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The Role And Representation Of The Nurse In William Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet

1162 words - 5 pages

The Role and Representation of the Nurse in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

"Romeo and Juliet" is a tale of love and tragedy written by William
Shakespeare, They are star-crossed lovers. "Romeo and Juliet is set in
Verona, Italy in the 14th century. Shakespeare often set his plays in
the past. A very important point in the play is that there is a family
feud between the Montagues and the Capulets, Romeo is a Montague and
Juliet is a Capulet, which would have been an impossible love, if it
were not for the Nurse.

Shakespere has given her very free blank verse and her speech when we
first meet her in 1.iii is colloquial, repetitive, full of oaths,
interjections and irrelevancies, and spiced up with bawdy jokes. My
first impression of the Nurse is that she is impolite, she calls
Juliet 'my maidenhead' this is referring to Juliet's virginity and
unbroken hymen, I think that that is a very crude comment, and is not
an appropriate comment to be used in the presence of Lady Capulet.
Juliet feels quite embarrassed that the nurse is talking about very
personal and private things about her. I think that the nurse is
coarse and out of place to say such a thing.

The Montague gentlemen; Romeo, Benvolio and Mercutio (Romeo's closest
friend) treat the nurse as a joke, they don't take the Nurse very
seriously at all, the young men mock the Nurse. As the nurse enters
Mercutio exclaims 'A sail, a sail' Mercutio and Benvolio are joking
that the nurses clothes are as large as a ships sail. The Nurse does
not take this remark to heart, as she is a joker and a flirt, she
loves the company of men, and acts differently when she is with men,
rather than women she loves to have their attention.

The Nurse is genuinely upset about Tybalts killing. When she has to
break the terrible news of her dear cousin's death, she makes no
effort to soften the blow, nor to help Juliet in her distress to bear
it, at first for a while she lets Juliet think that her husband is
dead. The Nurse mirrors Friar Lawrence's role as she wants the same
thing as the friar, for them to be together, even though they know it
will all end up in tears, they both help their union, the nurse is
basically playing cupid.

But what Juliet does not know is that her father has organised and
arranged marriage between Paris and herself, Juliet refuses to go
ahead with it and her parents are most upset. Capulet cries, "Hang
thee, young baggage, disobedient wretch. I tell thee what: get thee to
church a Thursday, or never after look me in the face." This means 'if
you don't marry Paris on Thursday, I'll disown you' and he is implying
that she would rather his own daughter to be hanged than not marry
Paris. In the 13th century women were like gifts that men could swap
...

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