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The Development Of Juliet's Character In William Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet

1716 words - 7 pages

The Development of Juliet's Character in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

This essay is about Juliet's character and I am going to talk about
how her behaviour develops towards Romeo, her Nurse, and on her own
respectively. In the prologue we are informed that, 'a pair of star
crossed lovers take their life,' [line 6, prologue]. This is to make
us feel sympathy towards Romeo and Juliet. We also have to remember
Juliet is only 13 at the start of the play and little more than a
child; but she has potential to mature during the course of the play.

Act 1 Scene 5 is the first encounter between the lovers. In this scene
I think Juliet is clever just doing enough to keep Romeo interested,
'Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,' [line 99 act 1 scene
5]. She is obviously infatuated with Romeo and behaves coquettishly
towards him, 'for saints have hands that pilgrims' hand do touch,'
[line 101 act 1 scene 5]. Romeo and Juliet use religious imagery
towards one another because in an Elizabethan times religion was their
most important thing, 'This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this,'
[line 96 act 1 scene 5]. In this scene the religious imagery is used
to woo each other and is formed into a sonnet emphasising their love.

Act 2 Scene 2 is the famous balcony scene of the lovers. In this scene
I feel Juliet appears immature although she is in a difficult
situation. 'Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?' [Line 35 acts 2
scene 2]. Juliet says this aloud, forgetting anyone could hear her.
The way in which she does not tell her family even though in act 1
scene 5 Capulet says, 'Verona brags of him to be a virtuous and
well-governed youth.' Although I feel she does behave maturely on
occasion, 'What's Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot, nor arm, nor
face,' [line 43 act 1 scene 5]. Referring to that if Romeo was not a
Montague the family wouldn't object. Juliet shows how forward she is
in this scene as well by asking Romeo whether he loved her, and also
proposing to him. This was a very odd thing for a woman to do in
Elizabethan times.

Going back to act 1 scene 3, this is the first time we see Juliet and
also her first scene with the Nurse. In this scene Juliet shows
maturity with her use of language as in act 1 scene 5. 'It is a honour
that I dream not of,' [line 69 act 1 scene 3] is Juliet's reply to her
mother's difficult question of marriage. This is resourceful because
she says she is not ready, but at the same time using honour to
compliment her mother, thus keeping her on Juliet's side. As with the
Nurse Juliet is very patient with her when the Nurse reminisces at
length about her past, 'and since that time it is eleven years,' [line
38 act 1 scene 3]. This scene also really shows how close Juliet is
with the Nurse, 'Thou was the prettiest babe that ever I nursed,'
[line...

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