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The Relationship Of Juliet And Her Parents In William Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet

3228 words - 13 pages

The Relationship of Juliet and Her Parents in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Four hundred years ago, William Shakespeare wrote the tragedy of
'Romeo and Juliet,' a popular play that continues to capture the
imagination and emotions of people around the world. The drama
portrays the passionate, violent and desperate lives of two lovers
living in Verona, Italy. Romeo and Juliet are 'two star-crossed
lovers' showing determination to be together despite their feuding
families and bloodshed caused to each other. It displays the love
Juliet feels for Romeo, which eclipses everything and transforms the
relationship she has with her parents from dutiful to disobedient.
However, a web of human actions results in tragedy for both Romeo and
Juliet, including the actions of Juliet's parents. Today, the tragedy
resembles problems adolescents of the twentieth century face each day
in certain contexts.

Elizabethan life was lived according to a Great Chain of Being, this
is a powerful visual metaphor for the hierarchy of society. It ranks
all forms of higher and lower life; the male alone represents humans.
In some variations, women and children are placed below men as they
were thought of as inferior, this is clearly represented in 'Romeo and
Juliet,' as Lord Capulet appears to have authority over his daughter,
Juliet, and his wife, Lady Capulet. A child's duty towards their
parents was to be dutiful and respectful, which was alike Juliet's
behaviour at the beginning of the play, they were expected to follow
their parent's orders to the letter and always did. However, we soon
see a change in Juliet's attitude towards her parents due to her love
for Romeo and desperation to be with him. Attitudes towards marriage
were very different to a modern view of marriage. Girls were often
married to men 5-6 years older than they were at an early age. For
example, Juliet was 13 in this play and we are lead to believe, from
various sources, Romeo was a boy of 17. Divorces were very rare.

In Act 1, Scene 2, Paris expresses his feelings for Juliet to her
father, Lord Capulet. Paris plans to marry her. However, Lord Capulet
claims his daughter is too young at the age of 13 but if Juliet would
agree to the ceremony, then he would consent once two years have
passed. That night the Capulet household are due to hold a feast that
night, Lord Capulet invites Paris along so he can woo Juliet. During
this scene, Lord Capulet creates the impression of a caring and
respectful father. He is cautious about marrying his daughter at such
a young age, although this would have been acceptable in Elizabethan
times. He compares his daughter to fruit and persuades Paris to 'let
two more summers with in their pride', and then she will be 'ripe to
be a bride'. Although Paris urges Capulet to reconsider claiming
...

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