The Generation Gap in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
An example of the language Shakespeare uses to prove the generation
gap between the characters, is this line from the play said by Juliet,
'Is there no pity sitting in the clouds, that sees into the bottom of
my grief?' This shows well how Capulet and Lady Capulet don't
understand their daughter's grief at the time and don't understand her
wish not to marry Paris. Her language shows desperation and she craves
for comfort from the Nurse, who replies 'I think it best you married
with the County.' This example shows how Shakespeare explores the
theme of there being a generation gap and the difference is opinions
between the different generations.
The generation gap between Lady Capulet and her daughter, Juliet is
first shown significantly between these two characters, which can be
seen in the language in Act 1 Scene 3. This is shown when both
characters are introduced; Juliet enters by saying 'Madam, I am here.'
The use of the word 'Madam' shows Juliet's obedience and respect for
her mother and also highlights the generation gap. The use of this
word, instead of the word 'Mother', could mean how detached Juliet and
her mother are and the greater generation gap caused because of this.
This point can be shown by the quotation 'She's not fourteen' and the
Nurse replies by saying 'I'll lay fourteen of my teeth', which proves
how little of her daughter Lady Capulet knows.
Later on in the play, in Act 3 Scene 5, the generation gap is
highlighted once again. Juliet has become more confident after she has
fallen in love with Romeo and she cleverly makes ambiguous comments
and introduces double entente to her language. Lady Capulet's
misinterpretation of Juliet's language indicates the strong,
generation gap between them. For example, when Lady Capulet says 'we
will have vengeance for it, fear thou not,' Juliet replies by saying
she 'never shall be satisfied, with Romeo, till I behold him.' But
Lady Capulet doesn't see that Juliet has feelings for Romeo. Lady
Capulet uses harsh words on Juliet during lines 139-140 when she says
'I would the fool were married to her grave.' These insensitive words
also indicate the large generation gap between them and Lady Capulet's
inability to provide her daughter with true love.
Capulet and Juliet's first conversation together is in Act Three Scene
Five. He is harsh and lacks sensitivity for his daughter; after she
tells him she doesn't want to marry Paris 'Proud can I never be what I
hate.' Capulet gives a harsh reply and his language shows how
unsympathetic he is and his power over Juliet 'I will drag thee on a
hurdle thither.' The threatening and callous language that Capulet
uses also indicates that the difference in their generation gaps show
how their perspectives of love differ....