Thursday, 28 February 2013

R & J - Key Scenes - Juliet’s Relationship with her Parents

Act 1 Scene 2
Lord Capulet refuses Paris permission to marry Juliet at first because Juliet is so young, but as Paris is such a good match he says he will agree if Juliet consents, but to look at the other ladies at the Capulet ball to make sure it is Juliet he wants. His great affection for Juliet is obvious & he wants her to be happy. “She is the hopeful lady of my earth” –his property (Fille de terre = heiress)

Act 1 Scene 3

Lady Capulet is very formal & she speaks only when necessary. Her lines are short, factual & to the point & she expects the same kind of response from her daughter asking her to “Speak briefly”. The only time she speaks at length is when she describes Paris because she is trying to present him as an ideal suitor for Juliet.

Juliet is seen as very dutiful & submissive to her parents

“Madam I am here, What is your will?” – Juliet is seen as quiet and obedient

She says that it is “ An honour I dream not of “ when asked how she feels about marriage to Paris. She will do as her parents wish

And:“..will I endart mine eye, Than your consent gives strength to make it fly” - she will look at Paris & be prepared to love him to do as her parents wish

 Act 3 Scene 5

Lord Capulet - At first the love & concern of Lord Capulet for his daughter is obvious. This is seen in the beauty of the language in his first speech: the alliteration of “doth drizzle dew” and the striking metaphor of Juliet’s body being a bark(ship) tossed about on a stormy sea. This is ironic in view of the storm that is to come later in this scene. Lord Capulet is very concerned to see her so upset about the death of Tybalt and believed the marriage with Paris will make her happy which is why he agrees to the marriage without consulting her. He tells Paris in the previous scene that he is confident that Juliet will be”ruled in all respects” by him ( Act 3 Scene 4)

Lady Capulet -her feelings are concentrated on vengeance for Tybalt’s death & is unsympathetic towards he supposed grief for him. Cold, hard–hearted, unsympathetic “Too much grief shows some want of wit”. She is shocked at her husband’s outburst, but does nothing to support Juliet, showing that she condones his behaviour and will not question his decision – wives were supposed to accede to their husbands in all things. She refuses to comfort her daughter in her distress.

Lady Capulet then tells Juliet she has some news & Juliet is very polite to her mother until she realises what the news is. The dutiful daughter now rebels & Juliet flatly refuses to marry Paris.

Lady Capulet is shocked and tells Juliet she will have to tell her father herself but she does not expect Juliet to disobey him . She agrees with the marriage -as wives were supposed to - and has already told Juliet what a good husband Paris will be“Verona’s summer hath not such a flower”. Though she is shocked at her husband’s violent outburst “you are too hot” she will not go against him and has no sympathy for Juliet at the end of this scene in spite of the fact Juliet is so distressed: “Talk not to me for I’ll not speak a word. Do as thou wilt for I have done with thee”

Juliet – Her mood changes from grief for Romeo to defiance & deception of her parents. At the beginning of the scene she is very polite, but once she hears what her father has arranged for her, she is furious and openly defies her parents – something that would have been shocking and with unheard of at that time. “ He shall not make me there a joyful bride”’.She is partly a young girl having a tantrum, but she is also one who knows her own mind and is horrified at her father’s outburst. At first she tries to answer his questions without offending him & says she is grateful for what he has done for her but she cannot be proud of what she hates – the idea of an arranged marriage

But: the Elizabethans would have sympathy with him as parents had absolute authority over their children at this time & arranged a very good marriage, as was usual at the time.

At first Lord Capulet doesn’t understand what Juliet is saying but when he realises Juliet is rejecting Paris he accuses her of being ungrateful.

He talks about her not to her, referring to her as “she” distancing himself from her.

His mood changes throughout this scene. At first he is seen as a caring, loving father but he is a father used to being obeyed “Have you delivered our decree? His mood changes to shock, anger, rage, potential violence - “my fingers itch” and gives very logical and acceptable reasons as to why Paris is a good match. Lord Capulet asserts his right to arrange the marriage “You be mine, I’ll give you to my friend” and her choice is simple – she marries Paris or she will have to live on the streets. His ultimatum threatening to throw Juliet out is a final show of force before he lives and he does not expect Juliet not to obey him after this.

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