Juliet’s Language in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
Act 1 scene 3 introduces Juliet to the audience. Here she interacts
with the nurse and her mother. Her words emphasise her contrasting
relationships with the two. When interacting with the nurse she seems
at ease and the words spoken between them shows a friendly and
intimate relationship, Nurse ‘Faith I can tell her age unto an hour’
Juliet ‘And stint thou too, I pray thee nurse, say I ’she addresses
the nurse by her name. In contrast, with her mother she shows respect
and only speaks when spoken to ‘madam.’ Juliet is a intelligent and
although perceived my most as an obedient child she is actually being
tactical and crafty. Though she only speaks when spoken to, when asked
about her opinions of meeting and maybe marrying Paris she gives her
mother the impression that she’ll do as she’s told, ‘ I’ll look to
like if looking liking move. But no more deep will I endart mine eye.
Than your consent give strength to make it fly’ she has not actually
agreed to do as she is told but has given an answer which will please
everyone including herself. Also, earlier on in this scene, she
demonstrates independent thinking when asked about her opinion on
marriage, ‘it is an honour that I dream not of.’ This may appear to
some as if she is being a young, innocent girl, therefore influenced
to answer this way, but in my opinion she is being quick witted and
astute. In this scene she has shown such a smart manner that her
intelligence remains unknown to both the audience and the characters.
As the play continues though, her aptitude and wit is increasingly
Romeo meets Juliet in Act 1 Scene 5 and they engage in sophisticated
wordplay. This shows her language changing from innocent to mature.
They talk in a sonnet and use religious language, ‘Saints do not move,
though grant for prayers' sake ’ they converse in this manner to
disguise the less safe and respectable subject of kissing, love,
romance and their feelings. This conveys Juliet’s strong religious
beliefs. The language she uses does not reflect her true self – a
child but actually the reflection appears to be a woman in control.
Their first conversation is by way of a sonnet. It is spoken contrary
to the traditional way of the era of the play where the man speaks all
the fourteen lines. This shows they are not practising courtly love,
which would be normal for their status and situation in that era.
Juliet interrupts Romeo’s first four lines, quatrain with her own
quatrain, which illustrates her independence and need for equality.
This also shows that she is unconventional compared to both the time
she was living in and her age. Unlike when she discusses Paris, when
Juliet talks about Romeo she is certain when she talks of Romeo and
her love for him ‘My only love sprung...