into the play as the nurse becomes even closer than before to Juliet. Her mother brought up the topic of Juliet’s appearance to lead on to the topic of marriage.
Never the less Juliet, with a formal approach, expresses that she is not yet longing for marriage. “It is an honour that I dream not of” (Act 1, scene 3, Line 66) While talking Lady Capulet asks the nurse if Juliet is at a pretty age. This comment shows that Lady Capulet is not sure how old Juliet is but thinks she is old enough for marriage. The nurse responds telling the mother Juliet’s exact age. This response by the nurse shows that the nurse is close to Juliet and in this scene the Nurse appears as a motherly figure towards young Juliet.
In this scene Lady Capulet uses her authority and use of rhetorical questions win the agreement. This powerful status shows how the mother can also manipulate young Juliet towards her way of thinking. In Act 1 Scene 3 Juliet uses sly language skills to tell her mother that she is willing to do as her mother requires; without herself getting to involved. ” I look to like, if looking liking move; but no more deep will I endart mine eye”. On the other hand Juliet’s acceptance of this proposal, made by the mother, shows that Juliet is young and innocent and does as her mother requires.
In Act 1 Scene 5 Juliet’s fate is set as she is suddenly engaged into a profound moment with Romeo at the house of the Capulet where there is a ball. The couple begin to use language in a way of expressing their love to one and other. The couple use metaphors and symbolic meanings to express this as such ” For saints have hands that pilgrims hands to touch, and palm to palm is holy palmers kiss. ” During this conversation they express their language through a sonnet, which is uncannily a lovers poem.
The lines are split between the two which shows that both of them are involved in this love, unlike when Romeo unrequited love for Rosaline. Using metaphors is a romantic linguistic device that is personal to the couple throughout the play. When Romeo talks to Juliet, he talks about the situation being both holy and special. “O then dear saint, let lips do what hands do ; they pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair. ” This religious imagery tries to portray Romeo’s love as sincere and devoted, like those of Religious followers.
Romeo also uses more metaphors and tells Juliet that they too are like pilgrims on a religious Journey. “My lips, two blushing pilgrims ready stand to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss”. I believe that Romeo is attempting to say that both of them are like two pilgrims on a journey searching for something they both believe in. However, in this case I believe Romeo is talking about love, which is what they are searching for. This is when Juliet becomes more confident in answering and using her own initiative, rather than following examples set by her elders.
“… Let lips do what hands do, they pray… “. This expresses her confidence more thoroughly and shows an overpowering Juliet standing upon her own two feet. In Act 1 Scene 5 lines 127-140 Juliet begins to experience some disappointmentas she finds out Romeo is a dreaded Montague. “My only love sprung from my only hate, too early seen to known, and known too late. ” This shows gradual maturity as she accepts that it is too late now she is involved and her feelings cannot change towards Romeo. And that bonding she has with him is too strong too let go.
Acceptance is present here as now she realises that as she has accepted her decision she must be held responsible for those actions she wishes to take. Further action is taken as she is met by Romeo in the Orchard in Act 2 Scene 2. This scene is also known as “The balcony scene” as the use of the balcony symbolises many meanings and expresses a production of love. The use of status and power is used here and the symbolic religious meanings appear once again. Romeo announces to Juliet ” O speak again bright angel… ”
In this scene Romeo is looking up to Juliet as the midnight light id upon her, illuminating her as if she was an angel. Juliet is also placed above Romeo and this symbolises how she is above him as though she is in heaven and he, in hell. In the theatre the balcony would also be placed up high and Romeo would be among the audience; and the audience would also be able to relate her to a high status symbol, such as an angel. In this scene costume would also be appropriate here and the use of the colour white worn upon Juliet would support many ideas of her angel figure.
It is interesting that in Baz Luhurmann’s interpretation of Romeo and Juliet Luhurmann clothes Juliet in an angel costume at their first meeting. Another drastic point in Juliet’s life is when she soon begins to take risks for the one “she loves” to show her commitment and love for him. In the evening she returns to her balcony and begins to go over what has just happened and confesses her love for Romeo to the midnight sky. “Deny thy father and reuse thy name, Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love… ” Act 2 Scene 2 Lines 39-40. However, Romeo, overhearing, appears before her and tells her that he too feels the same.
” Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptised”. Her feelings here over take her logical thinking and in this state of excitement she defies how her parents would let her speak towards another man, since she is promised to Paris. Even though moments before she found out that Romeo is a Montague, the only son of her deepest hate and knows this will cause a dramatic fiasco between her and her father. Beforehand the audience can see that she would never look further than her mother desires but yet her mother does not know of what took place at the balcony.
“By and by I come” lines 152-153. This suggests that Juliet knows that what she is doing is wrong, therefore leaving the manipulating Juliet behind. Juliet’s feelings for Romeo soon become more extreme and he asks her to marry him. Though Juliet agrees she is disobeying her parents and marrying a Montague, as there is still an arrangement for her to marry Paris. During this time Juliet’s personality has changed, only slightly but dramatically enough that she has begun to shape her life by her choice, showing development in maturity.
Juliet’s emotional change throughout the play tends to jump from ecstatic to almost suicidal. As a young girl Juliet has depended upon her nurse. During the play the nurse defies Romeo and Juliet. She tells young Juliet that she should marry Paris leaving Juliet no-one to turn to who could understood how she felt. Juliet was left alone to make decisions that no teenager could possibly do. This abandoned feeling caused Juliet to feel alone and drastic feelings soon led to drastic measures. I believe that if Juliet had continued with her life she would have overcome over her love for Romeo.
Her love for him seems more of a romantic attraction towards him. The treacherous options made his love more inviting and the uninviting parental consent just adds to the temptations, and as that wanting was “wanting what you can’t have” it made that lust so much stronger. I believe that if her parents approved of Romeo, she would never have been so much “in love” as she claims. On the other hand, this part of her life also helped her to mature as a person but maybe that maturity should not have been the cost of their ghastly deaths.