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The Role Of The Nurse In Act 3 Scene 5 Of William Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet

1077 words - 4 pages

The Role of the Nurse in Act 3 Scene 5 of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

'Romeo and Juliet' is a tragic play about love and it's effects. The
main protagonists are Romeo and Juliet, a pair of teenagers, that fall
in love, who seek help from various adults such as their parents,
Friar Lawrence and the Nurse, who all in some way let them down. In
this essay I am concentrating on the role of the Nurse and her
relationship with Juliet.

The Nurse is Juliet's confidant, she has cared for Juliet all her life
and cares for her as she would have Susan, her own child who died.
Shakespeare contrasts the Nurse's memories of Juliet and her enjoyment
of it, 'Now good sweet Nurse', the Nurse has so many memories about
Juliet, she talks about her in a way her mother does and clearly
enjoys the relationship. 'Faith, I can tell her age unto the hour'.
This relationship is contrasted with the one Juliet has with her
mother, Lady Capulet, which is more formal, 'Madam I am here, what is
your will?'. In Act3 Scene 5, the Nurse warns Juliet that her mother
is coming and Romeo to leave. The Nurse is included in Juliet's plans
and plays a pivotal role to pass messages between Juliet and Romeo,
for example, she gives the ring to Romeo earlier in this act. She has
encouraged Juliet's relationship with Romeo, 'There stays a husband to
make you a wife', she has arranged here for Romeo and Juliet to meet
in secret. Considering that she know that Lord and Lady Capulet want
Juliet to marry Paris, that she is in a position of trust in the
Capulet household, has she exceeded her role here? Audiences in
Shakespeare's time would expect children to obey their parents wishes
and to go outside of these will lead to tragedy.

Act 3 Scene 5 deals with Lord and Lady Capulet's desire for Juliet to
marry Paris. It is a highly emotional scene that ends with Lord
Capulet cursing Juliet, 'you baggage…disobedient', for not following
her father's orders. Lord Capulet is a father who has doted on her,
and now threatens to ostracise her. Juliet is distraught, though her
mother briefly defends Juliet she sides with Lord Capulet, 'Do as thou
wilt, for I have done with thee'. This leaves the Nurse as her only
ally. She (the Nurse) does try and defend Juliet, 'You are to blame,
my Lord', however, Lord Capulet is dismissive of her, 'you mumbling
fool'. We see here that the Nurse is ineffectual, she is viewed by her
employers as a not very bright gossip, 'And why, my lady wisdom? Hold
your tongue'.

Shakespeare successfully increases the dramatic tension as we see
Juliet...

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