Juliet's Evolvement Throughout William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare's earliest tragedies. The
character in question, Juliet Capulet, is arguably the most intriguing
character in the play. The daughter of Lord and Lady Capulet, one of
the richest families in the setting of Verona, her life should have
been one of comfort and pleasure, but this is not to be, as the
introductory prologue tells us. Amid the tale of fierce family feuds
and 'star-cross'd lovers', she develops from an immature and compliant
girl, naive even for her young age of thirteen, to a defiant and
resolute young woman, passionately in love with the husband she
married without her family's knowledge or consent.
The first appearance of Juliet in the play is in Act I Scene III. Here
she is shown in the role of a typical daughter of the period: she is
dutiful, quiet and eager to please her parents, having experienced
nothing of the world. When her mother requires her, she replies
'Madam, I am here. What is your will?'
This reserved address of her mother shows us two things: Juliet is
very respectful of her mother and their relationship is not what we
would now consider a typical mother/daughter relationship. They are
distant towards each other and this indicates that Juliet was probably
raised more by her Nurse than her actual mother, although this was
common during the time period.
Juliet's innocence is demonstrated when Lady Capulet introduces the
idea of marriage to Juliet. When asked if she was consent to Paris as
a husband, she responds
'I'll look to like, if looking liking move'
This shows both Juliet's eagerness to please her mother; she will try
and like him for her family's sake, and her youthful ideas of love,
which shows how experienced she is of the world and that she cannot
have already experienced love.
As we enter Act I Scene V, Juliet is still the meek and quiet girl we
saw in the first scene, but as the act finishes, she has changed and
appears cunning and devious.
When a mystery young man, Romeo, approaches her, she does not stop his
advances; she participates with the flirtation, continuing with
Romeo's religious speech. By doing this, Juliet is accentuating her
innocence for the first time in the tragedy. She pretends to object to
Romeo kissing her,
'Lips that they must use in prayer'
She noticeably changes once the couple have kissed. Instead of the
juvenile submissive daughter, she transforms into an ardent young
woman. The wish to please her parents and her nurse has been overtaken
by her desire of Romeo. Juliet's priories have changed.
When Juliet wants to find the identity of her mystery admirer, she
does so in such a way that does not reveal her newfound love. She
enquires to Nurse first of 'yond gentleman' and then...